- Growth and anatomy
- Treating Jasmine Leaf Drop: What To Do For Jasmine Plants Losing Leaves
- What Causes Leaves to Fall off Jasmine?
- What to Do for Jasmine Leaf Drop
- Who Should Grow A Jasmine Plant?
- What Types of Jasmine Are Best For Indoor Growing?
- What Kind Of Soil Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
- How Much Water Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
- How Much Sun Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
- How Do You Fertilize Jasmine?
- Do I Need A Trellis For My Jasmine Plant?
- How Do You Get A Jasmine Plant To Bloom?
- Can You Propagate Jasmine?
- Can I Put My Jasmine Plant Outside?
- Do I Need To Prune My Jasmine Plant?
- How Do I Encourage New Flower Buds On My Jasmine Plant?
- Should Jasmine Be Repotted?
- Why Does My Jasmine Plant Have White Growths?
- How Long Do Jasmine Plants Live?
- Common Questions When Growing Jasmine Indoors
- How to Preserve Leaves
- How to Preserve Leaves: Glycerin Method
- How to Preserve Leaves: Wax Paper Pressing Method
- How to Preserve Leaves: Microwave Method
- Method #1: Preserving leaves through lamination
- Method #2: Preserving leaves with wax paper
- Method #3: Preserving leaves with glycerin
- Best way to preserve leaves: The results
- One year later
- More resources for learning about leaves
- How to Preserve Leaves with Glycerin
- How to Preserve Leaves with Wax Paper
Growth and anatomy
The first rudiment of the young stem, or shoot, of an embryonic plant appears from the seed after the root has first protruded. The growing portion at the apex of the shoot is the terminal bud of the plant, and by the continued development of this bud and its adjacent tissues, the stem increases in height. Lateral buds and leaves grow out of the stem at intervals called nodes; the intervals on the stem between the nodes are called internodes. The number of leaves that appear at a node depends on the species of plant; one leaf per node is common, but two or or more leaves may grow at the nodes of some species. When a leaf drops off a stem at the end of a growing season, it leaves a scar on the stem because of the severing of the vascular (conducting) bundles that had connected stem and leaf. As the stem continues to grow, lateral buds are produced that develop into lateral shoots more or less resembling the parent stem, and these ultimately determine the branching of the plant. In trees the lateral shoots develop into branches, from which other lateral shoots, called branchlets, or twigs, arise. The point at which a leaf diverges in axis from a stem is called the axil. A bud formed in the axil of a previously formed leaf is called an axillary bud, and it, like the leaves, is produced from the tissues of the stem. During the development of such buds, vascular bundles are formed within them that are continuous with those of the stem.
stem anatomyA longitudinal section, left, and cross section, right, of a growing stem show the organization of various tissues for younger, top, and older, bottom, parts of the stem.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
In the stems of young dicotyledons (angiosperms with two seed leaves) and gymnosperms, the vascular bundles (xylem and phloem) are arranged in a circle around a central core of spongy ground tissue called the pith. Surrounding the vascular bundles is a layer that varies in thickness in different species and is called the cortex. Surrounding this and comprising the exterior surface of the stem is a layer called the epidermis. In plants with woody stems, a variety of secondary tissues are added to these primary tissues. Among the most important of these is a ring of meristematic cells that in turn give rise to the vascular cambium. This tissue arises between the primary xylem and phloem and gives rise to secondary phloem on the outside and secondary xylem on the inside; the latter tissue is the wood of trees.
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Treating Jasmine Leaf Drop: What To Do For Jasmine Plants Losing Leaves
Every year, a puzzling question thousands of gardeners ask is: why my jasmine is drying and losing leaves. Jasmine is a tropical plant that can be grown indoors or outside in warm conditions, the plant dropping leaves is usually because of some type of environmental factor. Jasmine leaves dropping off can be caused by too much attention, too little attention, and even nature itself. Not all jasmines need to be treated when their leaves drop, but when they do, it’s usually a matter of correcting a poor environment.
What Causes Leaves to Fall off Jasmine?
What causes leaves to fall off jasmine plants? When they’re unhappy in their environment, this is the first way the plants make it known. If your jasmine is getting too little water, the roots can’t move through the soil and collect nutrients. This can cause leaves to dry up and fall off.
