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Holiday Decorating: Preserve Flowers with Silica Gel

For long-lasting holiday floral arrangements, use flowers that you've preserved with silica gel. Preserved flowers make inexpensive holiday decorations. With silica gel, most flowers in full bloom can be preserved in about five days; they also dry close to their original color.

To preserve flowers in silica gel, you need

  • Plastic airtight container

  • Silica gel (It's not really a gel; it looks more like white sand.)

  • Flowers

  • Floral wire

  • Floral foam

  • Scissors

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Packing tape

To dry flowers with silica gel, use the following directions:

  1. Cut a piece of floral foam the same size as the inside of your container. Cover the bottom of your container with a very thin layer of silica gel crystals and then place the floral foam on top of the crystals.

    Silica gel (which can be found at craft stores and some garden centers) is the quickest method for preserving flowers.

  2. Cut flower stems and remove all leaves. Insert the stems into floral foam.

    Make sure that the flowers do not touch each other.

  3. Cover the flowers completely with silica gel and then close the container. Make sure that the container is airtight by taping the edges shut.

    If your container isn’t airtight, the silica gel will absorb moisture from the air instead of from the flowers, and your flowers will not dry properly.

  4. Check on the flowers every few days.

    The flowers are dry when their petals feel papery to the touch. Remove the silica gel and then gently remove the flowers from the floral foam. Gently brush the remaining silica gel from the petals with an artist brush (or just blow it off).

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