Knowing how to preserve sunflowers will not only prevent molding but will also up your decor game. The best way to preserve sunflowers is by drying them — we’ll show you how.
Sunflowers are versatile flowers used for decoration as well as cooking. Because of their association with the sun, they are also known to brighten our mood! To keep the feel-good effects lasting longer, learn how to preserve your sunflowers. Whether you’ve been growing sunflowers at home, received a bouquet as a gift, or purchased them at your local florist, any sunflowers can be preserved for a long time.
Follow the steps below for easy sunflower preservation.
1. Get Your Supplies Ready
Gather the following supplies to preserve sunflowers:
- A container or vase for your flowers
- Scissors, garden shears, or a sharp knife
- Paper towels, paper towel alternatives, or old newspapers
- For sunflower seeds: an airtight container
2. Select the Right Sunflowers
There are different types of sunflowers and some are easier to preserve than others. Make sure to look for blooms that have not yet fully opened. The flower should feel heavy, and the stem should look firm and green. Avoid sunflowers with brown edges as well as discolored or wilted leaves.
3. Cut the Sunflowers and Store Them Correctly
It’s best to cut the blooms when they reach maturity. You can tell if they are ready by checking the back of the flower heads: they should turn yellow when you cut them. Use a knife, scissors, or garden shears to cut stems at a 45-degree angle and place them in a vase or container with lukewarm water immediately. Make sure to remove any excess leaves below the waterline.
4. Preserve Sunflowers
Before drying them, you can enjoy the fresh sunflowers for a while. Make sure to change the water every couple of days and display them in a cool but sunny spot. However, you should start the drying process before they begin to wilt. A good time is usually between a week and two weeks after cutting them. Just keep a close eye on them, and you can time it perfectly.
There are a couple of different ways to preserve and dry sunflowers. Your two best options are:
- Dry sunflowers with a flower press: If you picked the blooms early enough, before the seeds started to develop, you can press them the same way you would press smaller flowers. You can also wrap the flower head in a paper towel or old newspaper and weigh it down under a book or another heavy object.
- Hang the sunflowers upside down: Tie a piece of string around the bottom of the sunflower stem and hang them upside down in a dry spot. Keep them hanging there for around two weeks. If you dry multiple sunflowers at the same time, make sure their heads don’t touch.
Bonus: How To Preserve Sunflowers for Their Seeds
Preserving sunflowers for their seeds is one of the least labor-intensive methods. Leave the stems in the ground until all the petals fell off. Then place a cheesecloth, an old pillow case, or another type of cotton over the sunflower heads and tie them off around the stem. These will catch any seeds that may fall off. Stake the sunflower if necessary. You can also remove the seeds by scraping them off with a fork or rubbing two sunflower heads together.
Once you have your seeds, clean them with cold water and lay them out on a towel to dry. Store them in an airtight container in a cool and dry place until further use. Dry them for at least three days until freezing to ensure the moisture in your seeds is low enough.
How To Make the Most of Your Dried Sunflowers
Besides knowing how to preserve sunflowers, you can also explore ways to use dried sunflowers and sunflower seeds. Here are some ideas to jump-start your creativity:
- Make a dried flower bouquet: They’re a nice change of pace from fresh flowers and make an aesthetic and thoughtful gift.
- Use them for cooking: Dried sunflower petals can be used in soups, salads, herbal tea blending, or as a garnish for cake.
- Decorate your house: Hang them upside down, arrange a dried bouquet in a vase or pair them with dried chamomile, roses, or irises — there are no rules to decorating.
- Try a DIY project: There are endless options for DIY projects. Some examples are pressed flower lanterns, cards, or candles.
- Save sunflower seeds: Keep them to re-plant and grow your own sunflowers. To do so, store them in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.
- Use sunflower seeds in recipes: Season them and eat as a snack, on salads or in baked goods.
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