How to Preserve Roses So They Last


How to Preserve Roses So They Last

instagram icon5 MIN Read

14 Dec 2022

By Michael Jacobson

Preserved roses
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash 

Why might you want to preserve your roses?

Roses are stunningly beautiful, so the idea of having an everlasting rose whose blooms never fade (such as the Enchanted rose from Beauty and The Beast) is appealing. It’s not only their appearance that makes roses desirable to keep. The many meanings, traditions, and sentiments associated with roses make them one of the most loved - and gifted - cut flowers. As a result, for many, a single rose or bouquet of roses can have a significance that goes way beyond just its appearance. Roses are often given as a token of love, form part of a wedding bouquet, or are used for special event corsages. Preserving a rose is a way of preserving not just its beauty but the memories associated with it.

There are also situations where decorating with fresh flowers is impossible, whether due to an unsuitable climate, lack of sunlight or water, or too long a timeframe for their use. In these circumstances, preserved roses make a great alternative to fresh ones. 

How to prepare roses for preserving

Preserved flowers can last for a year and sometimes up to 35 years if they are cared for correctly. Before you can begin preserving them, roses will need to be prepared. You will need to cut your roses with a sharp blade that will not crush their delicate stems. Always cut at a 45-degree angle for maximum water absorption. Select newly bloomed roses which are healthy and free from insects and disease. Remove leaves from the stems of your roses, and put them straight into lukewarm water in a cool room. 

Air drying roses

One of the simplest methods of preserving roses, air drying them, is easy at home, requires no specialist equipment, and takes very little time. Remove all the leaves from your flowers to achieve the best results. Using twine, wire, or string, tie roses together (depending on how many you have) near the bottom of the stem to leave room between the individual flower heads in the bouquet. Hang the roses upside down in a dry, dark place for two to three weeks. The roses will be slightly distorted in shape and color, but this can achieve a nice rustic look.

Preserving roses in glycerin

Glycerin, used in everything from food and pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and candles, is a soluble, clear, thick liquid. It is particularly effective for preserving roses because it preserves the color and texture of the rose much more successfully than air drying. It does this by sealing in the flower’s moisture for months, sometimes up to a year. 

To preserve roses in glycerin, cut the stems at an angle so they can absorb as much water as possible. Submerge them fully in warm water that is one part glycerin to two parts slightly cooled, boiled water. Leave them in the glycerin solution for 24-48 hours. Remove and drain the roses, then move them to a new container to dry out. 

Newly bloomed roses will have the most successful outcome as they will absorb the most glycerin into their cells and be more likely to retain their color and shape.

Freeze drying roses

While it is possible to purchase a freeze-drying machine if you are likely to want to use it on several occasions, most people prefer to outsource this time-consuming job to professionals, as it can be a delicate and tricky process. Freeze drying is particularly popular for wedding bouquet preservation, and, as with glycerin preservation, much of the original color of the roses is preserved through freeze drying. Before treatment, leaves should be removed and stems trimmed to a 45-degree angle. Then your freshly cut roses should be allowed to absorb water from a vase for 12 hours. Freeze drying will slowly remove moisture from the roses over days or weeks, depending on the machine used and the size of the blooms being preserved.

Sand drying roses

Like with other preservation methods, the key to successfully sand-drying roses is to pick the flowers at their freshest. It is advisable to cut them in the morning when they are least likely to be wilted. Cut roses can be immediately placed into a vase of warm water for maximum water absorption. Sand drying roses involves carefully placing cut stems into a container with a shallow amount of sand in the bottom, which is then carefully filled with sand until the flower is completely covered. It is then left for approximately two weeks before gently tipping the sand away from the flower. 

One of the challenges of this method is not damaging the roses during the process. Petals can be supported with tools such as a skewer or paintbrush while sand is tipped into the container to ensure the rose keeps its shape rather than being flattened by the sand. The container is then placed in a warm and dry location - the warmer and drier, the better, as faster drying preserves the rose’s colors more effectively. 

Desiccant drying roses 

Desiccants such as silica gel are another method that can be used for preserving your most beautiful or sentimental roses. Trim your roses to the desired length (though the results are particularly good if you preserve only the flower head) and place them in a container bigger than the flower. Silica gel - the finest grain gel is best - is then gently poured around the bloom in a similar way to when preserving with sand, being careful not to pour too fast, so the petals are not squashed or distorted. After a few days, the rose petals will be paper-like in texture, but the rose itself will look almost like the fresh flower you first placed into the container with the desiccant.  

Can other methods be used to preserve roses?


Pressing roses

Pressed roses have a very particular aesthetic. While the results are a flattened and paler version of the original fresh bloom, they are perfect for decorating greetings cards, framing, and for other craft projects. Roses can be pressed using a traditional flower press, which uses layers of paper and wood, between which rose petals are tightly squeezed, or you can place small flower heads and individual petals between heavy books before leaving them in a warm, dry place for a few weeks. 

Microwave drying roses

This quick method of preservation gives you dried flowers in under five minutes! Like pressing roses, you can sandwich rose petals between sheets of kitchen towel before microwaving in 30-second increments, checking between drying sessions until you are happy with the outcome. You can even buy a microwave flower press designed just for this purpose. 

Using hairspray to preserve roses

Another very straightforward technique that can be done at home, hair spraying roses prolongs their life and is very easy to do. Give your blooms a good coating of hairspray before air drying them upside down to help them to keep their shape and to prevent petals from dropping off. Even fresh roses can be blasted with hairspray in the vase to keep them from wilting.

Preserving roses using epoxy resin

Epoxy resin is a wonderful way to preserve your roses and can be used to create beautiful floral jewelry pieces and other keepsakes. Your roses will need to be dried using one of the methods above before being cast in resin. The casting process is fairly straightforward but requires a steady hand, as the resin is carefully poured around the flower in the chosen shape of mold before being cured using heat over several days, with fantastic results.  

Roses for now, for later, or for longer

Buy beautiful fresh and professionally preserved roses online with French Florist by 2 pm for same-day local delivery across Los Angeles.


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