Picking Flowers

  • Choose only the best flowers, since drying will emphasize imperfections.
  • Pick late in the morning when plants are dry but not wilted from heat and sun.
  • Select flowers at different stages of development, from buds to fully open blossoms. Flowers will open further as they dry.
  • Blue, orange and pink flowers will retain the best color when dried.
  • If you can't begin drying your flowers immediately, immerse them in a bucket of lukewarm water in a cool, dry place.

Air Drying

All you need to air dry your flowers is a warm, dry place with adequate air circulation. Attics, potting sheds and garages are ideal.

Most plants dry best when tied in bunches and hung upside down. Make sure the plants are dry, then tie them and remove all leaves, unless they also dry well. Tie 6 to 10 stems together about two inches from the stem ends, or use a rubber band to fasten them together. Your plants are thoroughly dry when the stems snap easily. This can take up to three weeks.

Chinese lanterns, baby's breath, poppy seed-heads and globe thistles dry better right-side up. Simply place the plants in a wide-mouth jar or coffee can to dry.

When drying ageratums, hydrangeas, yarrows, alliums, bells-of-Ireland and heather, place them right-side up in a container with about 1/2-inch of water in the bottom. As the plants dry the water will evaporate.

Because they are top-heavy, it's best to dry fennel, dill, Queen-Anne's-lace and edelweiss by placing the stems through the holes in 1/4-inch hardware cloth. The hardware cloth will support the heavy heads, while the stems hang loosely below.

Globe Amaranth, strawflowers and immortelle have weak stems. These stems should be removed and replaced with florist's wire before the flower is dried. Cut the plant stem off 1/2-inch below the flower and insert floral wire up through the remaining stem and out through the center of the flower. Make a hook at the top of the wire, and pull it back down into (but not all the way through) the flower. The stem will shrink and dry tightly around the wire. Once the flower is dry, wrap floral tape around the stem and wire.

To strengthen you dried flowers, spray them with clear lacquer, hair spray or clear craft spray.

Microwave Drying

You will have to test a few plants to determine the drying time. Two minutes set on "high" is a good starting point. Put the plant material inside folded paper towels, and place a dish on top of them to keep the leaves and petals from curling. Place a small dish of water in the microwave with the flowers.

Desiccant Drying

Flowers dried in desiccants retain the best color and shape. Silica desiccants are the most popular, and can be purchased at hobby and craft stores. Follow the package directions for best results.

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