Roses are a beloved garden flower and a universal symbol of love. While rose bushes bloom beautifully during the spring and summer, they fade and die back by the time autumn rolls around.
While you can make your roses last longer by providing them with the proper care, and there are a number of rose cultivars that rebloom continuously throughout the growing season, it is inevitable that the flowers will die back before winter.
While cut roses do not last forever, there are ways of preserving your roses that allow you to keep the beautiful petals and sweet smells around long after colder temperatures have arrived.
You can air-dry roses by hanging them upside down in a cool, dark room. You can also preserve roses by pressing them between the pages of a heavy book. Alternatively, you can use silica gel beads to dry roses while retaining more of their natural color.
1. Air-drying roses
Preserving roses allows you to keep the memory of summer alive throughout the year. Roses that have been preserved well can be kept for decades and passed down through generations.
Air-drying roses is a traditional method for turning garden blooms into beautiful indoor decorations. You can air-dry roses individually or in entire bouquets.
Air-drying roses is a highly sustainable way to preserve your summer blooms. It involves dehydrating the petals, leaves and stems of the flowers.
You will need to wait until your roses have reached full bloom before cutting them off your rose bush. Use a disinfected pair of clippers or a clean knife to make your cuts.
Gently form the rose into the shape you want to preserve it in. If you twist the head slightly, it will often display all its petal layers beautifully. Tie a thread to the end of the stem and use this to hang your rose upside down in a dry, cool, dark room.
The better the ventilation in the area you use to dry your roses, the more quickly they will dry. You will need to leave them hanging upside down for two to three weeks.
Make sure you hang your roses far enough apart to allow them to dry out completely. If you are air-drying a bouquet, tie a string around the middle of the stems and tie two to three threads to the string. Hang the bouquet upside down using the threads. Pull the flowers as far apart as possible to allow them to dry out more quickly.
After two to three days, spray the petals of your roses with hairspray. This will help keep the shape of the flowers intact.
Once your roses have dried completely, you can take them down. Dried roses look beautiful in a vase or hanging upside down on a wall.
Don’t be surprised if the bright colors of your roses fade. Dry roses tend to fade into earthier tones, while still retaining some of their pigment.
Of course, you can only preserve roses if they are healthy and blooming. If you were looking forward to preserving your flowers but your roses are not blooming, you will need to take steps to remedy the issue.
If your roses are drooping, they will also not preserve well.
If you are having trouble growing roses outdoors but love the look of their blooms in your home, you might try growing roses indoors.
2. Pressing roses
Pressing roses is another highly sustainable way to preserve your summer blooms.
As with air-drying, you will need to wait until your roses are in full bloom before snipping them.
Once you have cut your roses, allow them to sit in a vase with a few inches of water for one to two days before beginning to press them.
Remove them from the vase 10 to 12 hours before pressing. Allow the lower stalks to dry naturally. This will allow the roses to dry completely and will ensure they are not damp when you place them inside the pressing book.
Before you press them, make sure the flowers look the way you want them to––cut off any brown leaves or wilting petals. Remove a few of the petals from the interior of the flower, as this will allow your rose to press more easily and will give you a more beautiful final product.
Cut off any leaves that might have turned yellow.
Put your flower between two clean sheets of paper and place these inside a heavy book. Close the book, lay it on its side and pile more books on top of it. You can press multiple roses in the same book by leaving at least an inch of pages between the flowers.
Once your roses have been pressed for two to three weeks, remove them from the book or books they are in. They should be dry to the touch. You can frame flat roses or use them as part of a collage. Alternatively, you can display them in a vase as a “flat bouquet.”
You might also include them in a photo album or send them in a card to someone special.
You will want to check for pests such as aphids on your roses before you preserve them. Not only might they have signs of damage that will not look nice, but you may end up accidentally pressing some pests too.
If you have a pest problem or notice a lot of pest damage on the roses you want to preserve, read up on how to protect your roses from bugs before the next growing season.
3. Using gel silica to preserve roses
Another method for keeping your summer roses is to preserve them using gel silica beads. There are specific blends of dry silica gel composed of blue and white beads that suck the moisture from flower petals.
When the silica has become saturated, the blue beads will turn pink. At this point, the beads need to be replaced.
As with both the other methods for preserving flowers, gel silica preservation works best when you cut flowers from the bush during their prime. This allows them to keep their bright color when preserved better than they would if they had been cut earlier.
Dry your flowers out by allowing them to sit on newspaper for between 12 and 18 hours before beginning the gel silica preservation process.
Fill the bottom of an air-tight container with at least an inch of gel silica beads.
Cut off the stems right to the base of the rose head. Place the heads in the silica beads face up and add more beads until the rose heads are almost fully submerged.
Close the air-tight container and put it in a dry place.
Between four and seven days later, your flowers will be dehydrated, and you can remove them from the container.
You can use your silica-dried roses in any number of ways. Display them in a shallow vase or use them to decorate a fancy tablecloth.
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.