How to preserve flowers with glycerin

Updated February 21, 2017

Nothing is quite as beautiful as a fresh flower, but a well-preserved one comes very close. Many people long to preserve flowers that hold special memories, whether they are from a wedding bouquet or from another special event. One of the best ways to preserve flowers is with glycerine. According to the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, the use of glycerine to preserve flowers keeps the flower product soft. The dried flower will stay pliable for years, unlike when it is simply air-dried and can become brittle. Try preserving flowers with glycerine and see the difference.

Select a tall container for the flowers to stand in when absorbing the glycerine. The container can be glass or plastic, but not metal. When you place the stems in the container, you will want enough room for the stems not to be pushed together.

Put 2 1/2 cups of warm water into the mixing bowl. Slowly add 1 cup of the glycerine, and stir continually while adding. Continue to stir and add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid powder. Stir until all are thoroughly blended and dissolved.

Place the stalks you wish to dry on the kitchen scale and weigh them. Whatever your stems weigh, place that same amount of the preserving liquid in the vase. For example, if your flowers weigh 59.1ml, put 56.7gr of glycerine liquid in the bottom of the vase. Be sure that the bottoms of the stems are all in the solution and that there is adequate space between the stems and flowers for air flow.

Set the flowers in a warm, airy location, and leave alone until the glycerine solution has been absorbed. This can take anywhere from three to seven days.

Remove the stems from the vase, and place the flowers in another vase in a sunny location with good air circulation. Leave alone for six days.

Tie the bottoms of the stems in a bunch, and hang them upside down to dry for three weeks to complete the preservation process. This should also be a sunny location with excellent air circulation.


When you cut stems for drying, do so in early morning or late evening when temperatures are cool. Some crafters like to put commercial floral dye in the glycerine solution. This is absorbed by the plant and changes the colour of it. See a florist or quality craft store for the dye.


Not all plants and flowers respond the same to being preserved with glycerine. The key is to see which ones work best with it. If you are preserving flowers for a special occasion, experiment with the flower type first.

Things You'll Need

  • Tall, narrow vase or container
  • Glycerine
  • Warm water
  • Citric acid powder
  • Large glass or plastic mixing bowl
  • Kitchen scale
  • Empty gallon jug
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."