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I understand that glycerin can be used to preserve eucalyptus branches. What proportions should be used and how long should they soak in the solution?
By Barbara from Richmond, VA
Quick guide to drying and preserving eucalyptus. There are many varieties of eucalyptus. The most common form is Eucalyptus globulus which is also known as the "Tasmanian Blue Gum" tree.
Eucalyptus dries and is able to be preserved very well. There are a couple of methods to choose from. One is the simple method of air drying which just involves hanging a group of stems together upside down in a well-ventilated, dry, dark place. You will want to ensure that the area you choose is not a damp or humid area as that will encourage mold growth. A rubber band can be used to bundle the stems and branches together and that will allow it to remain tight when the material shrinks. This method usually takes two to three weeks and will result in a stiffer structure to the leaves.
An alternative method, one that is commonly used by florists and on the eucalyptus found in craft stores, is to use glycerin. Just add one part glycerin to two parts boiling water to a vase and place the fresh cut stems in it. The glycerin will enter the stems and allow the branches and leaves to retain some flexibility and be somewhat pliable when dry. The use of glycerin enhances the blue-green color of the leaves. You can find glycerin at drugstores and some craft stores.
I suggest using both methods. First the glycerin method, then hanging the eucalyptus cuttings to ensure they are dry. I personally don't like using the hanging method alone as the leaves become brittle and the results just don't look as nice in my opinion.
How can I preserve eucalyptus leaves so they don't break and tear? I want to use them in my jewelry.
To preserve eucalyptus you will need vegetable glycerin which can be obtained at your local craft store.
Create a preservation solution. To preserve eucalyptus, mix a solution of one part glycerin with two parts water. Heat the mixture to boiling or near-boiling.
Once your glycerin and water solution is ready, pour the mixture into a stable, wide-bottomed vase. Place the eucalyptus branches in the vase with the cut end of the stem in the liquid. The liquid should reach about three inches up the length of the eucalyptus stem.
To help your eucalyptus branches absorb the preservation solution more quickly, slice the bases of the stems a bit.
Place your eucalyptus branches in a cool environment. Put the vase containing the eucalyptus somewhere with moderate humidity and a temperature of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit Keep the branches out of direct sunlight as they absorb the preservation solution.
Refill the liquid in the vase as need, since some will evaporate over time.
Give your eucalyptus plant sufficient time to absorb the solution. Your eucalyptus branches will probably need to be in the preservation solution for about four weeks. However, the exact amount of time necessary for the eucalyptus branches to fully absorb the glycerin ranges from about three days to six weeks, depending on the size of your branches.
Larger branches will take longer to absorb the glycerin than the shorter branches.
Look for black or gold leaves. Once youve placed the eucalyptus in a proper location, it will take time for the branches to absorb the solution. Plants that are ready to be removed from the glycerin solution will change color to black or gold, depending on the species. When all the leaves have changed color, the plant is ready to be removed.
emove the eucalyptus branches from the vase. Cut the stems of the branches up to the point where they were covered by the preservation solution. Wipe away any excess liquid that might remain on the stems.
Dry the eucalyptus plant. Lay the eucalyptus branches in a warm, sunny, dry location with good air circulation. After three to five days, hang the eucalyptus branches upside down by their stems in a warm, dry, dark room. After two to three weeks, your eucalyptus plants should be ready to use.
If you dont intend to use your eucalyptus branches immediately, store them in a dry, cool, dark area.
For photos and detailed directions check out the link below