Drying and Preserving Roses

Do you want a memory of a special event? A beautiful accent for a room in your home? Then a dried rose bouquet is your answer. Did you know that you can preserve a single rose bloom or the entire rose bouquet? Using the correct drying method, you can remove the moisture in your rose to help retain its beauty. Some properly dried flowers, like roses, can last for a year or more in a wreath or floral arrangement. Roses can be air dried, desiccant dried, or pressed to treasure your keepsake for years to come. 


Collecting Roses

When choosing roses to preserve, fresh roses are the best. Flowers that have just begun to open are the most durable and attractive. Blooms that have fully opened are likely to drop their petals once dried. It is best to harvest the roses early in the morning when there is no moisture on the petals. Avoid roses that have discolored or wilted petals. Once the roses have been chosen, strip the foliage from the stems and your rose will be ready to dry. 


Air Drying

The most common way to dry roses at home is air drying. Air drying is as simple as hanging the rose bouquet upside down in a well ventilated area for a week. Flower stems are bundled together with a rubber band or string. As the flower dries, the colors will fade and sometimes turn a brownish color. The petals will become papery and brittle with the stems drying out as well.

The nice thing about air drying is that the entire shape of the flower remains intact. It may take up to three weeks for the roses to dry completely. Be sure the bouquet completely dries out or else you will end up with a moldy mess. Air dried roses are used for potpourri, perfumes, arrangements, and in bath water. 

Desiccant Drying

Another option is to use a desiccant, such as silica gel to dry out roses. This sandy textured product absorbs moisture from the flower and dries it faster with better color retention. More costly than air drying, this process takes a few more steps as well. The entire stem will need to be removed from each flower.

Place the flowers face up in a container. Each flower will need to be completely covered with the desiccant sandy crystals. Allow the flowers to dry for a week. Carefully pour off the desiccant and discard. This method is a lot faster than air drying, maintains the shape of the bloom, and preserves the color better. Desiccant dried roses are used for wreaths or dried arrangements. 


The pressing process works well for smaller, single-flower varieties or wild roses. This old fashioned way flattens the rose. Remove the stem from each flower. Open a large book to the center and line the pages with waxed paper, newspaper or blotting paper. Place a single bud close to the middle of the page and close the book. Stack heavy items on top of the book such as other books and leave the stack undisturbed for a week.

The paper will absorb moisture from the flower petals. Complete drying may take 4-5 weeks. Pressed flowers are often used for card making, framed floral pictures, or scrapbooking.


Dry Rose Care Tips

When storing preserved roses, place them in a box or a sealed container with tissue paper around the flowers and follow these tips.

  • Keep out of direct sunlight
  • Avoid rooms with high humidity
  • Spray compressed air onto flowers to remove dust
  • Clean with a hairdryer (no heat)
  • Clean with a feather duster
  • Do not store dried flowers in plastic bags
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Author Chris Link - Published 05-28-2021