Preserve a Perfect Rose in Your Garden
By Shirley Dattilo
Enjoy looking at that perfect rose in your garden for a few days or a few years, that is the question and the challenge. Preserving roses is most definitely one of the most exciting and gratifying ways to show off your exquisite flowers. Dried flower arrangements are a wonderful and easy way to preserve your flowers when fresh flowers are not available. Dried flower arrangements make memorable gifts for special friends and are a way of preserving special events such as birthdays, anniversaries or weddings. Historically there are many ways to preserve roses, however, this article will only present the method currently used with personal proven success. Simply collect the proper materials and follow the steps outlined below will result in successfully preserving your perfect rose.
Materials Needed For Drying Roses:
- Silica Gel – Flower Dri by Plantabbs
- 5 pound container
- Airtight container: Flower Dri container, Rubbermaid, Tupperware, Coffee can, Fruitcake tins, Etc
- 3 inch Scotch 3M Masking Tape
- Heavy Felt pen
- Small artist paint brushes
- Small Low Heat Glue Gun
- Tacky Glue. Tooth Picks
- Orange Stick. Cake pan for drying Silica Gel in Oven
- Small flexible plastic cup
- Pro-Seal 2000 by fleur-Chem, Inc, 1 quart
- Denatured Alcohol 1 quart
- Rubber Gloves
- Preval Power Unit Sprayer Advantage 200 LS Respirator
After all the materials are available, you are ready to begin:
Step 1. Select only the most perfect blooms, without any moisture on them. Any flaw in the bloom or leaf will be magnified by the drying process. Cover the bottom of the airtight container with 2 inches of Silica Gel. Cut the stems to no more than 2 inches. Place the flower face up in the Silica Gel with the stem down. Using a small cup – Carefully pour the Silica Gel over the flowers gently and slowly in a circular motion. The Silica Gel must be between each of the petals, do not compress the petals. The orange stick is used to keep the petals separated and upright. At least one inch of Silica Gel must be between flowers if drying more than one flower in the same container. Fill the container to the top and seal airtight with lid and Masking tape. Record the date on the container and the name of the flower. Do Not Disturb for at least 14 days for Standard roses. Mini Roses or Minifloras for 1 week.
Step 2. Remove the Silica Gel and flower by gently and slowly pouring into the oven pan. Hold the flower by the stem upside down and brush off Silica Gel gently. If a petal falls off, keep it and you can glue it on later.
Step 3. Place a bead of glue around the outer base of the calyx on the under side of the flower to attach any loose petals. This is done with the glue gun or tacky glue with toothpick. Place the rose stem into the oasis to dry for 24 hours.
Step 4. For best results apply in 70 + degrees F. with humidity 50% or less. Place Respirator facepiece 200 LS on face. Rubber gloves for hands. Place 2 ounces of Pro-Seal 2000 and 3 ounces of Denatured alcohol into the6 ounce Preval Spray Gun. Spray carefully to cover all surfaces of the flower with a thin coat. Place the stems into the oasis to dry at least 24 hours. May repeat after drying for a second coat.
Spray carefully to cover all surfaces of the flower with a thin coat. Place the stems into the oasis to dry at least 24 hours. May repeat after drying for a second coat. Pro-Seal 2000 Provides Flexibility, Durability, Softness, Shatter Resistance, Natural Matte Finish Resistant to water vapor, and Ultra violet light Step
5. Place the silica gel in the oven pan at 250 degrees F for 60 minutes to remove the moisture from the silica gel. The vivid blue cobalt crystals will show moisture has been removed. Let cool to room temperature before using on flowers and place in airtight container with lid sealed with masking tape until you are ready to dry a flower.
ALL FIVE STEPS ARE REQUIRED TO PRESERVE THE PERFECT ROSE.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRO-SEAL 2000 SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED BEFORE AN ARS ROSE SHOW.
WHEN YOU GET HOME, YOU CAN PROTECT IT FOR POSTERITY.
ROSES SUITABLE FOR DRYING: THE DEEPER THE COLOR, THE LONGER THE PRESERVED COLOR WILL LAST:
RED AND RED BLENDS: ‘VETERANS’ HONOR’,'OLYMPIAD’, ‘CHRISTIAN DIOR’,'ACEYDEUCY’,'MOUNTIE’,'HILDE’, ‘CHELSEA BELLE’,'BLACK JADE’,(VERY DARK) ‘COFFE BEAN’, ‘MISS FLIPPINS’.
