Thursday, May 31, 2012

Drying Proteas

Proteas are fabulous as dried flowers.  They have great sculptural qualities and they keep their structure well, not falling apart easily.  There are no real tricks to drying your proteas - you don't need to hang them upside down, although it doesn't hurt.  Just as long as they are dried without being too crowded, to make sure their shape remains intact, and to allow for airflow.  Some even keep their colour well.  

You can get fancy if you want to - the following are some ideas from Proteaflora, a major Protea nursery in Victoria.
Pick the flowers in their prime, strip off the bottom leaves then tie about 5 of the flowers together in a tight bunch with a rubber band. Hang them, heads down in a dry, dark, airy spot for about two weeks.

In a Glycerin Solution
The glycerin keeps the plant material supple and helps it last longer. After cutting and stripping the foliage, place the stems in a glycerin solution as soon as you can. Use a mix of one third glycerin (available at your chemist) to two thirds water. The solution should be seven to fourteen cm deep. Don't put stems in water first, and if the stems have been cut for more than one hour, re-cut them before placing them in the glycerin solution. When tiny beads of glycerin appear on the leaves, take them out and hang them as described above.

The pink flowers pictured are Protea Pink Ice.  There are some others mixed in including Brunia Albiflora, (press the link to check out more of these) and some Leucadendron Argenteum.  I am also lucky enough to have a huge Banksia Grandis tree and the seed pods often come on long stems which make a great display.

So next time you have a bunch of proteas, think about drying them for longer lasting loveliness!!

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine if the Great Impressionist Artists had seen this arrangement they would've fought over who would paint it. Lovely :)