Preserving Boxwood for future projects

So what to do with the leftover live boxwood cuttings from your December programming? Preserve it! Unfortunately, I over-bought live boxwood from the floral supplier last month and I didn’t want the excess go to waste. So I decided to try to preserve it to use in future projects and here is how I did it.

What supplies you will need:

  • Boxwood cuttings
  • Citric acid (powder form) –find in the supermarket canning section
  • Glycerin (vegetable based) –find smaller quantities at natural food stores or order by the gallon at www.apothecary.com
  • Floral dye Absorbit by Design Master, color holiday green – order from floral supplier or buy on Amazon Plastic or glass containers (no metal)- I used big plastic totes

The recipe for the mixture:

  • Ratio of glycerin to water is 1:2, so for every 1 part glycerin add 2 parts water
  • Then add 1 tablespoon of Absorbit and ½ teaspoon of citric acid to your 1:2 solution
  • I cut the boxwood stems and placed in gallon plastic totes in my garage and added the completed solution so that it covered the bottom of the stems at least 3 inches.
  • Place the cuttings in the solution for approximately 3 weeks.
  • Remove the cuttings from the solution and lay out to dry.

I trimmed the stems to cut off the green ends, so your HT clients won’t have green hands while working with the material. The result is pliable preserved boxwood which is great for wreath making.

For another variation, omit the Absorbit dye and the boxwood will turn a golden color as it dries. This recipe would probably work for other woody stems like eucalyptus, willow, myrtle etc.

My clients used the boxwood cuttings this month to create these bird wreaths. As part of the program we also talked about winter birds. 

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