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How to Dry and Preserve Flowers: 3 Easy Methods

how to dry flowers
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Micheile Henderson

Whether it’s a special bouquet you want to keep or simply some flowers you picked from your garden, it’s natural to want to preserve flowers and enjoy the beauty of summer year-round. We’ll show you how to dry flowers and preserve them with three easy methods.

Air Drying Flowers

drying flowers
Florists use this trick to save their dying blooms: they hang them in bunches and add dried flowers to bouquets. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Amina Filkins)

Air drying flowers upside down is probably the best known and the simplest method of preserving blooms. It works well for most flowers and they can be dried individually or as bouquets. 

  • Start by making the bouquets: remove the leaves from the stems and sort the flowers by type. Flowers with large blossoms, like hydrangeas or peonies, should be dried individually.
  • Tie the bouquets together at the bottom, with either string or raffia. As the stems shrink throughout the drying process, you may need to tighten the string. 
  • To dry the flowers, hang the bouquets upside down in a dark, dry and warm place, like an attic or guest closet. 
  • Leave the bouquets to dry for two to four weeks. The petals will be brittle when the flowers are sufficiently dried.  

Optional: You can spray either hair spray or a special sealing spray on your bouquets. This will make the dried flowers less likely to break or lose their petals.

How to Preserve Flowers: Pressing Method

how to preserve flowers
Pressing flowers in a book is a great way to preserve the wonderful summery colors. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Elina Krima)

This variant of flower drying is suitable mainly for individual flowers. Small, flat flowers such as pansies or lilac blossoms dry best when pressed. 

  • Place the flowers between absorbent paper. Corrugated cardboard, newspaper or blotting paper work well for this.
  • Place a heavy object, like a large book, on top of the flowers and store in a dry, warm place. You can also place the flowers directly in the pages of the book if you want.
  • Change the paper after a week, or move them to a new spot in the book. 
  • After three to four weeks, you can take out the dried flowers. When they are paper-thin and almost transparent when you hold them up to the light, your flowers are done drying.

Tip: This method also works for pressing and drying leaves!

How to Dry Flowers in the Oven

Delicate wildflowers dry best when using the pressing or oven method. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Yokesel Zok)

Drying flowers in the oven is definitely the fastest way to preserve them. However, it does require the most energy. For environmentally friendly ways of preserving flowers, resort to one of the other two drying methods.

  • Cut a piece of very fine mesh wire fence to the right size so that all your flowers will fit inside.
  • Thread the stems through the holes so that the flowers hang by the bud in the mesh and the stem dangles free.
  • To dry the flowers, bake them in a convection oven for several hours at 95-100˚F. The exact time varies, depending on the type and number of flowers chosen.
  • Remove the flowers from the oven and let them cool on a clothes rack. Don’t touch them until they are completely cool.
  • If necessary, seal the flowers with hairspray or a sealing spray.

Tip: This methods works best for flowers with a lot of petals, such as cornflowers and chrysanthemums. 

Flower Drying and Preserving Tips

  • Strawflowers are some of the best for drying, flowers like daisies and cornflowers also hold up well.
  • Carnations, asters, lavender, or hydrangeas also dry well. 
  • Learn more about how to dry roses in our separate guide.
  • Avoid water lovers like tulips and lilies.
  • Start drying immediately after picking the flowers in order to preserve the color and shape.

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Blumen trocknen: Einfache Methoden für den Blumenstrauß oder Blüten

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