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Drying Your Roses

February 21, 2009

Once you have grown your own beautiful roses, you may not want them gone when the season is over. You may wish to see your beautiful roses again and again throughout the winter. You might also use your roses during a special occasion that you want to remember forever. One of the reasons that roses have been so popular over the centuries, besides their timeless beauty and fragrant smell, is that they can be dried and kept as a reminder of those occasions. There are two main methods for drying roses- using air to dry them and using sand. Both are useful, inexpensive methods that can be done by just about anyone, and both are effective.

To air dry your roses, first make sure that they are cut correctly. Choose a rose that is healthy and in the best condition. An unhealthy rose will not survive the drying process well. Use your pruners to cut the stem away from your rose. This should be done as close to the bloom as possible. Next, a wire should be put through the head of the rose. The wire you use should be at least seven inches in length. Tie the end of this wire and tie it to a clothes hanger. The rose should be in an upside-down position.

Hang the hanger in a dark area and leave it to air dry on its own. Keep doing this until all of the roses that you want to dry are hanging in the dark. Make sure that this dark area isn’t too humid or the roses may not dry properly. Leave the roses in the dark for at least two weeks. It may take as long as three weeks for the roses to dry thoroughly, but the results will be spectacular.

A different drying method uses a string instead of a wire. A few inches of the slower stem is left on the rose, and all of the leaves are removed from it. Then, affix a string to the bottom of the stem. Tie the stem to the hanger, leaving the rose hanging on the hanger upside down. Put the roses in a dry, dark area for a few weeks just as you would with the wire method.

The other main method is sand drying. This method is harder to accomplish, but the results are generally regarded as superior to the air drying method. To use this method, cut the rose when it is at its peak performance and cut away most of the stem. About an inch of the stem is left attached to the rose. As with the air-drying method, you will need a wire to complete the process. But unlike that method, the wire is not put directly through the rose head. It is put into the bottom of the stem and threaded up through the head of the rose.

Have a box of sand ready for the rose once the wire threading is completed. Only clean, white sand will be effective for this method. Stand the rose’s stem into the sand and cover the entire rose with the sand. This should be done delicately in order to avoid crushing the rose or breaking off any of its petals. If the box of sand is large enough, it will hold several roses for drying. If done correctly, the sand will hold the rose’s shape and it will draw the moisture out of it completely. The box of sand should be kept somewhere where it will not be disturbed.

Leave the roses in the sand to dry for a couple of weeks and then gently remove them from the sand. Removing the sand can be difficult and painstaking, and it is possible to shatter the flower during this time. Though this process is more difficult than air drying, it usually results in a much more impressive end result.

There are also products on the market that will dry out a rose. However, they are more expensive methods and they can be complicated to implement. Another inexpensive method is to press a rose in between the pages of a large, heavy book and allowing it to dry this way. This method has been used for centuries in order to produce dry, pressed flowers. This pressing method, however, can take far longer in order for the flower to dry. It will also not keep the shape of the rose intact.

Dried roses can be arranged in a bowl or vase and used in home decorating. They can also be taken apart and the petals used for potpourri. Some people also enjoy using them in artwork. If you want to save roses or use them in decorating but have trouble with any of the drying methods- keep practicing. There is an art to drying roses just as there is an art to growing them.

This post is a part of 17 posts about Rose Gardening. If you want to start at the beginning you can click on Caring for Roses

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