Too much water can be just as bad for your plant. If you leave a puddle of water underneath the planter at all times, the roots can suffer from root rot. You may think you’re doing your jasmine plant a favor by giving it a regular source of water, but this is a case of having too much of a good thing.
If your jasmine is planted outside, cooler weather can cause it to drop its leaves. This is completely natural for many jasmine plants in the fall. The difference in this instance is that the leaves will turn yellow before dropping off, much like tree leaves changing colors before falling.
Lack of light can be another cause of jasmine plants losing leaves. If you’ve moved your potted plant from the outer deck indoors for the winter, it’s probably getting a lot less light than before. This will cause leaves to shed.
What to Do for Jasmine Leaf Drop
Treating jasmine leaf drop is a matter of correcting the bad environment. If the soil is too dry, water it more often or attach an automatic watering device to the planter.
If you’ve recently moved your jasmine plant indoors, place it under a fluorescent light for 16 hours a day, or move the planter to a spot where it will receive strong sunlight for most of the day.
For over-watered jasmine, remove the root ball from the planter and wash off all the soil. If some of the roots are black, soft or mushy, the plant has root rot. Clip off all the damaged roots and repot the plant with fresh potting soil. If you don’t see any root rot, place the root ball back in the planter and cut down on the watering. The jasmine plant should recover in about two weeks.
Fragrant, delicate, and exotic – there is so much to love about the vining, twining jasmine plant. If you’re looking for a delightful plant to grow indoors, look no further. Jasmine is the decorative indoor plant you have been looking for.
Many gardeners shy away from growing jasmine indoors, as they believe it will be too challenging a task. On the contrary, jasmine is not difficult to grow inside if the proper growing conditions are provided. With a bit of care and practice, jasmine can be cultivated indoors by even the most novice of gardeners.
If you’re considering growing jasmine indoors, consider these tips to help your plants survive and thrive in your home.
Who Should Grow A Jasmine Plant?
The short answer to this question? Anybody. Jasmine produces gorgeous winter blooms and sweet fragrances, releasing a delicate aroma late into the nighttime hours. If you prefer, you can also grow jasmine outdoors, growing it in a pot or hanging basket or even on a freestanding trellis. However, keep in mind that most kinds of jasmine are only hardy to zones 9 or 10.
Therefore, growing jasmine indoors is best for most gardeners. This versatile plant can easily be grown outdoors, but is best suited for indoor gardeners looking for a fragrant, attractive option that will decorate their homes during the dullest months of the winter season.
What Types of Jasmine Are Best For Indoor Growing?
Not all jasmine plants are fragrant, but many offer a unique aroma that can add to the overall appeal of your home or indoor garden. You should select a jasmine plant based on your growing zone, even if you are planning on growing your plant inside.
While your zone won’t play as much of a role in indoor gardening as it would if you were planting outside, keep in mind that factors like sunlight intensity and duration both affect how well your jasmine plant will grow inside as well as outdoors.
Common jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is a common type of jasmine that is often grown indoors. A woody vine, it can grow to well over ten feet in height and, when grown outdoors instead of inside, attracts numerous pollinators.
Smaller varieties of jasmine include Italian jasmine (Jasminum humile), showy jasmine (Jasminum floridum), and primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi). These types of jasmine don’t grow over ten feet in height and have sweet-smelling, trumpet-shaped flowers. While they are typically grown outside on a trellis, they can also be cultivated indoors, though this is less common.
Jasminum polyanthum is the most popular type of jasmine selected by indoor growers. Also known as winter or pink jasmine, it is a popular variety of jasmine that can grow in the winter and has a hardiness at USDA zones 6 to 10. It can tolerate a moderate frost and climbs as a vine to heights up to 15 feet tall. It can also be cultivated as a shrub.
This kind of jasmine produces pink buds and delicate white flowers in the winter and early spring, with clusters of blossoms that completely cover the entire plant. Blossoms normally appear in late February and continue blooming throughout the spring and early summer. While this plant is a vining species that is often grown outdoors on a trellis, it can easily be cultivated as a container plant.
When you purchase this kind of jasmine, it will be sold on rings when it is flowering. You can also purchase this sub-type of jasmine in indoor hanging baskets or repot it so that it grows in the format that is most convenient for you and your growing plans.
