How to Dry or Preserve Eucalyptus for Decor

Eucalyptus in a white vase

Stacy Fisher 

Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Cooking pot
  • Spoon

Materials

  • Fresh eucalyptus
  • Vegetable glycerine
  • Water
  • Vase or jar

Instructions

Drying or preserving eucalyptus takes a beautiful plant and makes it last even longer. Eucalyptus is a hearty and fragrant plant that’s used for everything from essential oils to homemade cough drops to decor in all kinds of craft projects. Using preserved eucalyptus instead of faux eucalyptus is not only cheaper but it also will make sure that the wonderful smell of eucalyptus stays with all your projects when you use them.

You can use your dried eucalyptus in a lot of different ways! It can look stunning simply put in a vase by itself. You can add it in with other dried flowers to make an arrangement or even a wreath. You can even still use the leaves after they are dried to make essential oils. The possibilities really are endless. 

  1. Select a Container

    Select a jar or vase that's tall enough to hold your eucalyptus without it falling over. You'll want to make sure that the bottom of the eucalyptus stem touches the bottom of the container when you put it in. This will make sure that it will soak up all of the solution that we're about to make.

  2. Trim the Eucalyptus

    Cut the eucalyptus branches to the length that you want your dried eucalyptus to be. Also, take this time to remove any dead leaves or stems from the branches.

    Eucalyptus stems and a pair of scissors
    Stacy Fisher
  3. Smash the Eucalyptus Stems

    Take your hammer and smash the bottom inch of the eucalyptus stem. This will allow the mixture that will dry them to more fully soak into the plant.

    Eucalyptus and a hammer
    Stacy Fisher
  4. Boil the Vegetable Glycerin

    In a small cooking pot, combine two parts water to one part vegetable glycerin. Bring this solution to a boil, stirring with a spoon until the glycerin has fully dissolved into the water. The amount of solution you’ll want to make will depend on the size of your container. You want to make sure that you make enough so that the ends of the stems will fully be the solution. We used two cups of water and one cup of vegetable glycerin for the chosen container.

  5. Pour the Vegetable Glycerin Solution into the Container

    Carefully pour the vegetable glycerin and water solution into your chosen container. Allow it to cool for a few minutes in the container so that it’s cool to the touch.

  6. Add the Eucalyptus

    Put in the eucalyptus stems into the solution, making sure that each of the ends is being submerged into the vegetable glycerin and water mixture by about two to three inches. Don’t worry about the tops of the stems drooping down, this is the natural shape of eucalyptus and it will look natural once it’s dried.

    Eucalyptus in a white vase
    Stacy Fisher 
  7. Allow the Eucalyptus to Dry

    Store the eucalyptus in a dark, cool, dry spot to let it preserve. Make sure that it's not in direct sunlight. The eucalyptus will take two to six weeks to fully dry.

    You'll want to check on your eucalyptus every few days. You may find that it has soaked up all the liquid in the container. If this happens, repeat the instructions above to make more of the solution and add it to your container. If the liquid has turned brown and is looking slimy, you'll want to make more of the solution and replace the liquid.

    When the eucalyptus is dry, you'll see it turn from green to dark purple or even silver. The leaves will be smooth and soft and it will be drier than the fresh eucalyptus that you started with.

    Dry eucalyptus leaves on a table
    Isabel Pavia/Getty Images
  8. Remove the Eucalyptus

    Once you’re happy with how dry your eucalyptus has gotten, it’s time to remove them from the vase. Remove the branches and pat dry with a paper towel. You can allow them to air dry for a couple of days or you can use them right away in your next project.

Alternative Method

You can also air dry eucalyptus without using the vegetable glycerin. Simply trim up your branches and tie the bottom of the bunch together with string. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place while they preserve. This will take six to 12 weeks if you use this method. The eucalyptus will dry similarly to the method above but will be straighter in length since you are hanging it upside down. 

Woman's hand holding a eucalyptus branch
 foxline/Getty Images