Ferns are one of the oldest plant types in the world and throughout history people have preserved fern leaves for their simple, striking form. Whether you are a plant collector or just looking for a nice decoration for your home, you can preserve ferns and other leaves easily by drying them. While many commercial preservatives are on the market, leaves can also be preserved naturally and without the use of chemicals. Preserved plant materials will not decay and many will survive for many years as long as they are properly stored.
Cut a leaf or fern branch off a plant, making the cut at the node where the branch or leaf grows. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle to promote new budding where the cut is made. Pick the leaf or branch at midday when water and food levels in the plant are at their lowest.
Bunch the stems of all the branches or leaves together loosely using a rubber band.
Tie a string to the rubber band and hang the leaves upside-down near a window, in the sun. Place the leaves or branches in an area with good air circulation.
Hang the leaves until thoroughly dry; one to three weeks.
Untie the leaves and arrange them right-side-up in a decorative vase.