Jasminum polyanthum is native to southwest China and has a distinctive, fragrant perfume. It has dark leaves that are ideal for decorating your house in the dead of winter, and produces pink buds just when winter’s bland color palette (or lack thereof!) is beginning to set in for the long haul. This kind of jasmine was first introduced to English gardeners in 1931, and was propagated in the United States shorty after.
What Kind Of Soil Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
When you purchase jasmine plants, you will quite often receive them on rings, regardless of whether you purchase them at a brick-and-mortar nursery or order them from an online retailer. Jasmine is usually potted in late spring, with rooted cuttings growing rapidly (up to six inches a day!). These cuttings are pruned back in order to develop strong, branching plants, with their stems gradually trained to grow along a wire form. Flower buds usually first appear in early to late fall, at which point they are ready to be shipped.
Jasmine plants are often shipped with their buds already set, meaning there is a strong likelihood that, once you get your jasmine plant set up in ideal conditions, you will experience a huge explosion of blooms and foliar growth.
Jasmine plants prefer soils that are porous and well-draining. You can add materials like bark, coir, or other organic matter, which will help the soil drain and stay light and airy. You can also use sphagnum or peat moss to grow your jasmine, or even purchase a store bought potting mix. Ideally, a good potting mix will include a mixture of vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss. These mixes will help absorb moisture and resist compaction.
Keep in mind that if you are using a store bought potting mix, it will not contain any fertilizer. As a result, you will need to add nutrients on a regular basis to ensure your plant is thriving indoors. Despite this, however, store bought potting mixes are a good option for growing delicate jasmine, because they will be entirely sterile and won’t contain any diseases or pests.
How Much Water Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
Jasmine plants are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to their water requirements. They need little water in the period after their blooms decline (which is usually in early winter as well as early spring) but benefit from a moist growing environment throughout the rest of the year. You don’t want the soil to be soggy, but it should be damp to the touch at all times.
Water your jasmine plant once or twice a week. When you water, do so deeply so that moisture has a chance to penetrate through to the roots. I have a great guide about how to water indoor plants without making a mess which you should definitely check out.
Watering your plant every day but only for a moment is ill-advised. This practice, commonly but mistakenly regarded as the “right” way to water by many gardeners, will not allow water to reach the plant’s thirsty roots. By reducing the frequency but increasing the intensity of your watering patterns, you will keep your plant perfectly hydrated.
Due to the frequency that they need watered, you could try using a self-watering planter to maintain a moist environment for your Jasmine plant. Find out how self-watering planters work, and check out my favorite self-watering planters here.
Alternatively, a watering globe or watering spike will do a similar job, and is a good option to help water your Jasmine plant while you are on vacation, or to use on a regular basis. Here are some more options to water your houseplants while on vacation.
In the summer and early fall, you can allow your plant to dry out somewhat between waterings but you should try to keep the soil lightly moist. Your plant needs less water in the autumn months and more in the times when it is actively blooming.
Jasmine plants prefer rooms with slightly cooler temperatures, which is why they tend to thrive in the colder winter months. They are sensitive to the dry conditions that are created by radiators, vents, and wood-burning stoves, so it’s important that you keep an eye on the humidity as well as the location of your jasmine plant, as it’s not solely affected by the amount of sunlight it is receiving.
If you are having trouble with your jasmine plant drying out, there are several options for modifying the conditions without necessarily having to relocate your plant. For starters, you can run a humidifier near the plant. Jasmine plants need a relative humidity of about fifty percent or higher. If the air is any dryer than thirty or forty percent relative humidity, the plants’ roots won’t be able to keep up with the water lost through their leaves.
While misting your jasmine plants can help maintain a good humidity level, it can be hard to keep up with this strategy, as they will need to be misted every hour or so. Instead, cluster your jasmine plant so that it is located near other plants. You can also rest your plant in a tray filled with pebbles, adding water until it fills the tray to just below the tops of the pebbles.
Refilling the trays on a regular basis will help replace water lost through evaporation, while at the same time keeping the air near your plant moist and fresh. There are commercially produced humidifier trays that can also perform this function, but they are not necessary as you will need to fill the trays with water either way.
How Much Sun Does A Jasmine Plant Need?
