How to Preserve Boxwood in Twenty Days

Fresh wreaths are the best ones but they dry out!! I’m going to have some guests in early December,  and I want to have wreaths up.  I decided to try preserving boxwood and making wreaths that, hopefully, will last until Christmas and perhaps be stored for next year.  I visited a lot of bloggers and asked questions, but ultimately, everyone had a slightly different approach on how to preserve boxwood.  I ended up talking with a local floral supply store and followed their insructions.    Here’s the end result..

Wreath on Chair 2

This process takes more time and patience than supplies. However you will need 20 days and the following for two jars of the mixture .  I doubled what is listed below and made enough for four Mason jars — each with about 3-4 inches of liquid in the jar.

  • One cup Glycerin (I found mine in the soap making area of Hobby Lobby). $4
  • Two tablespoons Absorbit Floral Dye – Holiday Green (floral supply store). $9
  • One tablespoon absorbic acid (if you are a home canner, you’ll already have this)
  • One and one-half cups hot water
  • Wire wreaths
  • Floral wire
  • Boxwood clippings
  • Gloves
  • Spoon to mix the above
  • Two Mason jars

Boxwood Lineup


Day One

Start by taking boxwood cuttings about 8 inches in length.


Prepare your mixture of glycerin, dye and hot water. I used Mason jars for this project.    Stir your dye and hot water until it is blended, and then add the glycerin and absorbic acid.

The Absorbit Floral Dye is not green in its dry form. It looks like chili powder.



Don’t be mislead.  This is a bright green dye.  Wear gloves or you’ll look like the Jolly Green Giant.

Green Dye

Trim the lower branches of your boxwood, snip the end of the stem one more time and immediately place in the mixture in the jar and mixture.     If possible, work outside because of the dye.


All the stems are sitting in the preservation liquid in the picture below   These actually look pretty, but there is no way I’d leave them sitting out. The disaster potential is just too high with all this bright green dye. I hid them in a far away corner of the garage. Here’s one completed jar ready to be carefully walked to its hiding spot.

Jar ready to go

Day 10

By this time, your cuttings are ready to start drying.   When removing the cuttings from the jars, it’s best to do this outside allowing excess dye to drain off the stems.   Here’s a few of mine just lying on the grass.  Note the bright, holiday green stems:

Cuttings AFter

Following this step, place the cuttings on newspaper on top of plastic and allow them to dry for ten days.   I did this in my garage floor in an out-of-the-way corner, and I checked on them once during the 10-day period.     They were still there….still green!   Interesting side effect, you’ll now have some green jars.

Green Jars

If this green does not wash off, I’m going to place white carnations in the jars for Christmas.

Day 20

You are ready to make your wreath(s). All that is required now is your wreath form, floral wire and your talent and patience in tucking and wiring the branches.

Wreath and Wire

I have a few stems still sticking out, but I like the casual look of the wreath. It does not look like it was made in a “production” environment.   My two little wreaths will go on the back of barstools in the kitchen.   A few pictures of my first completed wreath. I took these outside because the light is so much better.   Check out that sweet little nose in the right hand side of the picture.  She helped me.

Wreath on Chair


Here’s another…I’m not even sure if I’ll add a bow but I will tidy it up a little bit…I see a green stem sticking out.

Wreath on Chair Cropped

From my four jars, I have enough to make two wreaths like this with a small amount of boxwood left over.   The plants did not absorb all of the liquid so I started four more jars of cuttings.   I plan to make one larger wreath from this batch.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.      Roslyn Beaule



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  1. Very pretty wreaths. I’m doing good to get my tree up.

  2. Those are so pretty!!! You make me feel so lame! I have a wreath I’ve had for 6-7 years and as long as the lights stay lit I’ll use it!! LOL!

  3. helene holbrook says:

    In prepping and planning for daughter’s wedding here at farm next summer, your ideas feed my creative juices. The preservation will keep greens for a while. I want a big greens wreath over barn door, could get started now on these future projects. Many thanks for a glimpse into your creative mind and idea how you keep such a wonderful home!
    Thanks Eva.

  4. wondering if I made a boxwood garland using this process, would it hold up for 3 months to use at my daughter’s wedding for ceremony decor?

