Preserving Plants: Learn How To Dry Flowers And Foliage

Upside Down Bouquets Of Flowers Drying
dry flower hanging
(Image credit: 9c726_509)

Creating dried flower arrangements is a fun hobby and can turn into a lucrative side job. Preserving plants to use in these arrangements is not difficult. You can begin this easy chore by growing plants and flowers to dry and use in dried flower arrangements.

How to Dry Flowers

Drying flowers and foliage is most often done by a method called air drying. This is a simple process that involves using a rubber band to secure small bunches of flowers together and hanging them to dry. When learning how to dry flowers, you'll find it's best to hang these bunches upside down.

Preserving plants by drying removes moisture so that dried flower arrangements last for longer periods of time. When hanging flowers to dry, put them in a cool, dark space. Any dark room with gentle air circulation works. Drying flowers and foliage by hanging usually takes two to three weeks. The darkness helps retain color when preserving plants.

Other Ways of Preserving Plants

Some flowers and foliage don't dry well by hanging, or you may not have room to hang flowers. Try preserving plants with a drying agent, called a desiccant. The drying agent may be borax, cornmeal, or preferably silica gel. When using borax, mix it with cornmeal and a few teaspoons (15 ml.) of salt, so the color does not bleach from the flowers.

Place the drying agent in a box or container with a tight-fitting lid. Add the flowers and foliage. Gently cover the entire flower and stem to be preserved. Make mounds to hold flower heads and then cover gently with the drying agent, using a spoon. Dumping the desiccants on delicate petals may damage the flower.

Flowers are dry when they feel papery. The time frame for drying plants this way depends on the size of the plant material, how much moisture it holds, and which drying agent you are using. Typically, flowers are dry in two to three weeks using this method.

Pressing blooms in a phone book is another means of drying flowers. Locate them between the pages and place a heavy object on top of the phone book. Pressing is not the ideal way to preserve flowers for dried flower arrangements but is a good way to save a flower from a special occasion.

Growing Plants and Flowers to Dry

Many flowers and foliage plants that are already growing in your garden will look great in dried flower arrangements. Some of these include:

Take the time to preserve the flowers properly and you can create a long-lasting work of beauty.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.