Jasmine plants are delicate in that they need a very specific location in which to grow. Select a well-lit room or one that receives plenty of sun, as well as one that provides for good air circulation.
Jasmine plants can only tolerate about four hours of direct sunlight per day, but need even less than this during the winter. You may need to close your blinds or move your plant at certain times of the year if you find that your plant is getting too much sun.
Having your plant located in a southern-facing window can help improve its growth, as it will receive sunlight at its most critical times of growth. If your plants’ leaves have begun to droop, it is likely receiving too much sun and should be moved as soon as possible to a shadier location.
Remember to clean the leaves of your Jasmine plant every few months. All indoor plants will slowly accumulate dust on their leaves, and this can impair their ability to absorb sunlight and to thrive. Learn how to clean indoor plant leaves with this easy guide.
How Do You Fertilize Jasmine?
Jasmine can be fertilized in a number of ways. You can use a diluted houseplant food throughout the entire growing season, or add a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus only to prolong the time period in which your jasmine blossoms.
Jasmine should be fertilized every two to four weeks during the major growing season only, usually during spring and early fall. Don’t fertilize during the resting periods of late fall and winter, as this can damage your plant.
When you fertilize, make sure you use one that is water-soluble. Use a fertilizer that is designed for houseplants and mix it at only fifty percent of the rate suggested by the manufacturer. If you apply fertilizer at full strength, there is a chance that it can harm your jasmine.
Adding organic fertilizer is a great way to ensure your jasmine plant is receiving all of the nutrients it needs, without you having to worry about harming your plant with an excessively strong fertilizer.
Consider adding organic matter like aged compost, leaf mold, or composted peat. Ideally, the soil in your container should contain roughly twenty percent organic matter. This will keep it moist for longer, and will also introduce crucial microorganisms and micronutrients to your soil.
If you are adding a synthetic fertilizer, keep in mind that you will be adding only trace amounts of important micronutrients like sodium, calcium, and magnesium. These micronutrients are vital for the growth of your jasmine plant, yet synthetic fertilizers typically only contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
If you are growing jasmine indoors, you may need to add micronutrients that are naturally found in soil but are absent from fertilizers and potting mix.
If you repot your plants, make sure the mix is light and provides plenty of airspace for oxygen, water, and nutrients to travel through. Because you are growing your jasmine plant indoors, you will not have the benefit of natural organisms like earthworms and processes like the weather to till your soil.
Do I Need A Trellis For My Jasmine Plant?
In most cases, your plant will twine over natural supports on its own, leaning up against a shelf or wall for support when grown inside. However, you can choose to install an arch or another kind of trellis if you desire.
Otherwise, the twining growth will have no impact on the overall health and wellbeing of your jasmine plant, so the choice is merely a cosmetic one that can be left to your own discretion.
How Do You Get A Jasmine Plant To Bloom?
Jasmine plants naturally bloom in early autumn as well as in the spring, but some varieties can produce blooms continuously throughout the year. Winter jasmine, for example, often blooms long into the winter months.
If your plants aren’t blooming at these times, they likely have not been exposed to cool enough temperatures. You can place your plants near a south-facing window to help them grow indoors, and make sure you provide a trellis as well. A trellis will ensure that the plant has plenty of support as it begins to grow, increasing the likelihood that it will also put out fragrant blossoms.
If your plant is not blooming, there is also a chance that it was not exposed to cool enough temperatures in the fall. Jasmine is relatively cold tolerant and likes to experience several weeks of nighttime temperatures around forty degrees.
While you can’t do much to rectify this situation once autumn has passed, you can try to remedy the situation by placing your plant outside during the late summer and early fall of the following year.
Can You Propagate Jasmine?
The easiest way to propagate jasmine is to use cuttings. Cuttings should be roughly three to four inches of length, with two sets of leaves at the top. Place the cutting in a soil mixture that is well-draining and nutrient-dense.
Cover the cutting with a plastic tent or plastic wrap to help encourage growth and improve humidity. Then, place the plant in a well-lit room that is roughly 60 to 65 °F (15.5 to 18 °C).
In about four weeks, you will see your plant beginning to take root, as evidenced by lush new growth. Take the bag off as soon as growth emerges so as to avoid fungal growth, then let the plant grow until its roots completely fill the starter pot.
