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How to Preserve a Rose Flower

Glycerin helps dried roses maintain their color and texture.
bouton de rose rose image by Jean-Michel POUGET from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Freshly cut roses
  • Glycerin
  • Hammer
  • Disposable container, such as an old milk carton


Putting rose stems in a solution of salt water overnight before putting them in a glycerin solution may help them absorb glycerin faster, according to Clemson University.


  • If the rose stem is over 18 inches long, the glycerin may not be able to travel all the way up the rose stem and reach the flower before the flower wilts. Trim the stem to 18 inches or shorter before placing the rose in a glycerin solution.

Preserved roses make beautiful and long-lasting flower arrangements. Preserving roses with glycerin helps them maintain more of their color, shape and texture than normal dried roses have. The roses absorb glycerin, which allows them to dry out while maintaining their texture instead of wilting or shriveling. With a few simple steps and supplies just about anyone can preserve a rose flower.

How to Preserve a Rose Flower

Cut a mature rose flower in the morning just before it fully opens, as recommended by the University of Vermont. Cut the rose stem four to six inches longer than the desired stem length of the final preserved flower. Fully opened flowers are more likely to lose some petals and some of their shape during the preserving process. Use the flowers right away, because flower preservation with glycerin works best with non-wilted flowers, according to North Dakota State University.

Hammer the ends of the rose stems. The University of Maryland explains that smashing the lower four to six inches of the stems helps the plant absorb glycerin.

Make a mixture of warm water and glycerin. Use a ratio of two parts warm water to one part glycerin, as recommended by Clemson University and the University of Maryland. Prepare the mixture by heating the glycerin and water at a low temperature on the stove and stirring it until the glycerin dissolves.

Pour the glycerin mixture into a disposable container, such as a milk carton with the top cut off.

Place the flower stem in the glycerin solution. Clemson University suggests putting the flower stem in about six inches of the glycerin solution. As the flower absorbs the solution, add more. It may take two to six weeks for the glycerin to travel up the rose stem and reach the flower. As glycerin travels up the stem, it will turn slightly brownish but will not totally dry out. The rose should mostly maintain its color but may darken slightly and have a more waxy texture.

Hang the rose upside down when it is finished soaking in the glycerin. Gravity will help even more glycerin travel to the ends of the flower petals, which prevents them from wilting or curling downward.

Trim off the smashed end of the flower stem.

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