How To Dry Flowers

Tips for Drying Flowers

Have fun drying flowers from your garden to create dried flower arrangements, wreaths and bouquets!
 

Using a drying rack to dry flowers.

 

Below is a list of materials needed for flower drying:

  • Drying rack, hanging rod, or line
  • Rubber bands
  • Clothespins or paperclips
  • Sharp scissors
  • Optional Items:
    • Brown paper lunch sacks
    • Bed sheet
    • Fan
    • Dehumidifier


When and how to harvest flowers
There are so many different herbs and flowers that can be dried, and of course they all have different recommended stages and methods for when they should be harvested. To make it simple for you we have created a chart showing various flowers and herbs and their proper harvesting method. To see the chart please click on: How To Harvest Herbs and Flowers

To prepare flowers
Inspect flowers and remove additional bugs. Remove thorns as they tend to get sharper when they dry. Remove any damaged leaves or flowers.

Selecting your drying location
Bundles of flowers can take anywhere from three days to three weeks to dry. So choosing your drying location is important. You need a location that is undisturbed, dry, well ventilated, has adequate air flow, and is dark or out of direct sunlight. It is important to keep your plants out of direct sunlight so that your dried flowers will not fade. It also discourages them from further opening. You do not want dried rose buds to continue opening during the weeks they are drying.

A bedroom or other room out of the general traffic flow will work well. Walk-in closets or attics can also be used with success if air-flow is encouraged with a fan. Bathrooms and kitchens are not good choices since they are too humid. If you live in a dry, arid part of the country you may choose a covered outside location like a car port, covered patio or porch.

Selecting a location in your home with a ceiling fan or place that you can plug in a floor fan will create air flow around the plants and help with both the drying time and reduce the risk of mold or mildew on the plants. If you live in a very humid part of the country, or if you just want to speed up the drying process, using a dehumidifier in your drying space will decrease the drying time and minimize mildew.

Proper position - hanging, flat, or upright?
For the best results in drying your flowers it is important that they be dried in the correct position or orientation. We have created a chart of all the popular dried flowers that shows which position they should be dried in. To see the chart please click Flower Drying Positions

Bundling Flowers
Bundle a small amount of flowers together. The woodier the stems the more you can put in a single bundle as they dry faster than plants with fleshy stems. Take anywhere from 6 to 16 stalks and hold firmly towards the bottom of the stems, leaving an inch or so for you to wrap a rubber band around. Snugly wrap the rubber band over the stalks about one inch from the end of stalks. Try to keep the flower ends of the bundles spread out for air flow and even drying.

If you do not have a location that is out of direct sunlight, or if you do not have a room you want to darken for multiple weeks, then there are tricks that can keep your flowers dark even in a bright room.

One trick is to use brown paper lunch bags. If you have a small number of bundles that you are drying you can use paper sacks with a hole cut at the bottom of the bag for the stems to come through. Also cut slits in the bag to allow air circulation through the bag. After bundling your flowers simply place the bundle in the bag so that the stems are sticking out through the hole in the bottom of the bag. Attach the bindles to your drying rack like normal.

 

Clothes Drying Rack

 

One trick is to use brown paper lunch bags. If you have a small number of bundles that you are drying you can use paper sacks with a hole cut at the bottom of the bag for the stems to come through. Also cut slits in the bag to allow air circulation through the bag. After bundling your flowers simply place the bundle in the bag so that the stems are sticking out through the hole in the bottom of the bag. Attach the bindles to your drying rack like normal.

Another trick, especially if you are drying a large number of bundles on a drying rack, is to simply use an old thin cotton sheet draped over the rack. Cut ventilation slits in the sheet. You may also need to trim some material from the bottom of the sheet so that there is space between the floor to allow air to easily circulate.


Hanging your bundles
When you have your flowers bundled and your drying location selected, simply hang your bundles on your drying rack, rod or line. If you are using clothespins just hang the flowers like laundry, but clip the pin to the rubber band. If you are using paperclips, bend them so they look like ornament hangers or s-hooks, then hook one end over the drying rack or line and the other end through the rubber band holding the flowers.


Checking to see if the flowers are dry
Most plants are checked by snapping off a small piece of the stalk on the bundled end. If the stalk snaps off cleanly, and sounds and feels dry, then your bundle is dry and ready to use. Another testing method is to puncture the stem near the flower head with a sharp knife. The stem should be dry and solid.

For some flowers with fleshy heads, like cardoons or artichokes, test by inserting a sharp knife into the underside of the bloom. There should not be any softness when fully dry.

Determining dryness is another part of the flower drying process that is both art and science. You will learn with experience when your plants are completely dry. If in doubt, let them dry longer.


When a bundle of flowers is dry
Remove the rubber bands by cutting or unwinding. Gently separate each individual flower and look it over for any damage. Use your scissors to remove any parts that are broken, droopy, or unattractive.


Also see our other How-To Guides such as How to Dry Herbs or How to Create Herbal Teas

 



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