PINK AND PINK BLENDS: ‘FAME’,'GEMINI’,'TIMELESS’,'HANNA GORDON’(RASBERRY ICE),’RINA HUGO’,'PRIMA DONNA’,'GIGGLES’,'ADAMS SMILE’,'VALERIE JEANNE’,'SHOW STOPPER’,'DORIS MORGAN’.
ORANGE AND ORANGE BLENDS: ‘KANEGEM’,'GINGERSNAP’,'MARDI GRAS’,'TROPICANA’,'IMPATIENT’,'FRAGRANT CLOUD’,'RIO SAMBA’,'HOT TAMALE’,'DENVER’S DREAM’,'PERRINE’,'COPPER SUNSET’,'STARINA’.
YELLOW AND YELLOW BLENDS: ‘JULIA CHILD’,'GOLD METAL’,HENRY FONDA’,'SUMMER SUNSHINE’, ‘SUNSPRITE’, MIDAS TOUCH’, ‘OREGOLD’,'BEES KNEES’,'RAINBOW’S END’,'RISE’n'SHINE’,'GLORY BE’,'BEHOLD’,'CAL POLY’.
APRICOT AND APRICOT BLENDS: ‘HONEY PERFUME’,'TAHITIAN SUNSET’,'MICHEL CHOLET’,'JEANNE KENNEALLY’, ‘AUTUMN SUNSET’,'JOYCIE’,'ANGEL’S BLUSH’,'APRICOT TWIST’,”AMBER SUNBLAZE’,'HOLY TOLEDO’.
PURPLE AND MAUVE: ‘BARBRA STREISAND’,'FRAGRANT PLUM’,'EBB TIDE’,'DISTANT DRUMS’,'WILD BLUE YONDER’, ‘WINSOME’,'VISTA’,'DR JOHN DICKMAN’,'LAVENDER JEWEL’.
RUSSETS: ‘HOT COCOA’,'COPPER SUNSET’,'TEDDY BEAR’.
FUN TO DRY: ‘FOURTH OF JULY’,'PURPLE TIGER’,HURDY GURDY’,'NEON COWBOY’,'FANCY PANTS’,'GIZMO’.
PROTECTING THE PERFECT ROSE TO LAST:
Step 1. Dried flower arrangements should not be exposed to direct sunlight or placed under a table lamp. Low light areas in the room are best locations for long term protection.
Step 2. Dried flower arrangements are best protected in a glass box or dome.
FINALLY, perhaps at the beginning of this study, my goal was to preserve the roses to look so lifelike, you would almost have to touch them to know they were preserved. Roses in an open air vase or arrangement, will last several years. In a closed glass box or frame, the roses will last indefinitely. The ProSeal 2000 has proven to be a definite improvement for protecting the color and hopefully it will last for many years. The flexibility helps to make the arranging easier. Good luck and enjoy that perfect rose!
P.O. Box 165
Hunt Valley MD 21030
Fax: (410) 780-5496
(Available in 5# tubs. I would not try to start with less than 5 #)
1515 W. Deer Valley Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
Fax: (623) 977-5577
Preval Sprayer (60z) Professional Portable Sprayer
Available at ACE Hardware
Photos by: Collette Morton – Rose Society of Denver
Judy Singer – Rose Society of Tucson
Shirley Dattilo – Rose Society of Tucson
References: “Through the Years – The Preservation of Roses” Revised Edition, January 2001, Shirley Dattilo
“The Decorative Art of Dried Flower Arrangement” Georgia S. Vance, 1972
Excerpts from “Blast Furnace Rose Gardening” Rose Society of Tucson, 1987
“Harvesting, Preserving and Arranging Dried Flowers” Cathy Miller, 1997
The following pictures are from National, District, and local shows over the years. Some are blue ribbon winners and others are just beautiful!
THE DEEPER THE COLOR TO BEGIN WITH,THE LONGER THE COLOR WILL LAST
Choose the most perfect blooms. Any flaw in the blooms will be magnified by the drying process.