Orchids are prized around the world for their beautiful flowers. However, they only bloom about twice a year for 1 month or so every time.
Many orchid lovers, including myself, like to preserve orchid flowers so that we can enjoy their beauty year-round.
I have learned how to preserve orchid flowers in the most effective way after some trial and error.
Read on and discover the process of preserving orchid flowers.
How to preserve orchid flowers?
The best way to preserve orchid flowers is by drying them. This process entails picking the blossoms, applying a gel powder coating on them before setting the blossoms on a wire framework. After which, hang, arrange, and seal the orchid blossoms for further protection allowing them to last indefinitely.
The Process For Preserving Orchid Flowers
The process of drying orchids can be broken down into six steps.
These steps are selecting the flowers, applying a gel powder coating, wiring, hanging, arranging, and sealing.
It is important that you complete each of these steps properly in order to preserve the orchid flower for as long as possible.
Step 1: Picking the blossoms
When you are planning to preserve orchid blossoms, it is absolutely vital that you pick them at exactly the right time.
You want to pick blossoms that are not quite at full bloom, and you want to pick them right in the middle of the growing season.
It is best to pick your blossoms in the middle of the day. If you pick blossoms in full bloom, they will not last as long.
Step 2: Applying a gel powder coating
When you have selected the blossoms that you want to preserve, you should use pruning shears to carefully cut the stems about one inch from the blossom.
After cutting the blossom and stem, place it in a vacuum-sealed container and cover it with silica gel.
The gel will take roughly two days to set. After two days, check the flower to see if it has hardened fully.
If it has, proceed to step three. If it hasn’t, give it another day.
Step 3: Setting up the wire framework
The next step of the process is to provide the blossom with a wire framework that helps it keep its shape when drying.
It took me several tries to do this properly, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it at first.
The key is to wrap the wire around the bottom of the blossom and the stem so that the stem keeps its shape.
After wrapping the stem with wire, you need to hand it upside down. This allows it to dry properly.
When you do this, make sure that the wire isn’t tight enough to cut off the stem from the blossom.
Step 4: Drying
Now that you’ve hung the blossom upside-down, it needs time to dry. Make sure that the blossom is hung to dry in a well-ventilated and cool room.
It will take roughly one month for the blossom to air dry completely, although it may take longer.
Be patient, as not letting the blossom dry completely can lead to mold later.
Step 5: Arranging & Cleaning
Once the blossoms have dried completely, the hard part is over. Now you can arrange the blossoms as you see fit.
Properly dried orchid blossoms need very little maintenance.
You can lightly dust the flowers when necessary, although you need to be very careful if you have not applied a preservative to the blossom.
Step 6: Preserving the dried blossoms
While this step is not strictly necessary, many people apply a preservative to a dried orchid blossom to protect it.
Dried orchid blossoms that have not been coated with a preservative tend to shatter. They also may lose their color.
To preserve a dried orchid blossom, all you need to do is carefully coat it with a silica gel or spray.
I’d recommend using a spray, as this will help you coat the blossom with silica more evenly.
Also, using a spray eliminates the risk of damaging the flower when spreading gel by hand. Orchid blossoms that have been preserved in this manner can last for a couple of years.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Preserve Orchid Flowers
How long do orchid flowers last if they have not been preserved?
How long non-preserved orchid flowers last depends on whether they’ve been cut from the plant. Orchid blossoms on the plant can last for up to six weeks, though they may only last for four weeks. Cut orchid blossoms can live for up to 3 weeks in the right conditions.
Why do orchids have to be harvested at such a specific time?
Orchid blossoms must be harvested at a very specific time because they need to be picked when they have collected as little food and water as possible. If the blossom is storing food and water, this makes it more susceptible to rotting. It is also vital to pick the blossom when it is at its biggest, as it will shrink slightly when preserved.
Is it possible to preserve more than one orchid blossom at a time?
It is possible to preserve multiple orchid blossoms at a time. In fact, many experienced gardeners like to preserve orchid blossoms in bunches because they can be used to create spectacular arrangements. If you are preserving multiple blossom bunches, make sure to leave space between them when you are air-drying them.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.