There isn’t a flower with more sentimental value than a rose making roses the perfect gift for a loved one. Each rose color represents a different meaning and with red roses symbolizing love and romance, no wonder they are the popular choice for special occasions. Often it’s hard to let such a warm gesture go leaving happy rose recipients looking for ways to preserve their beautiful meaningful blooms for years to come. Whether it be the beautiful roses you received for your birthday or the gorgeous white roses that were part of your wedding bouquet there are a few simple ways to preserve them as a memory of your special occasion. Read on in this how to keep roses alive forever (including 5 ideas for what you can do with them) post to learn 4 ways to preserve them and then 5 ideas for how to display your special roses.

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About Preserving Roses

There are several DIY methods for drying or preserving roses that you can try at home. Each preservation process involves removing the moisture from the rose so it becomes dry. Some methods preserve the color and shape of the roses better than others while some simply press the rose to have as a keepsake. Below I’m sharing 4 different methods for preserving roses.

Method 1: Hang Drying Roses

Perhaps the easiest method is to hang dry your fresh roses. This process moves at a slower rate as it could take a couple of weeks for them to dry out. One of the benefits of this method is that you can keep the stems on and cut the roses to your desired length. Here are the steps for using this method:


Steps for Hang Drying Roses:

  1. Remove most or all of the leaves and cut the stems to your desired length.
  2. Bundle the roses in your hand and fan the heads out. Secure the bottom of the stems together using string, ribbon, twine, or a rubber band.
  3. Hang the roses upside down on a hook or a clothes hanger in a dark room that is dry and well-ventilated. Let them hang for two to three weeks to make sure they are completely dry. Larger roses will take longer than smaller varieties.

Tip: Once the roses are completely dry handle them with care as they will be fragile. I recommend spraying your dry roses with aerosol hair spray which helps to hold the delicate heads together.

Gold tone garden roses hung in a bunch to dry.

Method 2: Drying Roses in Silica Crystals

Another method for preserving roses is to use Silica crystals (often referred to as Silica gel). Silica, also known as silicon dioxide is a mineral harvested from open pit mines. These crystals are often used to remove moisture from packages and boxes, even cat litter contains Silica. You can buy specially formulated silica for drying flowers. Here’s how to use this product:


Steps for Drying Roses with Silica:

  1. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask and gloves when working with silica.
  2. Trim the stems off of your roses leaving just the rose heads.
  3. Ensure your container is dry and clean. Place 1-2″ inches of silica gel (silica sand) on the bottom of the container then place the flower heads face up on top of the gel. Sprinkle more crystals on top of the blooms stopping a few times to shake the box to help get the crystals in between the petals. Then cover the blooms completely with the Silica crystals.
  4. Seal the box with a cover and put it aside. Typically it will take 3-7 days for your flowers to dry.
  5. Remove the flowers from the silica crystals and decorate.

Tip: Almost all flowers and greens are dryable using the silica gel method.

Method 3: Drying Roses in a Book

Drying roses in a book is perhaps the most common way to dry roses. This process will result in pressed flowers (ie flattened flowers). This method is a good one if you plan to make a shadow box design or if you just want to keep a rose as a remembrance but don’t plan on displaying it. The process is simple:


  • Large sturdy book
  • Newspaper, wax paper, or parchment paper
  • Heavy items (to stack on top during drying time)
  • Floral design knife or scissors

Steps to Pressing Roses in a Book:

  1. Cut the rose stem to the length of the book or shorter. (you want to make sure the entire stem will be covered by the book pages)
  2. Place the newspaper or parchment paper in between two pages of a heavy book.
  3. Lay the rose on its side and arrange the leaves and petals in the shape you want the pressed flower to be. Close the book.
  4. Add weight to the top of the book, something heavy enough to create even pressure. (I used a stack of heavy books)
  5. Wait 2-4 weeks for the rose to dry.

Tip: You can also press roses in a flower press like this one.

a rose pressed in between book pages.

Method 4: Drying Roses in your Microwave Oven

Yup! You can even dry roses in your microwave. This less common method is quick but will result in a rose that appears deflated and flattened. A great method if you are in a pinch!


Steps for Drying Roses in the Microwave:

  1. Cover a microwave-safe plate with paper towels or use a paper plate.
  2. Cut a single rose to fit on the plate, place it on the covered plate (or paper plate), and place it in the microwave.
  3. Microwave for 30-40 seconds at a time, checking each time for crispness.

Tip: You can also preserve flowers in the microwave using Silica crystals.

Frequently Asked Questions about Preserving Roses

Once I dry my roses, will they still be fragrant?

Unfortunately, the fragrance of a rose is lost when moisture leaves the rose. Initially, they may maintain a hint of fragrance which will fade over time.

How long will preserved roses last?

Preserved roses typically last a year or two depending on certain environmental factors. However, if left untouched they can last for years. Be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight and away from moisture for a longer-lasting rose.

Which drying method is best for preserving the color of the roses?

Drying or preserving roses in silica crystals seems to be the best method for preserving the original color of the rose. Hang drying is the method that will result in the most color loss of your roses.

big bouquet of O'hara and Juliet roses on my coffee table. This bouquet sits on a wicker tray and is paired with a white book and white candle.

