Studies have found that flowers increase positive emotion. When mourning the loss of a loved one, receiving funeral flowers in their honor is a meaningful and heartwarming gesture. It makes sense that many families display the flowers long after the funeral or even turn them into beautiful memorial keepsakes.
There are several ways to preserve flowers, although the method you choose may depend on the flower type and what you plan on doing with it after the funeral. Whether you want to display them on your dining room table or create an ever-lasting memento, these tips can help you preserve your loved one’s flowers.
Flower Life Spans
Below are a few common funeral flowers and their life spans:
Carnations — Up to two weeks
Orchids — One to two weeks
Sunflowers — Five to 12 days
Roses — Four to 12 days
Lilies — Four to 11 days
Daisies — Four to seven days
Tulips — Three to seven days
Cut-Flower Care Tips
If you want to display your flowers after the funeral, these tips can help them stay looking nice longer.
Before placing them in a vase of water, cut the bottoms of the stems at an angle. This way, the flowers can get water more easily. You should recut them every couple of days and remove leaves that would fall below the water line to prevent bacteria growth, and regularly check them for dead or loose leaves.
Once you prep your flowers, disinfect the vase and fill it with room-temperature water. Then, pour in a packet of flower food and mix it well. You should clean the vase and add fresh water and food every couple of days. Avoid setting your vase in direct sun, near a heat source, by fans or vents, or next to fruit. Ripening fruit releases an ethylene gas that causes flowers to age faster.
You also can make your own DIY flower food if you wish. Most flower food packets contain three ingredients: sugar, citric acid, and bleach. The bleach gets rid of bacteria, citric acid adjusts the pH level, and sugar is the food. There’s also bleach alternatives that you can use.
For example, this recipe uses white vinegar instead of bleach:
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 quart of lukewarm water
Mementos from Funeral Flowers
Creating a memento from funeral flowers is a unique way to preserve them and honor your loved one’s life. There are many dried flower mementos to choose from, such as these ideas below.
Dried Flower Shadowbox
To make a dried flower shadowbox, simply arrange the flowers in the shadowbox along with photos, mementos, poems, quotes, and other memorabilia.
Place the flowers in a clear, glass ornament with a removable top and tie a ribbon through the hole or use an ornament hook to proudly display it in your home.
Arrange your flowers in a picture frame. Note, the pressed-flower drying method works best for this memento, which we’ll explain in the next section.
Decorate a candle by heating a spoon over a plain candle and using it to gently press the flowers onto the candle. Use scissors to cut off any excess flower parts.
Pressed-Flower Drying Method
There are many ways to dry flowers, although some methods may work better than others. As previously mentioned, this flower drying method works well for framed-pressed flower mementos, as well as bookmarks, coasters, and any other mementos that require the flowers to be flat.
For this method, you can dry the flowers by pressing them in a book. Place the flowers in between wax paper in the book for about a week. Note, this method works best for flat-headed flowers like daisies.
Air-Drying Flower Methods
The easiest way to dry flowers is to leave them in a vase with a few inches of water, and the flowers will slowly dry when the water evaporates. This works best for large-bloom flowers like hydrangea.
Another air-drying method is the hang them upside down. Remove the unwanted leaves, tie the stems together with a rubber band, and hang them in a dark area to prevent fading. You can bend a paperclip in an S shape and stick one end in the rubber band and the other over a hook or nail. You also can spray the flowers with hairspray or flower spray to help them keep their shape.
Only do about 10 of the same flower type per bundle and hang them separately if they’re large flowers. This method works best for small, strong blossom flowers like roses, lavender, and larkspur. It takes about two to four weeks for them to dry.
Other Flower Drying Methods
Another way to dry flowers is to dry them in a microwave-safe container filled with a drying agent like silica gel or cat litter. It’s best to cut the stems short and put a cup of water in the microwave with the container to prevent burning or over-drying. Heat them for about two minutes and additional minutes as needed depending on the microwave wattage and thickness of the flower petals.
Let them cool for 24 hours and leave the cover slightly ajar. Then when they’re ready, brush off the drying agent with a fine paintbrush. This method is best for flowers with several thinner petals like roses.
If you don’t want to use your microwave and don’t mind waiting longer, you can place the flowers in a container filled with silica gel or another drying agent for about a week. Keep the container sealed and in a warm, dry place. Once they’re dry, carefully remove the flowers and brush them off. This works best for large, delicate flowers like lilies.
Have you made mementos from funeral flowers? Share them with us in the comments below!