This is a follow up to a blog post I posted a month or two ago, about experimenting with preserving eucalyptus. You can read that post here. The results of preserving turned out pretty much as expected. You can see from the picture below that some of the stems and leaves are a lot greener, and some of them have a purple hue to them. The greener stems are done by just air drying the plant, resulting in brittle, light green leaves. The purple hued stems were done by soaking the stems in a vegetable glycerin mixture before air drying, which resulted in waxier leaves which lost their green colour. I actually love the way both turned out, I think whichever method you choose just depends on how you want the final product to look.
I bought Eucalyptus once before on a whim. I ended up loving the way it looked in my kitchen, and it photographed so beautifully as well. Eucalyptus is a pretty hardy plant, and it actually lasted a couple weeks in a vase full of water in my kitchen, but after a couple weeks I was sad to see it go.
It’s been a couple months since the first time I bought Eucalyptus, and a couple days ago was the first time I found it again at a flower market. I want to try preserving it this time, so I always have it in my apartment. I don’t have much experience preserving plants, just a couple failed attempts at pressing flowers in my journal, but because this plant is so hardy I think it will do well.
Reading online it looks like there are two common ways to preserve it. The first is just hanging to dry, and the second is using a vegetable glycerin mixture. The second method is supposed to give the leaves a waxier feel, whereas following the first method will produce a dryer and more brittle result. I decided to split my bunch in half and test out both methods.
For the first method of drying all I needed was some Eucalyptus, an elastic band, and some twine. I first secured the Eucalyptus stems with an elastic band. You could omit this and just use the twine, but the elastic band will keep the bunch tight, because the branches will shrink a little as they dry. After securing the elastic band, wrap over the elastic with some twine, tie a knot, and leave a long end for hanging your bunch. Hang the Eucalyptus in a cool dry area for 2-6 weeks, until dry.
For the second method I needed to buy some vegetable glycerin. I first cut the ends of the Eucalyptus to the length I wanted, and then I gently smashed the ends with a hammer (this helps the stem absorb the mixture better). I mixed 1 part vegetable glycerin with 2 parts boiling water in a mason jar and then placed the Eucalyptus bunch in the mixture. The Eucalyptus should stay in this mixture for a couple weeks.
I’ll post a follow up to this blog post in a month or so, showing the differences between the two methods that I tried, so make sure you subscribe!