Can I Put My Jasmine Plant Outside?
In the summertime, jasmine plants can benefit from spending time outdoors, but you don’t need to transplant. Transplanting is, in fact, ill-advised in the case of jasmine, because they are too delicate for outdoor conditions.
Although they like cooler temperatures, they are not winter-hardy, and so you must make sure all danger of frost has passed before you begin transitioning the plant to outdoor growth.
However, when the weather warms up in late spring, you can put your jasmine plants in a sunny spot, either indoors or out, to encourage more rapid growth. Before you introduce the plant to full sun, consider placing it in the shade first for a few days, which will allow it to harden off somewhat on its own.
The plant will tolerate warmer temperatures, but really needs to be exposed to four or five weeks of nighttime temperatures that range between 40 to 55 °F (4.5 to 12.5 °C), with days that have plenty of sunlight. You should still bring the plant inside before a frost, but getting into the habit of bringing you plant outside and exposing it to consistent light that is not artificial will help it bloom more successfully in late winter.
Placing your jasmine plant outdoors in the summer is not necessary, but can help increase the frequency and duration of your plant’s bud formation.
Jasmine will typically set buds during the first six weeks of autumn, give or take, depending on your area’s climate and whether or not you have put the plant outside at all. Putting your plant outside encourages the formation of flower buds for the following winter.
Do I Need To Prune My Jasmine Plant?
Jasmine can be pruned as necessary, which will help control the size of your plant and keep it in a desirable shape. However, you should not prune after August, because this is when your plant will set flower buds.
When you start to see new growth on your plant, you should begin pinching the stems. This will help promote further growth and is best done during the first two years’ of the plant’s life. Only pinch the top of the stem, and prune once blooming has finished for the season.
When you prune, remove any dead foliage or tangled pieces. Never remove more than a third of the plant at one time, and make sure you are removing any dead or diseased areas of the plant.
If you want your plant to grow in a specific direction (such as, for example, it has begun to encroach into an area where you don’t want its vines to travel), you can also prune it accordingly.
How Do I Encourage New Flower Buds On My Jasmine Plant?
Jasmine usually produces fresh new buds on its own, but it can be concerning if you find that your plant is not flowering. Before panicking, remember that indoor jasmine often takes a period of rest in the fall.
To optimize this rest period, make sure your jasmine is completely shrouded in darkness at night. If you have your jasmine in a windowsill that receives artificial light (such as from streetlights), consider putting it in a closet at night for the fall months.
If it’s not the rest period and your plant still is not producing new flower buds, there are several other factors to check. A lack of flower buds is commonly caused by over-fertilizing with nitrogen, which directs energy to growing foliage.
To remedy this, fertilize with a phosphorus heavy plant food. This will allow your plant’s growth to shoot into high gear without compromising the health of your plant.
Sometimes, the case may be that your plant has simply outgrown its container. Repotting your jasmine plant into a larger container can prevent your plant from becoming root bound and allow it to blossom freely.
Finally, if you have tried all these solutions and still are not having any luck, consider your growing conditions. Make sure you are growing jasmine at the proper temperatures, with proper moisture and soil conditions, and with the proper amount of sunlight and circulation. These factors play a major role in the sensitive blossoming cycles of jasmine plants.
Should Jasmine Be Repotted?
Unlike many other houseplants, jasmine can wait for a long time before needing to be repotted. It actually thrives when it’s a bit snug in its container, so you really need to wait until it has totally outgrown its container before repotting it.
Beyond that, repotting jasmine is relatively easy. It should be repotted in the spring, but only when the roots have wrapped themselves around inside the pot. When it is time to repot your Jasmine plant, its a good opportunity to pick a planter that will enhance the beauty of your home or that ties in with your decor. Check out some of my favorite indoor planters here.
When you have more roots than soil, it’s time to repot. While this can be tricky to determine, you can usually tell your plant is ready to be repotted when you water it and it needs watering again after only a day or two.
When you move the plant, be careful not to damage its delicate roots, and prune them as needed before moving them to fresh soil. To start, lay the plant on some old newspaper. Extract the root ball from the pot, and loosen them with your hands. Try to get rid of as much excess soil as possible.
