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Thread: Preserving old pitchers

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    swords's Avatar
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    I was wondering if it was possible to preserve a Nepenthes pitcher and leaf? You know how they dry flowers with some kind of silica dust? Would it be possible to use the same process on a pitcher?

    I know, I need more things to think about! 8-)

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    Hairspray helps with flowers. Silica gel will just suck out all the moisture, not sure about preserving shape though. Hairspray contains plastic (this is why you hold your breath, cover your eyes, and wipe your ears), so it sorta petrifies it in a way when used in mass quantities... Dump it in maybe, hehehhee...

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    My sister dries orchids using silica gel powder and has great success. They keep their form and are preserved quite nicely. She admits that reds and whites are the hardest to dry however.
    Whites tend to loose thier brightness and reds turn pink after time.

    I bet nepenthes would work great because they are so woody and quite a bit less fragile than orchids even. You would probably want to cut a fresh pitcher off while its still ripe and beautiful looking (which I suppose your plant won't like all that much)... then dump out the fluids and then you'd probably want to carefull fill the pitcher with some silica before laying it in a bed of more silica. You really want the whole thing emmersed for the most even drying.

    You can find lots of info on the net and of course silica gel powder comes with directions. I'm sure if you are careful and follow the directions to the letter, it will work out great.

    Oh and come to think of it, I've seen dried sarracenia pitchers in dried flower arrangements. if those would work, nepenthes should work too.

    Here's a something about silica gel, which i stole off a website:

    "Silica Gel: This is perhaps the easiest and best methods of drying flowers. It is also the most expensive. You can dry ageratum, snapdragon, aster, calendula, cosmos, daisies, dahlia, candytuft, bells of Ireland and a host of other flowers with this material.

    Silica Gel looks like sugar and has the capacity of absorbing up to 40 percent of its weight in water. The material is blue when dry but turns pink when the crystals have taken up all the water they can. You can dry it out for re-use in a warm oven of about 250 degrees for a half hour.

    Take all of the foliage off first; if the stems are fragile, it's best to cut them off and dry only the flower head. Later, a false stem may be wired on. Put silica gel (about 1 inches deep) in a fruit cake tin or similar container with a tight cover. Insert the stem ends in the Silica Gel powder, spacing them so the petals don't touch. Long spiky clusters like snapdragon must be laid horizontally on the silica gel. Cover the flower heads with silica gel; put the lid on the tin and seal it with masking tape. It takes 5 to 7 days for the flowers to dry. Take flowers out and re-use the silica gel."
    author: Jo Mercer

    Wow, after you try it make sure you post a follow up.

    (Edited by whispersiren at 10:59 pm on May 8, 2002)

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info folks!

    I think I will give it a try and see how it works. It would be neat to have a good mature pitcher of each of my plants preserved.

    How fragile are silica dried plants/flowers? I know what silk ones are like but I don't know that I've ever seen/touched actual dried flowers.

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