Preserving flowers and leaves: three quick and easy methods

Post by
Sarah Roizman
Preserving flowers and leaves: three quick and easy methods

Have you ever wished you could capture a blossoming spring flower forever? While the beauty of fresh cut flowers and plants can be fleeting, there are three main ways you can preserve them so you can enjoy them for longer.

And it’s not just flowers and leaves - you can apply the same preserving methods to other botanical items such as fruit, seed pods and berries. The texture and colours of natural items may change but once dried, they can last for years.

Preserved flowers and leaves make beautiful home decor and photography props that you can use over and over again. Learn the three main preservation techniques below and see which one suits you best.
Beautiful dried flowers via on Instagram

Cold drying flowers and leaves

The easiest and most well-known method for drying and pressing flowers and leaves is under a traditional flower press or pressed flat between books and magazines. Simply place your botanical items between sheets of paper and placed under the press or books.

The paper will absorb moisture from the leaves and flowers and needs to be changed every day to do this effectively. The plants will be fully dried and ready in a week.

If you do not want your leaves and flowers to be flattened, they can be dried this same way without a press. To help them retain their natural shape as they dry, lay them on paper and gently spread them.

Another option is to tie the complete flowers in bunches and hang them to dry. For the best results the room should have good air circulation and relative dryness.
Using a traditional flower press. Image via @oakeliving on Instagram

Hot drying flowers and leaves

Another method for drying and pressing flowers is by using an iron. Botanicals better retain their original colour when heated under an iron so this method may be best for certain flowers.

For the best results, lay out the leaves and flowers on paper, cover them with another paper layer and iron until the moisture has evaporated from the plants.

Single large flowers, whose petals are rich in liquid, such as roses or tulips, can be also be dried in the oven at a low temperature. You will need to carefully monitor this to ensure that your flowers do not turn brown.

Oven dried flowers. Image via @loriastern on Instagram

Using silica gel to dry flowers and leaves

You may be familiar with the little packets of silica gel that are often found in jars of vitamins or anything that would be affected by excess moisture or condensation. Silica gel can absorb about 40 percent of its weight in moisture, making it a great material to quickly and efficiently dry plants.

Silica gel must be crushed and dried before use. The next step is to pour a layer, 2-3 cm deep, on the bottom of a cardboard box. Lay the plants on the gel, spaced apart and avoiding disturbing the petals too much. Cover with another layer of silica gel.

The drying process takes between two days and a month and is perfect even for delicate flowers such as dahlias, roses, orchids or lilies.

Whether you are using dried botanicals for arts and crafts, as photography props or home decor, you can test all three methods of drying flowers and leaves to find the best one for you. Your results may vary depending on what type of botanicals you’re using, but with a little practice, you can easily create your own unique and beautifully preserved flowers.

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