How to Dry Popular Flowers
Use these tips to keep your garden "alive" long after the flowers have stopped blooming.
Dried floral arrangements add beauty and keep the memory of your garden alive year-round. Here are some secrets for drying your favorite flowers. Keep in mind that most flowers continue to mature during the drying process; the trick is to pick flowers that haven't fully bloomed. Also, since humidity levels vary from region to region, drying times may vary as well.
Pick lavender when the bottom flowers are just beginning to open. Air-dry the flowers in an empty vase for three to four days.
Since these delicate blooms tend to curl, it's best to dry pansies in a flower press for four to five days.
Learn More: How to Press Pansies
Dried Hydrangeas for Fall Decor
Fresh flowers are beautiful but they can be expensive and need to be replaced every few days. Late-summer hydrangea blooms can be dried and used throughout the fall season and beyond.
Pick these flowers after the first frost and air-dry them upside down. Another option: Put stems in a small amount of water and place the container in a cool, dark spot until the flowers have dried naturally.
To keep the shape of a rose, it's best to dry it in silica powder. You can also air-dry roses in bloom by hanging them upside down in a dark room for as long as 10 days.
Choose smaller flowers when drying sunflowers. Air-dry the stalks upside down in a warm, dry space for five days. The warmer the area, the better the sunflowers will dry.
Globe amaranth comes in seven colors and dries remarkably well, keeping its color for years. Pick this flower at its prime and air-dry it upside down.
Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)
Airy blooms in shades of blue perch atop 12- to 18-inch stems on this self-sowing annual. Love-in-a-mist makes a lovely cut flower for fresh bouquets, or wait for round, maroon striped seedpods to form for dried arrangements. Harvest seedpods for drying when they feel papery and firm to the touch. If left too long on plants, pretty maroon tints fade. Dry pods upright or hang upside down.
Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena haageana)
These lollipop flowers have a papery feel and come in a variety of hues, including orange, magenta, lavender and white. Gomphrena reaches 12 to 18 inches tall and are heat- and drought-tolerant once established. Pick flowers for drying when they’re at peak color and before the outermost bracts start to fade. If picked too late, flower heads shatter when dry. Hang upside down in bunches to dry.
Celosia ‘Flamingo Feather’ (Celosia spicata 'Flamingo Feather')
Also known as wheat celosia, 'Flamingo Feather' has unusual spiky flowers in shades of pink or purple with a papery feel. Plants branch freely on stems 24 to 30 inches tall, producing baskets of blooms from midsummer to fall. Cut flowers for drying when they’re fully colored, before any bracts fade to silver. Hang upside down in bunches to dry.
Cornflower ‘Classic Fantastic’ (Centaurea cyanus 'Classic Fantastic')
This early-season bloomer makes a perfect partner for corn poppy. Also known as bachelor’s buttons, cornflower is a self-sowing annual that just can’t stop forming flowers. You’ll have plenty for picking and bringing indoors. This variety boasts a blend of blue and silver shades.
'Sundaze Blaze' Strawflower (Bracteantha hybrid)
Papery flower petals dry in a snap on this heat- and drought-tolerant annual. This variety reaches 10 to 12 inches tall, but other types grow to as high as 5 feet. Harvest flowers for drying when the outermost layer of petals has opened and before the flower center is showing. Hang stems upside down to dry blooms, or dry upright after slipping floral wire into stems.
Marigold Signet 'Tangerine Gem' (Tagetes tenuifolia 'Tangerine Gem')
Warm orange blooms perch atop ferny foliage on this signet marigold. Plants grow 8 inches tall and are a butterfly magnet in the garden. These flowers make a bright addition to dried arrangements. Harvest blossoms for drying as soon as they’re fully open. Dry individual blooms in silica gel or air dry by hanging upside down in bunches.
Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)
Eye-catching green bells form along 2-foot-tall, minty-scented stems. Harvest when bells are nearly fully opened; they open more after picking. If you can see the small white or lavender true bloom in the center of the bell, you’re picking too late. Hang stems upside down in bunches to dry. Handle carefully; stems have small thorns. Dried blooms are fragile and easily shatter, use care when working with them.
English Statice (Limonium sinuatum)
Statice has lovely papery bracts in a rainbow of hues, including purple, pink, blue, white and rose. Plants grow to 18 inches tall in average garden soil. Harvest stems when papery bracts are fully colored. If you can see small white flowers peeking from bracts, you’re picking too late. Hang stems upside down in bunches to dry. Image courtesy of HGTVGardens community member Brie Mikesell
Annual Salvia (Salvia viridis)
Grow this striking salvia for its eye-catching papery blooms that look fantastic in the garden or indoors. Deer dislike this beauty, so it’s a good choice for partnering with plants they love, like roses. Give this salvia a sunny to partly-shaded spot. Plants reach 18 to 24 inches tall.
Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens)
Count on creeping zinnia to add an airy element to fresh-from-the-garden bouquets. This is a short grower, reaching only 6 to 10 inches high, but stems trail to 24 inches, creating ample opportunities for snipping blooms. Flowers resemble miniature black-eyed Susans. This heirloom hails from Mexico and was introduced to gardens in 1798.
Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ (Salvia longispicata x farinacea)
Watch for deep purple-blue flowers on this annual salvia. Plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and flower continuously from summer until frost, providing plenty of stems for dried bouquets. Harvest flowers for drying when a few blooms on each stem are fully open. If you wait until the whole stem is wide open, blossoms shatter after drying. Hang stems upside down in bunches to dry.