My boyfriend Mike bought me the most amazing bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen in my life! (Crazy brownie points for him, yes.)
The moment I saw the flowers, I knew I needed to figure out how to preserve them for as long as possible. The only problem? I hate the look of withery, dried, wrinkly flowers. So I did some internet research and learned about this thing called silica gel. It’s a dessicant, which is a drying agent. Silica gel, when used to preserve flowers, basically absorbs all the moisture in the flowers but helps the flower to maintain its shape and color – something that traditional drying methods don’t do (and what I was specifically looking for). WIN!
I found using silica gel to preserve flowers to be very easy, albeit a bit messy and a little bit on the pricey side. To preserve all the roses from my bouquet (and a few of the yellow flowers), I needed 15 pounds of this stuff (eek). I found this gel at my local Michael’s store for about $17 per 5 lb box. (The nice thing about Michael’s is that they always have coupons so you should be able to find this at a discount.)
You’ll need the gel, a pair of sharp scissors, and plastic containers that you are not interested in using again for food storage. I found that using long, shallow plastic containers worked best because I didn’t “waste” any of the silica gel and could fit more roses into each container.
Fill the container with a few inches of silica gel. When your flowers are just past their peak, cut their stems so each bud has about 1″ of stem. The stem is important because that will keep the flower upright in the plastic container.
Before placing the bud in the gel, make sure to take care to remove the petals that are past peak or damaged. Next, place the buds upright in the container and start carefully pouring the silica gel around the buds. Go slowly or else the weight of the gel will crush the petals! I used a spoon to get the gel in and around the petals.
Cover the roses up completely so you can’t see them anymore. Close up the container and label it with the date. Place the container(s) somewhere dark. Silica gel has blue crystals – those crystals turn white when they’ve absorbed moisture. Check on your flowers every few days for “doneness”. My roses took about 7 or so days to dry. When you “unearth” them, be really careful. The flowers will be really delicate – you may want to use a spoon again. You can see a little bit of the gel is still stuck inside this rose…I’m not sure how to get that out, so we’ll see just have to see what happens 🙂
When I first attempted this, I had no idea how the flowers would come out. After this experiment, I’m certain that I will use this method to preserve flowers from here on out! It was easy and the finished product is very pretty, don’t you think?