How to preserve a rose flower

Preserved roses make beautiful and long-lasting flower arrangements. Preserving roses with glycerine helps them maintain more of their colour, shape and texture than normal dried roses have. The roses absorb glycerine, which allows them to dry out while maintaining their texture instead of wilting or shrivelling. With a few simple steps and supplies just about anyone can preserve a rose flower.

Cut a mature rose flower in the morning just before it fully opens, as recommended by the University of Vermont. Cut the rose stem four to six inches longer than the desired stem length of the final preserved flower. Fully opened flowers are more likely to lose some petals and some of their shape during the preserving process. Use the flowers right away, because flower preservation with glycerine works best with non-wilted flowers, according to North Dakota State University.

Hammer the ends of the rose stems. The University of Maryland explains that smashing the lower 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) of the stems helps the plant absorb glycerine.

Make a mixture of warm water and glycerine. Use a ratio of two parts warm water to one part glycerine, as recommended by Clemson University and the University of Maryland. Prepare the mixture by heating the glycerine and water at a low temperature on the stove and stirring it until the glycerine dissolves.

Pour the glycerine mixture into a disposable container, such as a milk carton with the top cut off.

Place the flower stem in the glycerine solution. Clemson University suggests putting the flower stem in about 15 cm (6 inches) of the glycerine solution. As the flower absorbs the solution, add more. It may take two to six weeks for the glycerine to travel up the rose stem and reach the flower. As glycerine travels up the stem, it will turn slightly brownish but will not totally dry out. The rose should mostly maintain its colour but may darken slightly and have a more waxy texture.

Hang the rose upside down when it is finished soaking in the glycerine. Gravity will help even more glycerine travel to the ends of the flower petals, which prevents them from wilting or curling downward.

Trim off the smashed end of the flower stem.


Putting rose stems in a solution of salt water overnight before putting them in a glycerine solution may help them absorb glycerine faster, according to Clemson University.


If the rose stem is over 45 cm (18 inches) long, the glycerine may not be able to travel all the way up the rose stem and reach the flower before the flower wilts. Trim the stem to 45 cm or shorter before placing the rose in a glycerine solution.

Things You'll Need

  • Freshly cut roses
  • Glycerine
  • Hammer
  • Disposable container, such as an old milk carton
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About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.