There are several methods you can use to preserve lavender leaves; which you choose depends on how you plan on using the leaves. The simplest method is to tie the stems in bunches and hang them upside down in a warm, dark room for several weeks. This will dry them out and make them suitable for dried flower arrangements. If you're in a hurry, microwaving will preserve them in a couple of minutes. Pressing will also preserve the leaves if you don't mind them being flat, while glycerin makes a more bendable stem but can change the color of the leaves.
Lay the leaves between two white paper towels.
Reduce the power on your microwave to medium.
Place the lavender into the microwave for 30 to 120 seconds. The time depends on how much moisture is in the leaves.
Cut the lavender and allow it to wilt slightly.
Cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard so they are the size of a folded newspaper.
Place one piece of cardboard on a firm surface in a warm dry room. You can do this outdoors, but you will need to cover it at night to protect it.
Lay several sheets of newspaper on top of the cardboard.
Place a layer of white paper towels over the newspaper.
Place the lavender leaves or stems onto the paper towels and arrange them as desired.
Place a layer of white paper towels over the lavender.
Place several more sheets of newspaper over the lavender.
Place the second piece of cardboard over the newspaper.
Place a heavy object on top of the cardboard. You can use several bricks, books or something similar.
Check the lavender every two to three days. Replace the paper towels and newspaper as necessary to absorb moisture and prevent mildew. Plants should be dried within one to two weeks.
Cut the top off a 1-quart, plastic-coated milk carton.
Crush the lower 4 inches of the lavender stems with a hammer. Place the lavender stems inside the milk carton.
Heat 2 2/3 cups water to 150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in a saucepan.
Add 1 1/3 cups glycerin to the water. Stir the mixture until cooled. Add a few drops of green food coloring to the mixture if you wish to keep the stems green.
Pour the glycerin mixture into the milk carton so it completely covers the stems.
Soak the foliage for two to six weeks. Check the solution daily and add water if necessary to keep the stems submerged.
Remove the leaves when the glycerin has migrated through the leaves. Leaves should turn a greenish-brown when preserved with glycerin, although the color will be greener if you added food coloring to the mixture.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images