How to dry flowers

Drying flowers will preserve their beauty and extend their lifespan.

Here’s our simple guide on how to dry flowers:

Choose the right flowers – Some flowers dry better than others. Flowers with low moisture content, sturdy petals, and vibrant colours tend to dry well. Examples include roses, lavender, hydrangea and herbs like thyme and rosemary.  At this time of the year Hydrangea heads are very popular for drying. The best method is to cut the flower head and stem when the blooms start to turn crispy in texture while still retaining colour, place into a jar of water and leave to dry with stem sitting in water.

Harvest time – It’s best to harvest flowers for drying just before they reach full bloom. At this stage, they have the highest concentration of essential oils and are less likely to wilt during the drying process.

Air Drying

The general rule for most flowers is to pick when the blooms are ½ – ¾ of the way open as they will keep opening while they hang to dry. Picking them too late may cause them to go mouldy. Remove any foliage (it can go a bit yucky) and some varieties of flower may require wiring to attach the heads to the stems – otherwise the heads may flop. You can hang them upside down or you can place them in a vase or bucket, allowing the stems to arch over the container. This can add some dimension to your dried flower bouquet instead of having all straight stems in a bunch. Keep flowers out of direct sunlight when drying and displaying as this will cause the colours to fade.

Bunching – Gather the flowers into small bunches. A rubber band or string can be used to secure the stems together.

Hanging –  Hang the bunches upside down in a dark, dry, and well-ventilated space. This could be a cupboard, attic or a dry garage.

Monitor their progress – Check on the flowers regularly during the drying process. The time required for drying varies depending on the flower type, size, and drying method. Flowers are dry when they feel papery to the touch and are stiff.

Using silica gel

Colour changing silica gel crystals are ideal as you can “reset” them in the oven and use over and over. Use a little paintbrush to carefully remove all silica gel beads from in-between petals. Small grains of silica gel beads or silica sand is better to use as the larger beads can indent the petals. Always wear a mask and gloves. It can take weeks to dry some flowers, all dependent on moisture content.

Remember that not all flowers are suitable for drying, and the success of the drying process depends on factors like humidity, temperature, and the condition of the flowers you start with. Experimenting with different methods can help you find the approach that works best for the specific flowers you’re working with.