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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