When most of us think about flowers, we picture living plants, either fresh cut and displayed in a vase, or still growing in a flowerpot or in the ground. However, just because flowers die, that doesn’t mean that they need to be thrown out. In fact, you can air-dry your flowers with a few simple steps and preserve their beauty. Dried flowers can be stored away, or they can be used in any number of other ways around the home. So, how do you air-dry flowers?
Start with the Right Flowers
Before you get too far into the air-drying process, make sure you’ve chosen the right flowers. You cannot dry just any old flowers – you want to start with those that have not completely opened yet. You want flowers that are almost in full bloom, but not quite there yet.
Next up, you’ll need to trim the flowers you intend to dry. Remove any leaves from the lower portions of the stem, but try to keep as many blooms on the stem as possible. You just want to clean the bottom half of the stem.
Once you’ve trimmed your flowers, it’s time to bundle them together. To do this, simply bunch them together and then use twine or string to tie them loosely together. You don’t want the tie to be too tight, but you also don’t want it so loose that flowers fall out when you hang them to start the drying process. Don’t have twine or jute handy? You can use twist ties in a pinch, but avoid zip ties, since they have to be cut to release the flowers.
The secret to air drying your flowers is this – you need to hang them in an area where there’s a good supply of dry, fresh, moving air. Really, almost anywhere in your home can work. Avoid hanging them in direct sunlight, and keep them away from any areas where moisture might be a concern. Look for areas with plenty of good air circulation, too. For instance, it’s better to dry them in your home than in your garage, as the moisture levels in the garage are often higher than in your home, and this can lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as slower drying times.
Leave your flowers suspended (upside down) until they are completely dry. You’ll know they’re done when they are completely dry and rigid. If they are still flexible and have any softness at all, they are not yet ready. Be patient – some flowers dry in a matter of days, but some will require several weeks. The larger the flower, and the denser/thicker the petals, the longer it will take to dry.
Once your flowers are dry, you can use them in arrangements around the house, in potpourri, in garlands and wreaths, and for almost anything else you might want. Be creative, and enjoy the color, scent and beauty that dried flowers can provide.