Ways to Dry Roses, Methods to Preserve Roses Forever

A rose is associated with memories you don’t want to forget, which is why people around the world have been drying roses for quite some time and it is not a new practice. And over that time people have come up with many ways to dry roses.

I’m going to explore all the known ways, and the simple methods, as well as some tips on drying roses in this article.

Roses can be dried in different methods at home: in the microwave, with a desiccant, by air, or even with a book. There is also a freeze-drying procedure, however, this cannot be done at home because a regular freezer would not be enough.

Let’s get into more details.

Ways to dry roses – How it came about

Most flower arrangements were created with dried flowers in Victorian times. Since residences were heated with open fires, which drastically reduced the flower life.

Fresh flowers stole the limelight after more effective heating systems were built, but dried flowers still have many applications throughout the house, and there are ways to dry roses and other flowers so they last a lifetime.

As a rose grower, you can take advantage of the abundance that roses give us in terms of petals and benefit from them well beyond their beauty on the rose bush.

ways to dry roses

How to get your roses ready for drying

Dried roses are delicate and completely bloomed roses may lose their petals after drying.

You’ll need to find roses that haven’t started to disintegrate and whose petals haven’t started falling off for the best results.

So pick those that are approaching, but haven’t reached the end of their blooming period.

Avoid exposing roses to sunlight throughout the drying process to help them preserve their color.

If you’re picking roses from the garden …rather than from a florist, try to gather them mid-morning when the petals are dry from any morning dew or rose watering sessions.

You don’t want any discoloration or rotting during the drying process, so choose only healthy roses.

When preserving roses with stems, all leaves must be removed because they do not dry well.  The stems should then be clipped to the required length, which should not be less than six inches.

Drying roses – Common methods

Here we’ll go through a number of ways to dry roses, starting with the traditional method of air-drying roses.

Air drying

The most frequent method is air drying, which requires nothing but flowers. For newly bloomed rosebuds that retain their shape, air drying is an ideal option.

  1. Cut stems to around 12 inches in length
  2. Remove all leaves from the stems
  3. Tie the stems of the roses together near the base
  4. Hang them laundry style with the blooms facing the ground. Make sure there is no water trapped between the petals before hanging the flowers.
  5. Dry your flowers in a warm, dark, dry location with sufficient airflow for the best results.
  6. Allow 2 to 3 weeks for them to dry.
  7. Remove the roses from the string and spray them using a colorless/lacquer or hairspray to protect them.
dried rose

How to dry mini roses

If you’re drying mini roses, place your rose in a vase and leave it to dry. Just remember to empty the vase of any water or moisture that might build up.

This process won’t take as long as the previous method. Spray the rose with lacquer as a finishing touch.

Can you dry a rose in the microwave?

Yes, the microwave method is most suitable for flower heads or roses with a short stem. Place your rose on greaseproof paper and heat on the lowest setting in the microwave. You must manually check the roses every 30 to 40 seconds because the aim is not to cook them.

Desiccant is sometimes recommended for microwave drying since it stops petals from deforming.

Desiccant drying – Using silica gel to preserve roses

Use silica gel if you want your flowers to look more natural. This gel, or crystals, is specifically for drying flowers. The special gel can be purchased here on Amazon, or in craft stores.

It’s best used with the more robust roses you have, and this method is also the most optimal for completely bloomed roses.

Place your rose in a big, airtight container and bury them in silica gel. When applying the gel, be sure to gently cover them so every part of the rose is hidden.

Close the container tightly and gently uncover the preserved roses 4 to 7 days later.

If you don’t want to wait, place your rose-filled container open in the microwave. If you want to keep a bouquet alive, you’ll need a lot of silica gel.

Let’s look at a couple more ways to dry roses…

dried rose petals

Can you dry a rose in a book?

Yes, this is known as the pressing method…

  1. Line the pages of a thick book with wax paper.
  2. Place the flowers facing down on the wax paper pages so they don’t overlap.
  3. Apply some pressure on the book and close it.
  4. Allow 10 days or up to a month to pass.
  5. Gently remove it from the book.
  6. Spray with hairspray or lacquer to preserve and prevent them from disintegrating. 
  7. Use your pressed flowers to make stationery, bookmarks, or fill a picture frame for attractive wall art once there is no moisture left and the flowers have a papery texture.

How to dry white rose petals without them turning brown

Dried roses do change somewhat in their color and texture, but for white petals, the drying process can suck out their brilliant white color.

To help white roses preserve their color when drying, follow these steps:

  1. Pick up some new roses. Look for fresh roses with blooms that aren’t entirely open when cutting or purchasing roses. The fresher and more vibrant they are, the better their color will stay after drying.
  2. Place your roses in a dark area to dry. Air drying, as discussed above, is a good method to prevent them from losing too much color.
  3. The color of your white rose is also more likely to fade if the place where you dry it is too warm. Keep the rose away from heat sources like fireplaces, space heaters, and other warm spots in the house.
dried white roses can turn brown
dried white roses can turn brown

How to fix a dried rose?

If your roses are looking decidedly drab, or misshapen after drying, it’s worth trying to bring them back to their former glory.

You might try steaming your roses if they didn’t turn out as intended and you want to improve their appearance.

However, you do need to be careful as it’s easy to damage dried roses.

To begin, place your rose directly over the steam from the kettle for a few seconds, or until the outer petals begin to react.

Gently adjust the petals of the rose after removing it from the steam. If necessary, repeat the procedure.

dried roses in vase
dried roses in a vase

Ways to dry roses – Rose drying tips

Here are some helpful hints and tips when drying roses.

🌹 Be fussy about the roses you choose – keep an eye out for signs of degradation. The more healthy your roses are when plucked, the more likely they are to make great dried flowers.

🌹 Trim any unwanted parts – remove any leaves or petals that don’t seem to be sitting right, bent, split, or seem unnatural in appearance. Unless of course, that is the look you’re going for.

🌹 Remove any extra moisture – to ensure that the roses dry evenly, gently soak up any excess water on the petals with a cotton ball or paper towel.

🌹 Spray roses with hairspray – you may help seal in color and prevent the rose from losing too much of its shape by spraying them with hairspray, which adds extra firmness to the rose petals. 

🌹 Apply glue to the stem – glue can be used to strengthen the attachment between the petals and the stem. Dab some regular craft glue on the bottom of the rose and the stem after sprinkling it with water. 

Ways to dry roses ~ More roses help! 🌹

Of course, in order to dry roses, you first need to have roses. And growing your own roses and then drying them gives you a wonderful feeling of satisfaction.

So try growing roses in your own garden. Then return here to look at the ways to dry roses afterward. Check out my other articles, and also take a look at my tools and resources page to grow great roses.

michael - rosehow

Hi, I’m Michael. My passion for roses was sparked a few years ago after visiting a dedicated community rose garden. So Rosehow.com represents my take, my learnings, and my help for anyone looking to grow, be proud of, and harvest roses.