Some of the most memorable moments in our lives involve the most beautiful flowers. From wedding bouquets to homecoming corsages, don’t you wish those flowers could last as long as the memories of those special days? Luckily, there are many methods of drying and preserving all types of flowers! Here are three popular flower drying techniques we often use at Charleston Flower Market:
Remember pressing four-leaf clovers or wildflowers between the pages of your schoolbooks as a kid? Turns out, you were practicing the press drying technique! This form of drying is best suited for flowers that are flatter, such as violets, pansies or individual petals of hydrangeas. While you could buy an actual flower press from a crafts store, it’s just as easy (and cheaper too!) to simply DIY it using some heavy books and absorbent paper. To press flowers yourself, place the blooms between two sheets of paper. Parchment paper, smooth paper towels, and even plain white printer paper are all good options. Textured papers will result in unattractive indentations in your dried flowers! Next, place the paper-flower sandwich between several heavy books, like that old dictionary you haven’t touched in years or a phone book from 2008. Most flowers will dry in 1 or two weeks time. We recommend checking the bloom after a week and replacing the paper if needed!
Let time do all the work for you with this easy drying technique! Air drying works best with flowers and herbs that naturally dry easily such as lavender, oregano, bay leaf, yarrow, craspedia, ammobium, miscanthus, craspedia and antique hydrangeas. For many flowers, it's best to air dry by hanging them upside down. This helps the stems to stay straight as they typically take much longer to dry than the flower itself and cause drooping. The best spots to air dry your flowers should have good circulation, low humidity, higher heat, and are out of direct sunlight. In our case, we use our back storage room, but attics and closets work well, also! When we use the air-drying technique, we take a small handful of flowers, or a single stem for larger blooms, and loop a rubber band tightly around the bottom of the stem. We then hang them somewhere they will be out of the way and won’t get bumped into. Air drying can take between a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the size of the plant.
Not sure if pressing or air drying your flowers is the right choice? Try using desiccants to dry your flowers! Silica crystals, sand, borax and even cornstarch can be used to dry almost all flowers, especially those with thicker blooms such as roses and peonies, sunflowers, zinnias, and daisies. Flowers dried in silica typically retain their original color much better than with most other methods. When drying with desiccants, we typically cut the stem short or remove it completely from the head. We then place the flowers in an airtight container in a single layer and completely cover them in the desiccant until they are dried. Drying usually takes a few days.
Now that you’ve successfully dried your flowers, how are you going to display them? Dried flowers are extremely delicate and often brittle, and many will benefit from getting a coat of clear sealer or even hairspray after they are dry. This helps prevent damage to the flowers or petals so you can enjoy the beauty of your blooms for years!
Remember, it’s best to consider the type of flower you are drying when determining which to use. For any method, you’ll want to choose flowers that have fully bloomed and are the most aesthetically pleasing to begin with, as any blemishes or problems with the flower become more noticeable after drying.
For the most beautiful dried flowers, start with the freshest bouquets from Charleston Flower Market!