    • Jessica — my little round wreaths held up last year. I stored them in boxes wrapped in tissue and I was careful when I pulled them out…they did shed a little bit and they were prickly, but they were still preserved and they had been in the attic 11 months. I think you would be fine preserving the garland this way so long as it was stored in a safe place until you bring it back out.

      Let me know if it works!!

  5. Hi. I have been wanting to try this for some time now but I cannot get my hands on the Absorbit dye. Do you know where you can find it without a wholesale license?

    • Katrina…I got it from a wholesale florist. I just paid the retail price. If you have a wholesale florist in your area, give them a call and ask.

  6. Elise Vandenberk says:

    Just wondering if you can use green food colouring

    • Elise

      I wondered the same thing. I did not try it, because I’d read that it would not work. However, one thing I’ve learned about the internet. You cannot believe everything. If you try it, please let me know.

  7. You can buy glycerin in bulk here:

    I am going to trim my huge boxwood tree/bush and will have a ton to preserve.

  8. What’s absorbic acid for? Is it to prevent fungus growth? If that’s the case, I am thinking about using beach.

    • Hi Tony,

      I think the absorbic acid helps deliver the green color that feeds into the leaves and keeps them from fading to a brown. One thing I’ve learned though with boxwoods is that if you’re just wanting them to look good for one season, they do not need to be preserved. They will look good, although they do get a bit brittle, right on up until spring.

      Good luck!


  9. Thank you for these great instructions! I made boxwood wreaths for Christmas last year but didn’t preserve them but would like to try. I’ve bought a dried wreath one time that left a mark on my wall from the drying process. Have you found this to be a problem when you dried your own?

    • Hi Cindy,

      I’m sorry I did not respond. I have not kept this blog up as I did in the past. I did not hang mine on the wall, so I’m not sure how this would work out. I hung mine on the backs of chairs, windows and doors.


      • No worries:) Thank you for your reply:) One more quick question. I am just finishing up my first attempt at preserving the boxwood and I noticed there was more of the preservative mixture left in the bottom of the jars. Can I reuse it for another batch?

  10. I’m looking to preserve a eucalyptus garland in a similar way, I’ve only seen info regarding the glycerin/water mix, haven’t seen anything about the dye. My question is that I can’t really seem to find info on is how soon you have to do this? I received the garland last friday (it’s now tuesday), they overnighted the garland to me so I’m assuming it was a day or two old at most when they sent it. So it’s about 5-6 days old at this point. They say the garland can last anywhere from 5-14 days. In your research- did you see anything about how soon to start the preservation process with glycerin? Right when you get the fresh plant or is it ok after you’ve had it for a week or so? I want to order some online since I will need quite a bit and everything in the store is such small amounts but I’m worried that if I start the process in a few days it will be too late. I would very much appreciate it if you let me know if you found any info on this. Thanks!

  11. I already have a very expensive topiary that is starting to fade. Can I paint the solution on an already made product ?

    • Karen — I do not know. Since it is made to absorb through the root system of the plant, I believe it might possibly kill it if you painted it on.


  1. […] etc.   Lo and behold, I had an “E”.  The rest is the preserved boxwood wreath (read How to Preserve Boxwood in 20 Days here) I made last week and a couple of pieces of […]

  2. […] have enjoying using the preserved boxwood made last month. I don’t have to worry about it drying out. Here’s one of the wreath […]

  3. […] That green stuff on the table (above picture)? It’s my preserved boxwood wreaths stacked up.   This is definitely something you should try if you like miniature wreaths.  It’s easy, and while the wreaths are brittle at this point, they are still green and can be used again.   (I’m assuming that everyone reading saw the post on how to preserve boxwood, but just in case it’s here!) […]

  4. […] be doing more boxwod preservation.  Here’s a picture of one of the boxwood wreaths and a link to that post.     Simple elegance.   So what if it had dropped a few leaves on the […]

  5. […] preserved some of these a few years ago.  That post (here it is if you’re interested) has been viewed thousands of times.   I didn’t try that this time because it takes about […]

  6. […] when you tuck fresh boxwood into a grapevine wreath.   A few years ago I preserved the boxwood (here’s the post)  and used it for a couple of seasons.   Here’s an old picture of the preserved boxwood […]

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