Learn how to dry eucalyptus at home!
Using eucalyptus for various home projects is a lot of fun, especially because it has a unique and exquisite smell that most people love. If you’re growing fresh eucalyptus plants and you wish to preserve them so that they last longer, it’s good to know that you have several ways to do this. Some methods require using glycerin, which preserves the eucalyptus, while others require drying them in other ways. The thing is, drying eucalyptus at home is a great skill to have simply because there are so many different uses for this amazing plant.
What Is Eucalyptus?
Having greenery around in the wintertime can brighten up your home, so if you choose to include eucalyptus in your floral arrangements or home decor, they’ll do their part to beautify your home for a very long time. There are more than 700 species of eucalyptus, and most of them are native to Australia. They are available in many different sizes, but typically only a few varieties are readily available for use in floral arrangements or your decor.
Some of the most common eucalyptus varieties include Silver Dollar and Gumdrop, which have leaves that are round or oval in shape; Willow and Feather, whose leaves are long and thin and have pointed tips; and Baby Blue, which has tall, straight stems and round leaves the size of quarters that have a slightly blue tint. Where can you find fresh eucalyptus? Look for them in a florist shop, stores such as Trader Joe’s, and the floral section in some supermarkets. Some farmers’ markets also sell them.
How to Dry Eucalyptus at Home
Drying and preserving eucalyptus are actually the same thing because the end results are the same. While air-drying eucalyptus is much easier, preserving the plant with glycerin is just a little more involved and is still a very easy skill to learn. Below are descriptions of these two excellent methods of drying or preserving your eucalyptus plants.
Method #1: Air Drying Your Eucalyptus
The first thing you need to learn when you air-dry your eucalyptus is that the leaves will likely be a little discolored when you’re done, so this is nothing to be alarmed about. They will also become much more fragile, so after you dry them you’ll want to put them in a place where they won’t be disturbed by kids or pets. Here is what you need to do to air-dry your eucalyptus plants:
- Trim the stems of the plant until they are the length you want. If you see any dead or discolored stems and leaves, go ahead and remove them.
- Place a bunch of fresh eucalyptus leaves together and tie it at the base with either twine or string.
- Take another piece of string and use it to hang the bunch upside down. Make sure you hang the leaves in a place that is dark, cool, and very dry. You’ll also want a location that has good air circulation, such as an outdoor shed or the attic.
Wait 2-3 weeks then cut the eucalyptus bunch down so you can display it somewhere.
Method #2: Preserving Eucalyptus with Glycerin
Preserving eucalyptus by letting them absorb vegetable glycerin allows the plant to keep its original color and texture. If you want your eucalyptus plant to continue to be soft and flexible, this is the drying method you should use. If you’re going to show off your eucalyptus in high-traffic areas so that you can brag about it to everyone who visits you, preserving the plant in glycerin is the way to go. The plants also have a nice natural-looking and slight droop when you’re done, so they look much more like the real thing.
Here are the steps to preserving eucalyptus with glycerin:
- Trim the bottom of the eucalyptus stems at an angle, and remove leaves that are dead or discolored.
- Take a small amount of water and bring it to a boil.
- With a hammer, smash the bottom ends of every stem so the glycerin is more easily absorbed.
- Use two parts of boiling water and one part of vegetable glycerin and stir the mixture until the glycerin is completely dissolved.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then pour it into a glass jar or vase.
- Add all of the stems to the jar or vase but make sure all of the bottom ends are completely submerged in the mixture.
- Place the jar or vase in a cool dry place that is out of direct sunlight.
- Keep it there for 2-6 weeks.
- The eucalyptus leaves are done when they have darkened in color slightly and have a soft, smooth feel.
- Once the leaves are done, remove them from the jar and discard the mixture.
- Trim the stems of the plant to the length you prefer.
Use these eucalyptus stems in an arrangement with other dried flowers or in a vase by itself.
Here is a tutorial video on how to preserve eucalyptus with glycerin.
Eucalyptus plants have a great aroma and look great as well. They make the perfect addition to numerous flower arrangements and decorations in your home.
Preserving or drying eucalyptus is a great way to keep them around for a while, and both of the methods described above are easy to do. If you want to add a little pizzazz to your home, eucalyptus is an inexpensive and simple plant that both looks great and smells great. Whether you air-dry the plant or preserve it with a little vegetable glycerin, these are both great ways to decorate your home and make sure all of your visitors notice what you’ve done.
READ ALSO: How to grow eucalyptus