13 Fabulous Flowers for Drying

Don't be sad when bloom-time ends. Learn how to save your beautiful flowers forever.

Photo By: Sally Guthart, Earthborn Landscape Design

Photo By: Costa Farms/National Garden Bureau

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Proven Winners

Photo By: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Photo By: Jackson and Perkins

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Globe Thistle

You’ll need to wear gloves to protect your hands when you’re working with prickly thistles, but these flowers are striking when dried. Cut the stems from your plants after the morning dew evaporates, just before the buds are completely open, or the flowers are fully mature. They’ll usually continue to open after cutting. Tie the stems together and air dry them, upside down, in a dark, dry spot. Shown here: Globe Thistle 'Blue Glow'.

Celosia 'Dragon's Breath'

Celosia, or cockscomb, is an excellent “everlasting” flower. Harvest the stems of plumed celosia, like ‘Dragon’s Breath’, when the flowers are almost completely open. Cut crested celosia when seeds start to form underneath the comb. Hang both types upside down in a cool, dark location to dry for a month or so.

Sundaze Blaze Strawflower

Strawflowers like Sundaze Blaze (Bracteantha or Xerochrysum) should be harvested before the centers of the flowers open, so there's enough moisture in the blooms to make them easy to handle. Cut the stems 12 to 15 inches long, and remove the leaves. Tie the stems together (a rubber band is good for this, as the stems tend to shrink when they dry), and hang them upside down in a dry, dark spot that gets good air circulation. They’ll be ready to use in 2 or 3 weeks.

Pansiolas

Dried, pressed violas or pansies are great for making cards, scrapbook pages or other crafts. Pick the fresh flowers early in the day and pinch off the stems just under the blossoms. Then layer them between paper towels or blotting paper and press them under some heavy books, or use a flower press. Check every couple of weeks to see if the blooms are dry enough to remove and use. Shown here: Anytime Pansiola 'Iris'.

Baby's Breath

Delicate, white baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) is an excellent filler for bouquets and fresh or dried arrangements. Wait until the morning dew dries before cutting long stems just as the buds start to open. The stems will shrink over time, so use a rubber band to bundle them together, and hang them upside down for a couple of weeks. Give them good air circulation while they’re drying in a dark place. 

Globe Amaranth 'Forest Pink'

Globe amaranth blooms can be white or shades of red, purple and pink. Harvest the stems when the flowers are in bloom, and hang them upside down in a dry, dark, airy space until you’re ready to use them in crafts or arrangements. The flower heads of varieties like ‘Forest Pink’ (Gomphrena haageana) are also great for using in potpourri.

African Daisy 'Soprano'

African daises like ‘Soprano’ are "flatter" and better for pressing than very full daises. Layer the flowers between sheets of blotting paper and let them dry under books or bricks for a week or two, or dry them in a box filled with desiccant. Use the pressed blooms in crafts or frames; dried daises that retain their shape are pretty in floral arrangements or wreaths. 

Larkspur 'Guardian Lavender'

Summer-flowering larkspurs are lovely in dried arrangements. Cut the stems just before the blooms are completely open and strip away the leaves. Then tie the stems together and hang them upside down for a few weeks. Keep them out of the sun and make sure they have good air circulation. If there’s a lot of moisture in the room, you may need to use a dehumidifier to help prevent mold and mildew. Shown here: 'Guardian Lavender' (Delphinum elatum).

Ageratum 'Stellar Blue'

Also called floss flower, ageratum is an annual with pink, white, violet or blue blooms. Pressing the flowers flattens them and tends to make the colors fade, so dry them in a preservative (a desiccant) instead. Lengthen the short stems with floral wire, if desired. Then remove the foliage and put the flowers facedown in the desiccant for 2 or 3 weeks. Shown here: Ageratum 'Stellar Blue'.

Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'

Most gardeners don't grow artemisia for its flowers, which are small and not at all showy. But the plants have attractive grayish-green to silvery foliage that's great for dried arrangements. Prune them in late summer and strip the leaves away from the stems. Hang the the stems upside down to dry in a well-ventilated, dark place. If you prefer, wait until the flowers appear before pruning. Artemisias make a good filler for arrangements, wreaths and swags. In the garden, the plants are stunning beside blue flowers. This variety is 'Silver Mound'.

'Cream Veranda' Rose

If you’re saving roses from a bouquet or the garden, use flowers that have just begun to open, and hang them upside down to dry. Another option: dry your roses in a container filled with desiccant. For flattened flowers, press the roses between layers of blotting paper or newspaper. Always make sure there’s good ventilation to discourage mold.

Hydrangeas

Unlike many flowers, hydrangea blooms are better left to mature on the shrubs before they’re cut for arrangements. If you want vintage colors like antique pink or parchment white, let the flowers stay on the bushes a little longer. Then stand them upright in an empty vase to dry. For more natural colors, cut fresh flowers and dry them in silica gel. You can dye white or ivory hydrangea blooms; follow the directions for the dye product you choose. This variety is 'Limelight.'

Lavender

Snip lavender stems after the morning dew has dried and hang them upside down, in bundles, in an airy, dark place. If you plan to use the buds in potpourris or crafts, gently use your fingers to take them off the stems, and let the buds dry on a flat surface

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