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Many people interested in preserving flowers might do so as a way to ensure that bouquet lasts for several days using a number of techniques. Flowers can also be preserved for longer periods to enjoy the look of dried flowers for many years. Regardless of how long the flowers are to be preserved, there are a number of steps to be followed to ensure success.
To be certain that a fresh bouquet lasts as long as possible in water, it is important to trim the ends of stems, usually at an angle, before placing them in a vase. Extraneous leaves and foliage should be removed from stems so that water from the vase reaches the blooms more easily, rather than being directed to the leaves. Vase water should be kept clean and should also be changed daily, and plant food can be added to the water as well to add nourishment to the flowers. All freshly cut flowers will eventually wilt and die, but those who wish to keep a bouquet longer may consider drying as a way to preserve them and maintain enjoyment.
Air drying is one way that this can be accomplished rather easily. Blooms are first separated into small bunches, the leaves are removed, and they are usually tied together with twine or string. These bunches are hung upside down in a cool, dry place, where they remain untouched for weeks to months until the flowers are completely dry. Another method of preserving flowers is the use of drying agents such as sand, corn meal, and silica gel. This method often involves preservation of the flower head only, which may be considered a drawback.
Preserving flowers by using a pressing method is another way many people choose to keep their bouquets. The blooms are placed between layers of unglazed paper or wax paper, one by one. A heavy object is then placed on top to flatten and press the flowers. The blooms dry as they sit between the paper for several weeks or even months.
Some individuals make use of a microwave as an alternative way of preserving flowers. In order to use this method, one needs silica gel, fresh flowers, and a microwave-safe container. Those who use this method of preservation believe this is the best way to ensure that the preserved flowers maintain their shape, color, and original beauty during the process, although the method has not been as widely tested.