Blog:   The Home Snooper

Guide to Drying Flowers

When To Harvest and How To Dry Flowers

Dry flowers from your garden to create dried flower arrangements, wreaths and bouquets!

Instructions for Drying Flowers.

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 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 some of the most popular dried flowers.

This chart shows the best time to harvest various flowers.

Optimal Harvesting Times
Flower Name Bud Stage Early Flower Full Bloom Late Flower Seedpod Stage
African Daisy Yes
Agastache Yes
Artichoke Yes
Baby's Breath Yes
Cardoon Yes
Carline Thistle Yes
Chinese Lantern Yes
Cornflower Yes
Delphihnium Yes
Drumstick Yes
Gay Feathers Yes
Giant Knapweed Yes
Globe Thistle Yes
Golden Rod Yes
Golden Yarrow Yes
Hens & Chicks Yes
Honesty Yes
Hops Yes
Immortelle Yes
Lady's Mantle Yes
Larkspur Yes
Lavender Yes
Leeks / Onions Yes
Linseed / Flax Yes
Love in a Mist Yes
Love Lies Bleeding Yes
Mop Head Hydrangia Yes
Opium Poppy Yes
Orach Yes
Pearl Everlasting Yes
Peony Yes
Poker Statice Yes
Rose Yes
Safflower Yes
Sea Holly Yes
Sea Lavender Yes
Sneezewort Yes
Statice Yes
Strawflower Yes
Sunflower Yes
Sweet Marjoram Yes
Sweet William Yes
Teasel Yes
Thyme Yes
Transformer Yes
Wild Marjoram Yes
Winged Everlasting Yes
Yarrow Yes

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 that shows which position they should be dried in. See the Flower Drying Position chart below.


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 bundles to your drying rack like normal.

Clothes Drying Rack

Another trick, for when 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.

Drying flowers in upright position

For flowers that are best dried in the upright position, simply spread them out in vases with no water. You can put a few flowers in one vase as long as they are not crowed. You can also use a slitted paper bag with a little desicant in the bottom to stabalize it and place a bundle in the bag to dry. Just like upside down bundles keep out of direct light.

This chart shows the best positions for drying various flowers.

Best Position for Drying
Flower Name Hanging Bundles Flat on a Screen Upright Bundles
African Daisy Yes
Agastache Yes
Artichoke Yes Yes
Baby's Breath Yes
Cardoon Yes
Carline Thistle Yes
Chinese Lantern Yes
Cornflower Yes
Delphihnium Yes
Drumstick Yes Yes Yes
Gay Feathers Yes Yes
Giant Knapweed Yes Yes
Globe Thistle Yes
Golden Rod Yes Yes
Golden Yarrow Yes
Hen & Chickens Yes
Honesty Yes Yes Yes
Hops Yes
Immortelle Yes
Lady's Mantle Yes
Larkspur Yes
Lavender Yes
Leeks / Onions Yes
Linseed / Flax Yes
Love-In-A-Mist Yes
Love-Lies-Bleeding Yes
Mop Head Hydrangia Yes
Opium Poppy Yes
Orach Yes
Pearl Everlasting Yes
Peony Yes
Poker Statice Yes
Rose Yes
Safflower Yes
Sea Holly Yes Yes
Sea Lavender Yes
Sneezewort Yes
Statice Yes Yes
Strawflower Yes
Sunflower Yes
Sweet Marjoram Yes
Sweet William Yes
Teasel Yes
Thyme Yes
Transformer Yes
Wild Marjoram Yes
Winged Everlasting Yes
Yarrow Yes

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.


Disclaimer: You are responsible for any suggestions you choose to follow, or not follow. This advice is offered for consideration with no guarantee of safety or effectiveness. Use this information at your own risk.