How do I preserve roses with glycerin?

Roses image by Andy Merrett from

Few flowers can vie with the rose for tradition and romance, and a bouquet of roses often carries meaning and significance beyond the mere beauty of the blooms. Sadly, though, fresh roses can never last long. To preserve a treasured bouquet of roses or to simply enjoy your garden's bounty and colour through the winter months, try drying your roses with a solution of glycerine. Unlike with pressing or other flower preservation methods, drying roses with glycerine retains their softness and suppleness for a more natural look.

Pour 2 1/2 cups warm water into a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup glycerine, pouring slowly and stirring continuously with the wooden spoon until the two liquids combine.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon citric acid powder.

Weigh the roses on a kitchen scale and record their weight.

Place an empty vase on top of the kitchen scale and record the weight.

Set the scale back to zero and replace the empty vase on top of it. Carefully pour the glycerine solution into the vase until you've added an amount of liquid that equals the weight of the roses themselves. For example, if you are preserving 142gr of roses, add 147ml of the preserving solution.

Remember to take into account the weight of the vase. So, if the vase weighed 170gr, continue adding liquid until the scale reads 312gr.

Arrange the roses upright in the vase with the bottoms of their stems submerged in the glycerine solution.

Tuck the vase away in a warm, dry place and leave them to rest undisturbed for seven days while they absorb the preserving solution.

Remove the roses from the glycerine solution, gently drain and dry them and transfer them to another clean, empty vase. Let them air-dry in a safe, warm place for another six days.

Bundle the roses together and tie a string around their stems. Hang them upside down from a coat hanger or towel hook in a cool, dry place. Let them dry for three weeks.

Take the roses down, untie them and enjoy displaying them in waterless vases, baskets or bundles.

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