Cut off any long strands of roots that are wrapped around the root ball before making four or five vertical slices in the sides of the ball. Space the slices out, which will encourage new root develop, and then replant with fresh potting soil in a container that is roughly two inches larger in diameter than the previous pot.
Why Does My Jasmine Plant Have White Growths?
If you notice that your jasmine plant has white, cotton-like growths under its leaves and stems, there is a strong likelihood that your plant has been infested with mealybugs.
These pests feed on the sap within the leaves and stems of many plants. While in small numbers they don’t do a lot of harm, increasing numbers will cause leaf yellowing and curling.
Luckily, these pests are easy to get rid of. First, remove all of the masses that you can when you are pruning. Then, lightly douse a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and then brush it gently over the affected areas. This will help to get rid of mealybugs now and also help to prevent them in the future.
Other pests that are known to afflict jasmine plants are caterpillars, whiteflies, aphids, and mites. Of these, aphids are more likely to be found indoors than the others. They can be eliminated by manually removal, but that requires you to be vigilant and inspect your plant regularly for signs of bugs.
You can also create a pesticide out of dish soap and warm water that you can lightly mist on the leaves of the plant. This will help get rid of aphids, as well as most other pests your plants may come into contact with, too.
How Long Do Jasmine Plants Live?
Like many indoor houseplants, jasmine has the ability to live for quite some time when cared for properly. Healthy jasmine vines can live for several years as long as you keep them well-pruned and placed in fresh potting soil.
Common Questions When Growing Jasmine Indoors
Why Are My Jasmine Leaves Wilting?
Jasmine leaves often wilt as the result of fungal diseases. The most common to affect jasmine, like all other tropical plants, are blight and rust, which can damage your leaves and discolor your foliage. They can pass to younger stems or cuttings, so it’s important to get rid of these diseases as quickly and effectively as possible. Jasmine plants are also quite thirsty, so underwatering is another common cause of wilting.
How Do I Get Rid Of Fungal Disease In My Jasmine Plant?
Fashion a DIY fungicide out of baking soda and water to help get rid of the growth, and provide plenty of aeration and engage in proper watering techniques as a method of preventing the diseases in the first place.
Is Jasmine Poisonous?
Jasmine is non-toxic to humans, cats and dogs, so you can safely put Jasmine anywhere in your house without concern. If you need some further ideas for non-toxic houseplants, here is my list of the most beautiful houseplants that are safe for cats.
If you’ve been inspired to learn more about growing Jasmine and other houseplants, head over to my recommended resources section. This will help you choose the best books, tools, and resources to help you improve your knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of gardening.
How to Preserve Leaves
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Have you surveyed the amazing colors of autumn and wondered how to preserve leaves?
If so, you’re not alone.
Autumn foliage season moves quickly. Once the leaves stop producing chlorophyll and morph from green to orange, yellow, or red, it means they’re getting ready to drop.
(This link will help you learn more about leaves.)
This process protects deciduous trees as they prepare for winter.
There are several ways to preserve leaves from the trees in your yard. Keep reading for directions for three popular methods, including free printables for each project.
You’ll need up to a week to use these three methods.
Adult supervision recommended.
How to Preserve Leaves: Glycerin Method
One method of leaf preservation is to put them into a glycerin/water solution. This will preserve your leaves yet leave them relatively flexible.
This preserving method works because the natural moisture present in the leaves is replaced by the glycerin solution, maintaining the leaf’s texture and form.
What You Need:
- Flat pan or disposable plates
- A weight or something to keep leaves submerged
What You Do:
- Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. You only need enough to submerge the leaves — about one cup.
- Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. (Tip: try using two Styrofoam or other disposable plates. Put leaves and enough glycerin solution to just lightly cover the leaves in the bottom of one plate. Then put the other plate on top of the leaves and solution. Now you can put a weight of your choosing on the top plate without getting the weight in the solution.)
- Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for 2-6 days.
- Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel. They should feel soft and pliable.
How to Preserve Leaves: Wax Paper Pressing Method
One of the most common ways to preserve leaves is by pressing them between wax paper.
- Wax paper
- Thin towel or paper
- Ironing board
- Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
- Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
- Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
- Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
- Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.
How to Preserve Leaves: Microwave Method
Thanks to everyday technology, there is another way to preserve autumn leaves. This method requires using a microwave.
