The ultimate guide to flower preservation techniques

The ultimate guide to flower preservation techniques

The preservation of flowers and plants is a French innovative process that has been around for more than 50 years. We can consider that each family of plants has its own dedicated preservation methods. Several of them are used nowadays because each plant behaves differently, which explains that there are one or more suitable methods per plant. Discover them all in this blog post.

What’s the difference between preserved and stabilized plants?

The main difference between preservation and stabilization is that the process of stabilization is carried out on freshly-cut flowers and plants. On the other hand, preservation techniques are made with dried flowers and plants. This will be explained throughout this article. To ensure standardization, we use the term “preserved plants” for both techniques. However, it is important that you, as a professional, know the difference in order to answer your customers' questions and use your knowledge as a selling point.

First, let’s talk about preservation techniques.

Preservation by immersion, carried out on dried flowers.

The process consists primarily of rehydrating a dried plant in a bath of glycerine, water, and food coloring. The solution must be heated to a minimum of 104 °F (ca. 40 °C) before soaking the plant, this is one of the secrets to the success of this technique. This process allows the glycerin, which by essence fixes all water molecules, to easily penetrate the plant thanks to finer particles and to maintain the hydration inside the plant. Once the bath is completed, the plant is cleaned and dried. This technique is cheaper and less risky, but remains much less reliable over time.
Read all about it in this article.

Spraying preservation, for the plants which avoid taking baths.

This process was created for forest mosses such as mosses that don't abide by the immersion technique. This process consists of spraying the top of the dried plant with a glycerin-and-colorant-based solution heated to 104 °F, not immersing them completely in order to rehydrate it on the surface. Once sprayed, they are only dried, which shortens the whole process. This technique helps to keep the plants to remain flexible, so it’s perfect for all plants whose future is to be glued on a plant wall.
Read all about it in this article.

Secondly, stabilization processes are known to be more reliable.

Capillarity stabilization, the most advanced stabilization technique.

In a room with constant temperature (around 75 °F -ca. 24 °C) and controlled humidity, the plants are let to soak through the stems and flower heads in 2 inches of stabilization solution made of glycerine, water, and food colorants. By capillarity, the substitution liquid spreads in the plant through the stems, but also in the leaves. After a few days, the plant is saturated and ready to be sold to you. This technique works beautifully on eucalyptus, cypresses, forest foliage, hydrangea, amaranth, and many others, but less on flowers with thin petals for whom we use the stabilization by double immersion.
Read all about it in this article.

Stabilization by double immersion, the most used process for flowers.

As the name suggests, this technique uses 2 important steps. First, the flowers are immersed in a pure alcohol solution for 24 hours in order to dehydrate them while keeping their shape. At this very moment, the flower lost all of its colors. Then the second bath solution is made of alcohol, propylene glycol, glycerin, and food coloring – all natural components that you can find in make-up for instance – in order to rehydrate the flowers and give them the color we want. That is the reason why this technique is carried out on flower heads only because who would want a red rose with red stems?
Read all about it in this article.

The freeze-drying technique, from pharmaceutical use for floral design purposes.

It is the most natural technique because it does require no to little chemicals, and it bestows a result similar to its fresh version. However, this process takes around 14 days. The plants are put into a machine, often made of aluminum or stainless steel, that freezes the fresh plant between -4 and -112° Fahrenheit. A vacuum pump then extracts all the water from it that went from a gaseous to a solid state and now forms crystals. Last, we have to start the deicing process. The freeze-drying technique can be used on over 90 varieties, but should be avoided on flowers with thin petals, as the process could destroy them.
Read all about it in this article.

Mixed and future techniques to preserve plants.

Preserved plant producers dedicate a lot of their time and energy to develop new and mixed techniques to always give the best quality achievable to their customers. Certain varieties of flowers, such as orchids, are unique and require a careful combination of techniques to obtain the best result. The works also help to deepen our knowledge on preservation. We now know the reactions of plants when the solution is at a different temperature, the level of absorption of different shades…

SecondFlor carries out extensive tests on the products' quality, so that only the best is offered to you, and you can take full benefit of the preserved plants and flowers for your business.