How do you keep your flowers without spoiling them?

When we are given flowers or when we buy them, they fill our house with color and joy. They help to raise the positive energy from wherever they are. If you are also a floral designer, you know the feeling of entering your atelier and contemplating with your eyes wide open the beauty of the flowers you have prepared on the table to design, for example, a bouquet with which you will surely make someone happy. 

If you are getting married, think about the illusion of being able to keep your bouquet or wreath as a souvenir. Or when a loved one dies, we keep some of the flowers we left on their grave, to keep them with love. Life is full of flowers, thank goodness.

So today I want to take the opportunity to explain to you my experience on how you can keep flowers without spoiling them, especially those you are particularly fond of.

How to preserve the color of the flowers

To start with, if you want to keep the color of the flowers for a long time, I recommend you to put them in a place with little sunlight, especially direct sunlight.

“The sun burns with the same light as it heats,” our grandmothers say. 

Flowers lose their color when the chemicals that give them color break down in a chemical process called “oxidation. And anything exposed to the air, of course, is also surrounded by oxygen. On the other hand, the color of objects is related to the part of the light (radiation) that our eyes are able to see, while all the other radiation hitting an object is absorbed by it (that’s why a black object will get hotter than a white one, because black objects absorb more radiation). The more radiation energy absorbed by an object, the more damage it will cause to it. I speak of “higher frequency” (or lower wavelength) so visible light as such is not what causes this photodegradation. Ultraviolet rays are the ones that help break the chemical coloring bonds depending on the type of fiber, additives, dyes, and external factors such as temperature, humidity and duration of exposure. Thus, sunbeams rays destroy the colors, because they favor this chemical alteration that we know as oxidation. 

How to wrap flowers to preserve them

As a material to wrap the flowers in, you can use plastic bags as long as they are open at both ends, to prevent moisture from condensing. We are talking about those plastic bags in which the flowers are already wrapped when, for example, you buy them at the flower market; especially when the flowers have hard and rigid stems. I am not in favor of using plastic, but if we get it from suppliers, at least reuse it as much as possible and recycle it properly when it is no longer useful.

Photo by Mariana Castro
Photo by Mariana Castro in Ritaflowers’ atelier

However, those flowers that are more flexible (because they still contain water residues in their fibers or some preservative, for example, as is the case of preserved hydrangeas), I recommend you keep them in paper bags. In addition, paper helps the flowers not to get so much light, which is a double benefit. 

Dust is another element that can damage your flowers, it not only affects their colors but also their texture. I recommend that if you keep your flowers on a shelf, you close it as if it were a closet. But instead of putting doors, use some kind of fabric curtain. This way you avoid not only the accumulation of dust but also possible humidity.

How to order flowers to design with them

If you are just starting to make your way in the world of floral design, I recommend you to order the flowers according to the way they have been preserved. For example, all the preserved flowers together, all the freeze-dried ones together, all the dried ones together, all the wild flowers together, etc…And then, within each group, order them by flower shape. For example, in the atelier I have grouped all the hydrangeas in the same place, all the glixias in another place, all the roses in another place… And, if you can also sort them by color within each group, even better. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will help you enormously later when you start designing, because it will be much easier for you to visualize the material you have, the possibilities of combining colors and the size of your final design. It’s useful for me, I hope for you too.


El proceso creativo en el diseño floral. Foto Mariana Castro
El proceso creativo en el diseño floral. Foto Mariana Castro

Do you have to lacquer the flowers to preserve them? 

Finally, we will ask the one million dollar question: Should you lacquer the dried flowers to preserve them or not? It is true that this is a widely held opinion. Lacquer may help a little, but it does not work miracles. In my opinion it should be used in small quantities and at a reasonable distance. A lot of lacquer can damage the flower’s tissues, besides making them sticky.

These simple tips will help you preserve your flowers and evoke fond memories in a very special way. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to preserve them for this purpose.

And now that you know more about how to preserve your flowers, would you like to improve your floral design technique? Contact me and we’ll talk!


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