Learn how to dry eucalyptus branches, including two easy ways to preserve eucalyptus branches to use for home decor or craft projects!
How to preserve eucalyptus: Two ways to do it!
I wrote a post about how to care for potted eucalyptus a few months ago, and it has been really popular! I’ve loved having a different plant in my garden this summer, and the smell sitting on the patio is just lovely.
As we near the end of growing season—and since the plant has really taken off—I decided to try my hand at preserving some of these gorgeous branches. I have some faux eucalyptus branches that I use for some of my craft photography, but I wanted to check out the real thing.
How to dry eucalyptus easily using the air-dry method
There are two main ways to preserve eucalyptus branches: by drying the branches using the air, or by drying/preserving the branches using a glycerin solution. Let’s talk about the air-dry method first, as well as its pros and cons.
All you need for the air-dry method is some twine. And a spot in your home with low to average humidity and low to medium light. Cut a few branches and strip a few leaves off of the very bottom. Then tie them together at the base using the twine. Hang to dry just as you would when drying herbs. Don’t bunch too much together or else it will impede air circulation.
Note: Try to cut your eucalyptus branches after a sunny day to ensure they are as dry as possible. This will help facilitate the air-drying process.
The pros of the air-drying method
You don’t need to buy anything. You probably have everything you need at home. Air is easy to find. 🙂 A bunch of eucalyptus tied together and hung upside down to dry also looks really pretty—and smells good in small spaces!
The cons of the air-drying method
The leaves will wrinkle as they dry and will not retain their original color. You can try drying the leaves in a large book or makeshift flower press, but they will still be very brittle. (For tips on drying leaves and flowers, check out my post on preserving leaves in resin.) Because of that, this method is probably best for something like potpourri.
If you like this post, you might like my tutorial on how to stain and finish tree branches for indoor use!
How to preserve eucalyptus using glycerin
The other way to dry eucalyptus branches is by using a glycerin solution. But what is glycerin? You might have heard of it being used in skincare solutions. That’s because it’s a colorless, odorless liquid that attracts moisture. Meaning it helps suck out all of that moisture in the eucalyptus branch’s stem and leaves.
Glycerin is also used in a lot of crafts and DIY beauty projects, so you can find it pretty easily. I got a small jar from Joann, I think for $2.99? And it was definitely enough. To make a glycerin mixture, simply mix glycerin and HOT water in a 1:2 ratio. I used a clear mason jar so I could monitor evaporation.
Before you add your branches—leaves stripped from the very bottom, just as in the steps about how to air dry eucalyptus branches—use a hammer to smash the ends of the stems. That’s right, smash them open. This will help them absorb more of the glycerin mixture, leading to more thorough drying.
Then add the eucalyptus branches to the mixture and set in a cool to average temperature spot with low to average light. Monitor how the branches do over the next few days. You may need to add more glycerin solution.
The pros of drying eucalyptus with a glycerin solution
Drying using glycerin lets the leaves retain some of their color, though it will change a bit. The leaves also remain pliable and not brittle. That means that this method is probably best if you want to use your eucalyptus branches in a craft or floral arrangement.
The cons of drying eucalyptus with a glycerin solution
You have to buy glycerin. It’s an easy process, but it seems to take a bit longer. Given that glycerin allows the leaves to retain pliability and some of their color, I think it’s the superior method of preserving eucalyptus!
Update after ~1 week drying
Here are a few pics of how each of the branch bundles look after about 1 week drying with both methods. As you can see, the glycerin bundle remained pliable but lost some color. The bundle that was air drying crinkled a ton and dried out.
Update after ~3 weeks drying
And here is an update on the glycerin drying 3 weeks later! It’s still very pliable, but the color is all gone.
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