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What’s the difference between dried and preserved flowers?

by D Y 02 Aug 2022

Dried flowers or preserved flowers – which is the right flower for me? All you need to know about this popular floral resurgence.

Dried and preserved flowers have seen a resurgence in recent years, just take a look at Pinterest or Instagram, these social media platforms are filled with stunning forever flower arrangements at weddings and in people’s homes. Trends come and go, but the popularity of this sustainable flower option doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Unlike fresh blooms, that have a very short life span and require ongoing care, dried and preserved flowers need very little care and can last years in the right conditions.  

But are you wondering what the difference is between dried and preserved flowers? This is a question we get asked often. Although dried flowers have a shelf life similar to that of preserved flowers, they have very different appearance and undergo a completely different process to achieve the end result.

Dried Flowers

Once fresh flowers, dried flowers are a wonderful sustainable floral option. Essentially dried flowers are dehydrated, ridding them of their natural moisture. This is achieved through a variety of methods and some flower and foliage varieties are much easier to dry than others. Traditionally and most commonly, drying can be achieved by air drying – hanging flowers upside-down in a cool dry and dark place for an extended period of time. Stems are spread out to ensure they dry out evenly.

Once fully dried, the flowers appearance becomes duller as a result of the dehydration process. The foliage and petals become brittle, often shrinking and wrinkling, and colours will continue to fade as they age through natural processing. You are often left with beautiful earthy tones. Dried flowers are delicate but with gentle handling and avoiding direct sunlight and humidity, they can last years.

Preserved Flowers

Preserving flowers is a scientific method to prolong the life of fresh flowers. Flowers undergo a special process whereby a special gel (glycerine solution) mixture is used to replace their sap.

As a result of this process, preserved flowers retain their natural appearance and touch. They are much softer to touch and more flexible in comparison to dried flowers. Preserved flowers can be sensitive to heat, humidity and sunlight, however with minimal care, preserved flowers have a prolonged shelf life and can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years (or even longer in a sealed container).

Both dried and preserved flowers are equally beautiful to us. They are a wonderful sustainable flower option. We utilise both types in our bouquets and flower arrangements, either mixed together or on their own. We love the earthy tones of dried blooms and when it comes to preserved, we particularly love bleached preserved foliage and flowers including hydrangeas, ferns and ruscus.

We hope you have found this article insightful, but if you have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The SHELOVE Team (Melbourne's Premier Flower Design Studio)

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