- Fresh leaves that have not dried out
- Paper towels
- Acrylic spray from a craft store
- Arrange the leaves on top of two paper towels. Lay another towel over the leaves to cover them.
- Microwave the leaves for 30-180 seconds. Be very attentive and careful. Leaves that are cooked in the microwave too long can catch fire. The drier the leaves, the less time they will need. Leaves that curl after removal from the microwave have not been in long enough. Leaves that are scorched have been in there too long. Only dry them for a few seconds at a time.
- Let the leaves sit for a day or two and then finish by spraying an acrylic sealant on both sides of the leaves.
Compare the texture and color of the leaves after using the different preserving methods. Did one method work well for a particular tree species, but another method work better for a different tree species? What do you conclude about what happens to the leaves during the different preserving processes? If you’d like, use a tree identification guide for help identify the leaves of different species.
- Try this leaf chromatography experiment to discover the different color pigments in leaves. The results might surprise you!
- You might also enjoy pressing leaves (or flowers) in a plant press.
- If “veins” and “bones” don’t scare you, try this Leaf Skeleton project.
Sharing is caring – thank you for spreading the word!
Perhaps the most enduring symbol of fall is the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. In our area, the leaves generally don’t begin changing color much until at least late September, but sometimes not even until late October. Last year we collected a number of beautiful fall leaves, and we thought it would be fun to try different ways of preserving them.
The trouble was figuring out what the best way to preserves leaves is! I read about several different methods online. Ultimately, we decided to test out three different methods for preserving leaves to see which method we liked best.
Note: For more leaf activities, see my Botany Unit Study page.
Our whole adventure started with a trip to a local park where were collected a nice variety of fall leaves. We then sorted the leaves by type. We took one sample of each type of leaf to use with each of our three leaf preservation methods.
Method #1: Preserving leaves through lamination
The first method we attempted was to preserve the leaves by laminating them. I pulled out our awesome home laminator and a bunch of laminating pouches. I placed as many leaves as would fit into each laminating pouch and ran it through the laminator. The laminator struggled a bit with some of the stiff and bumpy leaves, but otherwise handled the job fairly well.
I then cut around the leaves, leaving a bit of laminating plastic around each to maintain a seal around the leaf.
We generally liked the results. The leaves were shiny and smooth from the plastic. They felt very sturdy, like they would hold up for a long time. However, by laminating them they lost some of their “leaf” feel, since they now felt like plastic instead of leaves. Some, but not all, of the leaves also discolored from the heat of the laminator machine, very quickly turning a dark brown.
Method #2: Preserving leaves with wax paper
In an attempt to preserve the leaves with wax, I placed the leaves between two sheets of wax paper and we ironed them between a towel. (Note: an adult should carefully supervise if children are allowed to use the iron. Use good judgement when deciding whether your children are ready to use an iron.)
We ironed and ironed and ironed for what seemed like a very long time, but never got the results we had hoped. There were problems regardless of whether we left the wax paper on or took it off.
Leaving the wax paper was not appealing because the color of the leaves was so muted by the wax paper. Plus, the wax paper didn’t hold together well like the laminating pouches, but just started falling off the leaves. However, taking the wax paper off the leaves didn’t seem to work either, since when we took the wax paper off it was clear that very little wax had transferred to the leaves in order to preserve them.
So this method was a bust for us. But I’ve read that it has worked for others. Maybe we just had a bad brand of wax paper?
Method #3: Preserving leaves with glycerin
The third method we tried was to preserve the leaves with glycerin. I placed a handful of leaves in the bottom of a container. I then added enough glycerin to cover them. I put another container on top and weighed it down with a jar in order to ensure the leaves would stay submerged in the glycerin.
We left the leaves in the glycerin for a week. It may be possible to leave them in for less time, but based on information I’ve read online I would recommend leaving them in for at least 3 days. When we removed them from the glycerin, we placed them on paper towels to let them dry.
We were generally pleased with the results. The leaves maintained a more natural feel. They remained pliable and had their regular texture, unlike the laminated leaves. Some of the glycerin-preserved leaves became discolored soon after they were removed from their glycerin bath.
Best way to preserve leaves: The results
After our experiment with finding the best way to preserve leaves, the kids and I discussed our results.
XGirl like the laminated leaves best, as she enjoyed the very glossy feel. She also liked how sturdy they were.
