How to Preserve a Rose: the Definitive Guide
Fresh-cut flowers are a dream for the senses, offering breathtaking beauty that can illuminate the room with color and flair. The more you appreciate the visual artistry of natural roses, the more likely you are to have wondered how you can get them to last longer. This rose preservation guide offers 4 unique ways to preserve real roses, allowing you to capture beauty and enjoy your roses for much longer.
Preserved Roses Last a Long Time
Fresh-cut flowers require cool temps and plenty of fresh water to keep their form. But as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Even if you provide the most pristine conditions, real roses can only keep up their appearances for a few weeks or months after harvest. Though it’s a natural part of the life cycle, tossing out real roses after they’ve wilted never gets any easier.
Preserving roses is a great way to extend the window of time that you get to enjoy their peak beauty. Different techniques yield different timelines, with some methods preserving petals for a few years and others allowing you to revisit the blooms decades down the line. With that said, each rose preservation technique tends to alter the look and feel of fresh-cut flowers in various ways, causing some petals to become more brittle or fade in color.
One thing’s certain: if you want to enjoy your fresh-cut flowers for longer, you’ve got to learn how to preserve roses at home. Not sure which method is the best? Take a look our definitive guide to preserving roses, discover the best techniques, and take your pick!
One of the easiest ways to preserve roses is to use the good old fashioned air-drying technique. This method doesn’t require any fancy equipment, and it’s a fairly low-key, natural preservation process. While air-drying is a great way to preserve roses for beginners, it does take up a bit of extra space and the process requires patience. Here’s how to preserve a rose using the air-drying technique:
- Remove all leaves from the stem to help fast-track the drying process for the rose petals.
- Hang the flower upside-down in a well-ventilated area that is out of direct sunlight. Be sure to hang the flower from the stem, not from the flower head.
- Wait for all moisture to evaporate from the rose.
Essentially, air-drying is a dehydration technique that involves removing all moisture from the flower so that only the plant material remains. The drying-out process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how supple and lush the original rose was. If you have several roses to air-dry, you can bundle them in sets of 2 or 3 blooms by securing a rubber band around the stems and hanging each bundle up separately.
Preserved roses that have been air-dried will be very brittle, so it’s extremely important to remove and display them carefully once they’ve been preserved. Some people actually like to leave their preserved roses hanging upside-down after they’ve finished drying out, but this is a stylistic preference. The preserved roses can also be taken down, turned right-side-up, and displayed in a vase, too.
Real roses can also be preserved via pressing, another technique that is very easy to do at home and requires minimal equipment. Spray roses are excellent for pressing, because they are slightly smaller in size and easier to flatten. While there are professional flower pressing units that can be purchased in stores and hobby shops, you can also use an old-fashioned pressing technique that requires nothing more than a very heavy textbook. Here’s how to preserve a rose via pressing:
- Trim off the entire stem, stopping just short of the rosebud’s base.
- Open a heavy book (think phonebook, encyclopedia, or old college textbook), and line the page with a blank piece of thin paper. (Hint: wax paper or printer paper will work just fine.) If you’re placing several roses on a single page, be sure they don’t overlap.
- Cover the roses with another sheet of blank paper and close the book carefully.
- Place something very heavy on top of the book so that it remains completely closed.
After two to four weeks, your preserved roses will be waiting to be discovered and displayed. The beauty of pressing roses for preservation is that it’s a simple process that pretty much takes care of itself. Obviously, pressing flattens the flowers, so preserved roses that have been pressed are best for scrapbooks or crafting on flat display pieces. Here’s another tip: be sure that the roses are not wet from dew or water droplets when setting up the press, as this can cause them to stick to the pages in the book.
Preserving roses with silica gel requires a steady hand and more specific materials, so it’s a great method for flower enthusiasts looking for a challenge. This technique dries the real rose by surrounding it with silica gel, a porous form of silica dioxide. Here’s how to preserve a rose using this gel solution:
- Fill a plastic container with about two inches of silica gel.
- Place the rose inside the container, stem side down, and begin filling the remainder of the box with silica gel, ensuring that the gel reaches around every surface of the flower, including between the petals.
- After two to three weeks, remove the preserved rose from the container, and wipe any excess silica gel from the petals using a cotton swab.
The wonderful thing about using this technique to preserve flowers is that you can enjoy the full form of the rose, including the stem and various leaves. This is a great method for crafting that involves displaying the preserved rose in a cloche.
An alternative to at-home rose preservation is to seek a professional service that specializes in preserving roses. Freeze-drying is one special technique that many florists use to preserve real roses for their customers. If you want to enjoy the visual beauty of a real rose AND its scintillating scent, freeze-drying is the way to go. The downside to this technique is that it can be a bit expensive, and you’ll need to hire a professional to do the job right.
Professionally Preserved Roses
If you know that you’ll want to enjoy your flowers for much longer than the typical shelf life, why not purchase specially preserved roses from Rosaholics? These roses are already treated and protected in a stylized case so that they arrive in pristine condition, ready to delight for up to 2 whole years. And no, they aren’t fake! Rosaholics’ preserved roses are 100% real, offering an easy way to enjoy the natural beauty of roses without jumping through the hoops of at-home preservation methods. View our luxury preserved roses.
What to Do with Preserved Roses
Now that you know how to preserve roses at home, it's time to get creative in how you'll display them! Scrapbooks, framed flowers, dried displays tucked under a cloche are just a few ideas. Take a look at some other awesome ideas for displaying dried roses here, and pick your fave!