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Dried Flowers Vs. Preserved Flowers

Aralia Leaves, Preserved, Green, 15-25cm x 10

Kate Blott |

Everlasting Flowers

Drying a flower is a form of preservation, so it can be confusing when visiting a website that offers both dried and preserved products. Preserved flowers will look and feel like fresh blooms, as they have been specially treated with a glycerine solution and vegetable dyes to replace their sap. The dried products are completely dry and must remain so to remain in good condition.

Certain products lend themselves to preservation rather than drying and vice versa. Others will tolerate both processes. Let's take a look at the two processes in more detail and show some examples.

Dried Flowers

This is the largest category at Atlas Flowers and contains hundreds of different products in their natural colours, along with both dyed and painted forms.

Drying flowers is a basic form of preservation, giving the blooms a potential lifespan of several years. There are many different methods to dry flowers, and you can read about these in more detail in our piece on how flowers are dried. In terms of commercial flower drying, natural, air-drying is the usual method.

Dried Flower Production

At Atlas Flowers, we are lucky enough to work with some fantastic producers. Our main supplier in the Netherlands has a finely tuned operation that makes good use of the fantastic growing conditions in the area to produce beautiful flowers, perfect for drying.

Rather than relying on a heavily mechanised operation, a holistic approach is taken, carrying out the different tasks required by hand wherever possible. Where machinery is used, it tends to be small to minimise impact and compaction on the precious land.

  • All the dried flowers we offer are grown outside.
  • Stems are carefully harvested by hand.
  • Once gathered, the flowers are bunched and left to dry upside-down in racks to preserve the colour and integrity of the bloom.
  • The dried flowers are prepared, either as straight lines or worked into items such as bouquets and wreaths.
  • The finished product is carefully packed and made ready for dispatch.

Fields of white and pink flowers being grown for Lamboo Dried and Deco.

Dutch flower fields are just filled with tulips!

 

Interesting Fact: Our suppliers don't use harmful pesticides or chemicals when producing these beautiful dried flowers. Everything is managed as naturally as possible, ensuring a safe, high-quality product.

Commercial flower drying racks containing lots of bunches of flowers that have been hung upside down.

Commercial flower drying racks filled with bunches of beautiful blooms | Credit: Lamboo Dried & Deco

Colouring Dried Flowers

Dried flowers retain their colour well when they are dried, and these natural products are extremely popular. Occasionally clients are looking for something a little different, and this is where dying and painting come in.

Dying Flowers

Standard dyed flowers involve a dried flower bunch being dipped into a bath of vegetable and water-based colourant and then it's allowed to dry naturally in a rack. These colours can be very intense, and allow florists to create some bold looks. Our suppliers are proud that they clean and recycle the water used in this process around their production facility.

Painting Dried Flowers

Applied using a similar method, painted bunches are dipped in vegetable, water-based paint that leaves the product with a chalky finish, often described as 'misty' in our descriptions. These products have a very different look and feel to dyed products, and are often popular in large installations, as they diffuse light well. Generally, the colours are pastels rather than brights.

Hand painting flowers at the Lamboo Dried and Deco production facility.

Hand painting dried flowers | Credit: Lamboo Dried & Deco

Bleaching Dried Flowers

Finally, there are the bleached, and bleached and dyed products. Bleached products will end up a creamy white colour that can be left as they are, or recoloured with much lighter and brighter colours than would usually be possible. Bleaching can weaken a product and give the product a slightly unpleasant smell. Take care with the stems, and allow the product to air so the smell diminishes to get the best out of it.

  • Once dried, the flowers and foliage can be dyed or painted.
  • Bunches are dipped by hand into baths of vegetable and water-based dyes or paints to fully coat the product.
  • Once coloured, the product is allowed to dry in racks before being processed and packed.

Interesting Fact: All liquid residue from the painting and dying process is cleaned and recycled within the production facility.

Preserved Flowers & Foliage - Flowers Frozen In Time!

With preserved flowers or foliage, it's possible to create the effect of fresh flowers without the need for high maintenance. The preservation process seals the bloom in time, keeping it looking great for years to come. By replacing the natural sap with a viscous glycerine solution that has been coloured with vibrant vegetable pigments, the flower or foliage is kept plump and fresh-looking.

What Flowers Or Foliage Can Be Preserved?

Certain florals preserve better than they dry, so you will see products such as eucalyptus, hydrangeas, ruscus, and delicate ferns typically preserved.

Roses are often a popular choice for preservation too, with some amazing, bright colours, and even blended gradients applied to the blooms. Marketed as 'everlasting' or 'eternity' roses, these products are popular for celebrations such as Valentine's Day. At Atlas Flowers, we proudly stock Verdissimo preserved flowers. This industry leader has perfected the growing and preservation processes.

The Preservation Process

Once harvested at the peak of perfection, the process begins, where the bloom absorbs a mixture of 100% plant-based and bio-degradable preservation mixture. This liquid replaces the sap and water within the plant, creating a 'snapshot' of time, and a 100% natural product. Once preserved, the flowers will remain beautiful and unchanged for months. They are virtually maintenance-free and require NO water or feeding. To keep them looking perfect, avoid prolonged and direct sunlight, extremes of temperature and humid or damp conditions.

Colouring Preserved Flowers

While Verdissimo has patented their process, other producers follow a similar method. This can also be applied to foliage, such as eucalyptus. At Atlas Flowers, we work with several producers who preserve eucalyptus stems, either with a natural-looking green or blue-green colour, and sometimes adding alternative coloured vegetable dyes to the preservation liquid, such as yellow, orange, or red. Whereas colouring dried products is optional, preserved flowers will end up looking muddy and unsightly if no colour is added. By adding a vegetable dye to the glycerine and water-based preserving solution, the product can be lifted back to its natural-looking colour, or an alternative hue.

Bleaching Preserved Flowers

Bleached, preserved products will undergo the bleaching process either to attain a creamy white colour or to allow for lighter, pastel colours to be applied. As with dried products that have been bleached, this process can leave an unpleasant odour on the product, but this should dissipate with good airing.

 

Do you work with dried or preserved flowers?

Share your creations with us!

We hope you're feeling inspired to make something amazing with our dried flowers. Why not share your designs and makes with us on social media? There's nothing we like more than to be tagged on Instagram when you've made something beautiful using our products.

A selection of beautiful dried flowers and foliage.

Image credit: Jonathan Borba

 

If you would like to have your design or installation featured on our story, just get in touch!

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