QBoy, on the other hand, preferred the glycerin soaked leaves for their more leaf-like feel.
I found benefits to both methods. The laminated leaves were very sturdy, and might work best if the leaves were to be used in any capacity in which the kids could be rough on them. The glycerin leaves, however, definitely felt more natural, so would be best when a more natural feeling leaf was desired.
We all agreed that the wax paper leaves did not work.
One year later
One year later, both the glycerin and the laminated leaves continue to be in good shape. I had wondered how much decomposition would take place, but both the laminated leaves and the glycerin-soaked leaves continue to look virtually as they did when we did this experiment one year ago.
For more information about preserving leaves, see:
- How to preserve leaves from Buggy and Buddy
- Preserving leaves from Home Training Tools
More resources for learning about leaves
More leaf posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- The best way to preserve leaves
- Leaf anatomy
- How leaves “breathe”: A transpiration demonstration
- How leaves get water
- How and why leaves change color in the fall
- Leaf collages art project
- Leaf rubbings activity book
- Fall leaves Sudoku
- Fall leaves lacing cards
For more leaf activities, see my Botany Unit Study page and my Leaves Unit Study Pinterest board.
Follow Katie @ Gift of Curiosity’s board Unit Ideas: Leaves on Pinterest.
Products mentioned in this post:
Have you ever wondered how to preserve leaves? We tried out two different methods- one using glycerin and one using wax paper. Here are our results and how you can try with kids for a fun fall craft!
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Once the first local trees started changing colors, I went out with my family to collect some beautiful autumn leaves that had fallen. We brought the leaves home and read up on different ways to preserve them. We settled on trying out one method using glycerin and another method using wax paper. Our goal was to try to preserve the color so we could use the preserved leaves in some fall crafts! (This post contains affiliate links.)
How to Preserve Leaves with Glycerin
- Glycerin (We found ours in the first-aid section of our local drug store.)
- Two baking dishes, containers, or trays that can stack together
- Fall leaves
1. Place your leaves in one of your containers. (We used a large plastic storage container.)
2. Mix 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water. (Since we used a fairly large container, we mixed 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of glycerin.)
3. Pour the mixture over the leaves.
4. Stack the second container on top of the first container so that it keeps the leaves submerged in the mixture.
5. Let the leaves soak for at least 3 days.
6. Remove the leaves from the mixture and blot them dry with a paper towel. Then let them completely dry.
How to Preserve Leaves with Wax Paper
- Wax Paper
- Two thin towels
- Surface to iron on
- Fall leaves
1. Turn your iron on a high setting that does not use steam.
2. Lay one towel down onto your ironing surface. Lay a piece of wax paper on the towel.
3. Place your fall leaves onto the wax paper in a single layer.
4. Lay another piece of wax paper on top of the leaves.
5. Place the second towel on top of the wax paper.
6. Iron the leaves for about 20-30 seconds.
7. Flip everything over and iron the other side for another 20-30 seconds.
8. Let everything cool.
9. Remove the towel. Slowly and carefully peel off the top layer of wax paper. Then gently peel the leaves off the second piece of wax paper.
*We placed these leaves inside a heavy book while we waited for our other leaves to finish in the glycerin.
The kids and I decided we liked the feel of the leaves soaked in glycerin the most. They were soft and could be gently bent without breaking. And we liked the shininess of the leaves ironed in wax paper.
We found that some leaves kept their color longer than others. Our deep red leaves have kept their color for over a month now! The pinkish leaves also seemed to keep their color fairly well. The yellow leaves we had found didn’t keep their color well with either method. They eventually turned a light brown.
Trying it Yourself
I would definitely recommend trying these methods at home or in the classroom with your kids. It’s such a fun activity and you can even turn it into a wonderful learning experience. Take a walk with the kids and collect some of your own fall leaves. You can then compare the texture and color of the leaves after trying out both methods.
Fun Ways to Use Pressed Leaves
- Have you read the book, Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert? It’s one of our favorite fall books! You can use your leaves to create some leaf creatures just like in the story!
- Why not use your thread your leaves to make some beautiful fall decorations!
- We used our leaves to make a fall leaf mobile. We simply tied our leaves to an old embroidery hoop using beading thread.