Roses are beautiful woody perennials famed for their fragrant, colorful flowers. Roses are usually planted outside and enjoyed in full bloom from late spring until early fall. However, you can dry and preserve roses to appreciate them indoors at any time of year. In this article, I’ll explore five of the best methods for drying and preserving roses.
What’s The Best Way to Dry Roses? Key Takeaways
You can dry roses by hanging them in a cool, dry, dark place. You can also dry roses using a microwave or a desiccant like silica gel—alternatively, dry roses by pressing them using a flower press or a heavy book. Dried roses take one to three weeks to dry and typically last for one to three years.
How to Prepare Roses For Drying
To get the best results, preparing your roses correctly before drying them is important. Harvest your chosen roses just before you start drying them. Using fresh roses makes it easier to preserve the color and structure of each flower.
When choosing roses for drying, pick ones with flowers that are almost fully open or have only just opened. Don’t pick flowers that are already losing petal, as these won’t be fresh. Avoid any wilting roses that have brown spots on the petals.
Once you’ve cut your roses, trim the stems down slightly and leave an angled cut at the base of the stem. Then, keep your roses in a vase of water while you prepare the equipment for your chosen drying method.
5 Best Methods For Drying Roses
There are five primary methods of drying roses. Some methods, such as air-drying or pressing, are straightforward and don’t require many tools. In this section, we’ll look at each process and explain how to dry your roses.
Air-drying is the easiest and least expensive method of drying rose flowers. This method works best if you want to dry lots of roses at once. It’s also a good way of drying longer rose stems for bouquets or vases. Here’s a guide explaining how to air-dry your roses:
- Select a bunch of fresh roses and remove most of the leaves.
- Using some string, twine, or rubber bands, tie your bunch of roses together.
- Tie a longer length of string at the bottom of the bunch and hang them from a rack. Make sure that the flowers are upside down and facing the floor.
- Hang your bouquet somewhere cool, dry, and dark for approximately two to three weeks. Don’t leave the flowers in sunlight as they will lose their color.
- Once the flowers are dry, you can spray them with normal hairspray. This stiffens the flowers, helping them retain their shape and last longer. If you do spray them, leave them for two or three more days to let the spray dry.
Air-Drying Roses in a Vase
Another easy way to dry roses is to let them dry naturally in a vase. This is another form of air-drying but doesn’t require a hanging rack. Here’s a quick guide detailing how to dry roses in a vase:
- Clean out a ceramic vase or other container with warm, soapy water and let it dry.
- Choose some fresh roses and remove the leaves.
- Cut the stems of your roses to fit the vase and place them in the vessel.
- Leave the vase in a cool, dry place in a dark area for approximately two to three weeks.
- As detailed above, you can spray the roses with some hairspray once they’re dry. If you do, leave them for a few more days until the hairspray has also dried.
Using Silica Gel
One of the most efficient ways of drying rose flowers is to use a desiccant like silica gel. Silica gel is available online or in craft stores. Using silica gel produces the most natural results and helps preserve the vibrant color of your rose. However, this method is better suited to short stems or large flowers rather than roses with long stems.
- Choose fresh, healthy roses and cut down the stems to about an inch or so.
- Fill an airtight container approximately halfway with some silica gel.
- Use a paper towel to gently remove any remaining moisture from your rose flowers.
- Place each flower face down into the gel with the stems facing upwards.
- Use more silica gel to completely cover your flowers.
- Seal the container and leave it in a cool, dry, dark place for about a week.
- Remove the flowers and gently shake off any remaining silica gel.
Using a Microwave
You can also use a microwave to dry your rose flowers. However, care must be taken with this method to avoid burning the flowers. This method doesn’t work for long stems as they won’t fit in most microwaves. Here’s how to dry your rose flowers using a microwave:
- Pick some fresh, healthy roses and trim down the stems so that they fit in your microwave.
- Lay your roses on a sheet of greaseproof or wax paper and place them in the microwave.
- Using the lowest possible setting, microwave your roses until they’re fully dry.
- Check your roses every 30 to 45 seconds to make sure that they aren’t burned.
- Once done, remove your roses from the microwave and let them cool down in a dry, dark place.
Pressing is one of the most enjoyable ways of drying rose flowers. Pressed rose flowers can be framed for display or used in various craft projects. While specialist flower presses are available, you can also use a couple of heavy books.
- Open a large, heavy book towards the back and place a sheet of blotting paper on the page.
- Trim down the stems of some fresh, healthy roses to fit your book or flower press.
- Place your roses on top of the blotting paper and cover them with another sheet of blotting paper.
- Close the book carefully and add another heavy book on top. If you’re using a flower press, put the roses in with the blotting paper and tighten the flower press.
- Leave your roses in a cool, dry area in a dark location for about two to three weeks.
- Open the book or press every few days and replace the sheets of blotting paper until your flowers are dry.
- Gently remove your flowers and store them in a cool, dry, dark place.
How Long Do Dried Roses Last?
Depending on how you dry them, dried roses can last for approximately one to three years. Dried roses are delicate objects that need to be handled with care. To help your dried roses last as long as possible, keep them in a dry place away from direct sunlight.
The longer you keep dried roses, the more they will fade. Use orange or yellow roses if you can, as these retain their color better than pink or purple roses. Red roses can also gradually lose their color and usually turn brown.
Drying Roses FAQs:
How Do You Dry Roses to Keep Them Forever?
No matter how you dry them, dried roses won’t last forever. Even with the best care, dried roses usually last no more than three years.
How Long Does It Take to Dry a Rose?
Depending on which method you use, it takes a couple of days to about three weeks to dry a rose. Using a microwave or silica gel is usually the fastest method.
How Do You Dry Roses in the Microwave?
To dry roses in a microwave, place them on some greaseproof or wax paper. Using the lowest setting, microwave your roses until they’re fully dry. Check them at 30-second intervals to make sure they don’t burn.
How Long Will a Dried Rose Last?
Dried roses usually last between one and three years. To help dried roses last longer, spray them with hairspray after you’ve dried them.
How Do You Preserve Roses With Hairspray?
Hairspray helps preserve dried roses a little longer by stiffening them. Spray your dried roses with hairspray and leave them for a few more days until the spray has also dried.
Dried roses last for approximately one to three years with delicate handling. Air-drying or pressing are the easiest ways to dry roses. You can also dry roses in a microwave or using silica gel. Always use fresh roses with flowers that are nearly or recently fully open. Depending on your chosen method, drying roses takes between two days and three weeks.