Fresh eucalyptus stems are interesting additions to arrangements and attractive alternatives to other evergreens that tend to hold their leaves and colour very well. While some people think that eucalyptus smells like medicine, others find it clean, fresh and relaxing and wish that the aroma could last forever. Your eucalyptus isn’t going to last that long, but you can certainly extend its useful, fragrant life. The key to maintaining the heady smell of your eucalyptus leaves is to keep the plant material as healthy and happy as possible.
Purchase eucalyptus stems that look, smell and feel as fresh as possible. Choose stems and leaves that feel pliable, not brittle. They should be flexible enough not to crack if you bend them.
Use sharp, clean scissors to clip off the bottom ½ inch of each eucalyptus stem. Crush the lower 1 inch of the stems to allow it to take up as much water as possible. Immerse the crushed ends in a jar or vase of water immediately.
Add floral preservative to the container of water. Follow the instructions carefully. Strip the lower leaves from the eucalyptus stems so that no leaf material will come into contact with the water. This will discourage the growth of bacteria, which causes rot. Put the stems in the water and place the jar in a cool location away from heat and out of direct light. Change the water every two or three days.
Immerse eucalyptus stems and leaves intended for use in arrangements in a bucket of water overnight. Remove them from the water and shake off excess moisture. Put the cut ends of the stems in a jar or vase of water until the leaves have completely air dried before using. Store your completed eucalyptus stems, leaves and arrangements in a cool, dark location.
Display your eucalyptus arrangements away from heat and out of direct sunlight.
Add a drop of eucalyptus essential or fragrance oil to one or two of the leaves or stems in your arrangement.
Use a repurposed plastic spray bottle to spritz your eucalyptus stems and leaves with water once daily. This will keep them hydrated and extend the life of their freshness.
Add a drop of eucalyptus oil to the water in the spray bottle once weekly for more intense fragrance.