Camellia flowers are a gorgeous sight in any garden from fall until spring. However, you can also enjoy camellia blooms indoors by drying them or preserving them in wax. In this article, we’ll run through several proven techniques to successfully dry and preserve camellia flowers at home.
When Are Camellia Flowers In Season?
Camellia shrubs are divided into three groups based on when they flower. Early-season camellias, including Camellia sasanqua, bloom in the fall. Mid-season camellias, such as Camellia japonica, flower during the winter, while late-season camellias bloom during the spring.
When to Pick Camellia Flowers For Drying and Preserving
The best time to pick camellia flowers is in the early morning or late evening. Avoid picking camellia flowers during the afternoon as they lose too much water in hot conditions. Pick camellia flowers anytime during the blooming season, but try to pick buds that have yet to open fully. I recommend a similar technique for cutting camellia flowers for a vase or bouquet arrangement.
How to Dry Camellia Flowers
This is the easiest way I’ve found to dry camellia flowers. Here’s a quick guide to air-drying camellia flowers:
- Look for camellia flower stems with buds that are almost fully open.
- Cut off your chosen stems using sharp, sterilized tools. This minimizes the risk of spreading diseases. Cut at the bottom of each stem just above a point where a new bud is branching out.
- Remove most of the lower leaves and bundle several stems together with string or elastic bands.
- Hang the camellia flowers upside down in a cool, dark place.
- Your camellia flowers should be dry within 2 to 4 weeks.
Using Silica Gel
Using silica gel is an easy method of drying camellia flowers that preserves the color of the blooms. Here’s a brief guide to drying camellia flowers using silica gel:
- Add a layer of silica gel crystals to a plastic container. Aim for an even layer that’s approximately half an inch thick.
- Select some camellia flowers and cut them at the base of the stem.
- Cut off most of the stem on your chosen flowers, leaving approximately a ¼-inch attached at the base of the flower.
- Place the blooms into the silica gel, ensuring they stay face up. Leave about 2 inches of space between each flower.
- Add another layer of silica crystals to cover the camellia flowers and seal the container completely.
- Check your flowers after two weeks. They should feel dry and papery. Gently shake off any remaining silica crystals.
How to Preserve Camellia Flowers in Wax
Camellia flowers can also be preserved in wax. I’ve found this technique a little more challenging than simply drying them, but they will last longer. Here’s a quick guide to preserving camellia flowers in wax:
- Select some healthy single or semi-double camellia flowers and cut them at the base of the stem.
- Fill a large pan with water and bring it to a boil before putting it on low heat.
- Add approximately 4.5 lbs of paraffin wax to a smaller pan and place it inside the larger pan.
- Melt the wax until the temperature reaches 150ºF (65ºC). Take it off the stove just before a crust starts to form.
- Hold the camellia flowers by the stem and carefully dip them into the melted wax. Ensure the petals are covered completely, and rotate the flower before removing it.
- Immediately submerge the flower into an ice bath. Each flower needs to be submerged in the ice bath for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, let the flower drain and let the wax solidify.
- Hang the flower upside down to let it dry completely. The waxed camellia flowers should last for several weeks.
Drying and Preserving Camellias FAQs
How Do You Dry Camellias?
You can dry camellia flowers either by air drying them or using silica gel. Silica gel is faster and helps preserve more of the flower’s color.
How Do You Preserve a Camellia?
You can preserve camellias using wax. Dip cut camellia flowers in melted paraffin wax before plunging them into an ice bath for 20 minutes. Then let them drain and hang them up to dry.
How Long Do Waxed Camellias Last?
Waxed camellia flowers last for several weeks. Preserving camellia flowers in wax is a beautiful and exciting way of displaying these wonderful flowers.
Camellia flowers can be dried using silica gel or air drying. Silica gel dries the blooms out faster and preserves more color. Camellia flowers can also be preserved in wax and last for several weeks. Dried camellia flowers can last for several months.
For more, see our in-depth guide on the meaning and symbolism of camellias and discover our favorite types of red, white, and pink camellia flowers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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