5 Ideas for what you can do with your Preserved Roses

Now that you have preserved your roses it’s time to create something unique with them! Below I’m sharing 5 different ways to display your dried roses to enjoy for years to come.

1. Tied Nosegay

Perhaps the easiest way to display your dried roses is to collect them into a small bundle and tie them with a beautiful ribbon. This dried flower bouquet can be placed on a mantel or a shelf as a beautiful display. The roses in this design were dried using Method 4 – the Microwave method.

a nosegay of dried roses tied with a velvet bow.

2. Frame Wreath

One of my favorite wreaths to make is made on a vintage picture frame. This picture frame wreath below was made using dried roses that I preserved using Method 1 – Hang drying. I combined dry roses with dried flowers and faux flowers to create this look. With my hot glue gun, I clustered the blooms to two of the corners and hung the wreath with a ribbon.

3. Potpourri

Add your roses or rose petals to your favorite dried flower potpourri. Use any drying method mentioned above and mix the blooms with a mixture of dried flowers and place them in a jar. Add your favorite essential oil scent (8-10 drops) and cover for 7 days so the scent fragrance permeates the flowers. You can then transfer the potpourri to sachets or a decorative dish.

4. Shadow Box

Designing your own dried rose shadow box is easy with this premade shadow box from Amazon. For this design, I used the roses and the greens that I had dried using method 3 – Silica crystals. In addition to the 3 large dried roses and the 5 miniature dried spray roses, I used dried red plum and white faux cherry blossoms. Using my hot glue gun I started by clustering the large roses in the center. Then I added the leaves. Next the small roses then I filled in with dried plum and cherry blossoms to finish this unique dried flower piece of art.

5. Rose Garland

Make this simple rose garland with the special roses you received from a loved one. This garland was made with spray roses which tend to be smaller but can easily be done with larger roses. This process is easier when the roses have not been dried yet. Add these pretty twinkle lights to your garland or enjoy it as is.

DIY Rose Garland with Twinkle Lights

Save your special roses by making this DIY rose garland. Hang this garland on a mantel, shelves or a bed frame for a beautiful display.
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 1 Floral Design knife or scissors


  • 3 stems Fresh Spray Roses (each stem has 3-4 blooms)
  • 1 spool White or gray thread
  • 1 piece Sewing needle
  • 1 set Battery operated twinkle lights
  • 3 pieces AA Batteries (for twinkle lights)


  • Collect your supplies and with scissors or a floral design knife remove the heads (blooms) of the roses. You will want to keep the bulb or green rounded part that sits below the petals.
    materials used for this project. scissors, roses, thread, needle and lights.
  • Measure the length you want your garland to be. This measurement should coincide with the length of your twinkle light strand. Once you have this measurement cut a piece of thread double that measurement and thread it through the needle and tie a knot at the end. Resulting in the thread being doubled.
    rose heads with thread and needle
  • Pierce the first rose through the bulb and thread the needle through.
    piercing the needle through the rose head.
  • Be sure to leave about 4" to the knot at the end of the thread so you have extra for hanging your garland.
    knot at the end or the thread, then the first rose blossom about 4" from the end.
  • Thread the needle through once again to create a knot on the rose.
    the thread is tied in a knot around the base of the rose bloom.
  • Move to the next rose heads and repeat the process. Be sure to leave 4" between each bloom.
    add another rose in 4".
  • Continue adding roses until your garland is full.
    All the roses are on thread.
  • Lay the garland in a straight line and then lay the strand of twinkle lights next to it. Wrap one rose head at a time around the strand of lights. Continue until the rose garland is fully wrapped around the lights.
    twisting the rose garland around the twinkle lights.
  • The lights are on a thin wire which will support the garland. The gray thread is almost impossible to see against the light strand.
    rose garland all wrapped around the twinkle light string with the lights on.
  • If you havent already, add the batteries to the light strand. Hang the garland where you can enjoy it.
    hanging the garland on a white decorated mantel.
  • Let the roses dry naturally.
    rose garland with roses dried.


If you are making this garland with roses that have already been dried use a thinker twine or ribbon and add the roses using a hot glue gun. You will not be able to thread through a dry rose as they get very hard and brittle when dried. 

Whether it be your wedding day fresh flowers or beautiful roses from another special day, preserving your flowers using one of the drying processes outlined in this post is a great way to hold on to memories for years to come.

If you love fresh flowers be sure to visit these posts:

me designing the roses in my kitchen.

A Garden Bouquet with White O’Hara Roses And Beautiful Peach Juliet Roses: Explore the beauty of White O’Hara Roses and Peach Juliet Roses in this post, courtesy of Grace Rose Farm. Delve into the characteristics of these roses, perfect for bridal bouquets, and enjoy the author’s experience working with these blooms. The post also provides information about Grace Rose Farm and tips on processing and caring for the roses.

pitchers of cut tulips.

Cut Tulip Care (Tips from a Florist): Discover practical insights into tulip care in this guide based on my 14-year experience as a florist. From unwrapping to stem cutting, learn step-by-step tips to make your tulips flourish. Gain valuable knowledge on selecting, maintaining, and designing with tulips, ensuring vibrant and beautiful arrangements for any occasion.

Thanks for visiting the blog today for How To Keep Roses Alive Forever (including 5 ideas for what you can do with them)!

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my signature, a drawing of me holding a coffee cup that says Create.

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