preserving flowers and leaves

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Thu Jun 27 13:23:27 EST 1996

>> Dear plant-edders,
>>   I have just been asked how to preserve leaves ith their colors, and it
>> occurred to me it would also be very useful to me to preserve summer
>> flowers with their shapes and colors to use for teaching off-season.  I
>> know about the method where the flowers are put in a bed of sand and all
>> the air spaces filled with sand.  These are then baked to dry them.  But,
>> how long and at what temperature?  Do these then keep in ambient
>> conditions, or must they be sealed so they cannot absorb moisture on damp
>> days?  Will this method work just as well with leaves?
>>   Thanks for any help.
>> Janice
>> ***********************************
>>  Janice M. Glime, Professor
>>  Department of Biological Sciences
>>  Michigan Technological University
>>  Houghton, MI 49931-1295
>>  jmglime at
>>  906-487-2546
>>  FAX 906-487-3167
>> ***********************************

You might like to consult Foster, Laura Louise.  1970.  Keeping the Plants
You Pick.  NY:  Thomas Y. Crowell Co.  There will be many similar books at
your school or public library, bookstore, or local botanical garden.

Foster describes several methods of drying flowers with dessicants:  1)
with a mixture of white cornmeal (5 cups) and powdered borax (1 cup), 2)
perlite, and 3) silica gel.  Her instructions, very detailed and well
illustrated, include the container preparation, re-drying the dessicant,
placing the flowers in the dessicant, etc.

Maintaining color is a problem.  Flowers must be picked fresh, at the peak
of their quality and dried quickly.  After drying they must be stored in a
dark, dry place.  When displayed, they should be kept out of strong
sunlight... light is the worst enemy of the pigments.  Some people like to
spray the dried flowers with a clear plastic "fixative" you can purchase in
craft stores.  This helps to prevent fading.

Good luck!

Dr. David W. Kramer
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

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