Dried eucalyptus is loved by florists for adding texture and greenery to floral arrangements. Yet this fragrant foliage is more than a support act for the colorful flowers that often surround it. It doesn't even need to be fresh. With its grey-green leaves, dried eucalyptus can make a beautiful display on its own in your favourite vase.
Dried flowers may be having their moment in the sunshine - but dried eucalyptus has long been a foliage favorite.
'Eucalyptus is a superb dried stem as it retains its shape really well and holds onto its leaves,' says florist Philippa Craddock of Philippa Craddock Design Studio & Flower School. 'As it dries, it loses a little of its vibrancy, taking on a softer grey/green tone, which is as beautiful as when it is fresh. I love dried eucalyptus stems displayed together; the large heads of dried hydrangea look great with it too.'
HOW TO CARE FOR DRIED EUCALYPTUS AND MAKE IT LAST LONGER
1. LET THE STEMS DRY OUT NATURALLY
Eucalyptus generally outlives the flowers it's placed with in a floral bouquet, as anyone who has been looking at how to take care of tulips in a vase will know. Yet it's simple to give it a second or even third life.
'Simply arrange the fresh eucalyptus en masse in water, and as the water dries out, so will your stems,' says Philippa Craddock (opens in new tab). 'Next step, give your vase a really good clean and redisplay your eucalyptus as a dried stem on its own.'
'Eucalyptus can become very brittle when dried,' says floral designer, Hazel Gardiner (opens in new tab). 'To help keep leaves looking their best, it sounds simple, but avoid touching the stems too much. Display them out of direct sunlight in a cool room.'
2. REUSE IT WITH FRESH FLOWERS
Perk up stems picked from the flower bed, or an inexpensive bunch from a flower stall, with sprigs of dried eucalyptus that you've kept.
'I love eucalyptus for its ability to ‘lift’ a humble flower such as the carnation,' says florist Judith Blacklock (opens in new tab) of Judith Blacklock Flower School. 'Eucalyptus 'Baby Blue' is very fragrant and looks stunning in a vase on its own or with flowers. It is bluer and stiffer than Eucalyptus cinerea but not as widely available.'
'Eucalyptus has a great colour and dries really well,' says Harriet Parry, floral stylist and spokesperson for funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk (opens in new tab). 'I love to style it with vintage, wild-type flowers, such as delphinium and astrantia, astilbe, and spray roses as it lends itself to soft pastel tones, soft pinks and mauves.'
3. GIVE IT A GENTLE DUST
Dust is the enemy of living plants or indoor trees. A layer on leaves prevents them from being able to photosynthesize and feed themselves from sunlight. For dried stems though, it's more a matter of aesthetics.
'Eucalyptus - once dried - requires very little care,' says celebrity florist Larry Walshe of Bloom (opens in new tab). ' A light dusting every now and again will keep it looking lovely. I like to see Eucalyptus styled on its own, en-masse in a beautiful tall vase. It’s super chic and so easy to arrange at home.'
'To keep dried stems looking good, simply dust them occasionally,' says Philippa Craddock. 'The gentlest way to do this is to use a hairdryer on a low heat and speed.'
4. ENHANCE ITS FRAGRANCE WITH A MIST
Like most plants and trees, eucalyptus isn't just beautiful to look at, it has amazing botanical properties too, which can add to your home fragrance. The oil of many species has been used in herbal remedies for centuries, and this is what gives it its wonderful fragrance.
'To enhance the fragrance dry the stems when they are in peak freshness,' says floral designer, Hazel Gardiner. 'Mist the leaves very gently with water during the drying process. This moisture will stop them drying out too quickly. We also mist with tiny sprays of natural eucalyptus oil to enhance the scent which naturally fades over time.'
5. HANG IN BUNDLES OR DISPLAY WITH DRIED GRASSES
'As eucalyptus turns into dusky tones, we love to mix it with other foliage with similar traits such as dusty miller or senecio,' says floral designer Hazel Gardiner. ' We also like to pair it with other dried elements such a feathery miscanthus grass, structural teasle and rudbeckia heads for a meadow style display. After events we repurpose eucalyptus by tying it with string and drying it upside down in bundles. This is also a great way to display it in your home. Hang it from a door hook for a wonderfully natural addition to a room.'
Hazel says that not all eucalyptus is created equal. 'The common cinera or Baby Blue can look rigid in a vase, so we like to dry other varieties such as eucalyptus Nicholii,' she says. 'It has a more subtle appeal with long, willowy, leaves.'
'Eucalyptus also makes superb year round wreaths,' says Philippa Craddock. 'Start with fresh stems and as they dry naturally, you will be left with a "forever" wreath to display indoors.'
Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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