I don’t know about you but I really miss my flowers when winter hits and they’re all gone and I have to wait for spring to roll around again. However, a while back I realized that I could still enjoy a lot of my flowers from my garden all year round and that’s through drying them. If you dry them right you can enjoy bouquets of your garden flowers all through the house all year round. There are several different ways that you can do this and I’d like to share them with you here.
Method 1 – Drying by Air
When you go choose the kind of flowers you want for drying it’s best that you pick them when they are first beginning to open up. They tend to air dry a lot better at this stage. When they are drying, they will actually continue to open a little bit and this is why you should try to avoid drying them when they are fully open because they might lose some of their petals during the drying process. This particular method is a great method for drying smaller flowers with sturdy blooms like larkspur or lavender. When picking your flowers make sure you pick the ones that are the best and are damage free because drying will show the damage more.
When you start to prepare you flowers make sure they are done in bunches and all the same kind of flower. You will want to take the leaves off and then put them into piles of the same kind of flower. Your bunches should have no more than ten of each type. If you are drying bigger flowers like roses or hydrangeas for example, should be done individually and not in bunches.
After you have them in bunches you will want to take a big rubber band and wrap it first around several of the flower stems, do this a few times then wrap the rubber band around the entire bunch and then end by putting the rubber band around just 2 to 3 stems again. This wrapping needs to be tight but you don’t want it too tight to where it makes creases in the stems.
Once you have all your flowers in bunches you will want to hang them all upside down. Make sure you do this in a place that is not cold, is dry and somewhat dark to help prevent them from fading or rotting. They can be hung by hooks, coat hangers and nails. Ornament hooks are great to use hooking into the rubber band and then attach to your nail or whatever you’re using to hang your flowers from.
Now you wait. It will take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks for them to dry depending upon the kind of flowers. You can tell they are ready when the flowers are crisp feeling when you touch them. Remove your flowers and then spray them with a little bit of hair spray to help preserve them. Now they are ready to use in your dried floral arrangements.
Method 2 – Desiccant with Microwave
Just like the first method go out and choose the flowers that you want, but, with this method you should use flowers that have a lot of petals and make sure that the surface is not hairy. The best ones for this kind of drying would be marigolds, zinnias as well as roses. For this method you will want to cut the flower stems really short around one to two inches long.
Take a microwave container and pour some desiccant into it, this is a substance that helps to absorb the moisture out of the flowers. The best choice would be a silica gel for delicate and colorful petals, but you can actually use clay litter used for cats instead if you want to save money. You should fill whatever you are using with this to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.
Take your flowers and bury them carefully with the flowers facing up with about ¾ of an inch between each flower. Then put more desiccant onto your flowers making sure they are completely covered.
You will also want to put a tiny glass or cup with some water in the microwave as well because this will help to avoid burning the flowers. Put the flowers in the microwave and microwave for two minutes. Use a toothpick to test for dryness. If they aren’t then microwave for another minute and continue to do this until they feel dry.
Once you are satisfied that they are dry you will want to take the flowers out of the microwave and cover the container and make sure the lid is not on tight you want air to get into the container. Let the flowers sit in the container for at least a day. If you are drying dahlias, peonies or pansies let them stay in the container for a day and a half or for two days. If the flowers are roses or carnations they are sometimes ready in just 10 hours.
Once they are ready take a small paint brush and brush the flowers off and they are ready for use.
Method 3 – Convection Oven Drying
Just like the other methods, pick the flowers you want and then prepare them prior to the drying process. Once you’ve done that take some sort of fine meshing that you cut into just the size you need to place the flowers on for drying. After you have done that take the stems of the flowers and slide them through the meshing so that stems dangle down from the flowers. Good flowers to use for this method would be ones that have compact flowers with a lot of petals.
Heat up the convection oven to one hundred degrees and then put your flowers in the oven. This is a slow drying process and it will take a few hours for drying. The total time will just depend on the sort of flowers you are trying to dry out.
Once they are done take them out and let them cool down and then spray them with hairspray to keep the dried flowers lasting longer.
Method 4 – Desiccant Drying
If you are in no big hurry for your dried flowers you can always use this last method. This is also probably the ideal way for more delicate flowers like lilies. Make sure the flowers are only half bloomed when you pick them for this method.
There are three different kinds of desiccant you can use for this particular method:
- Silica gel – this is your fastest option for drying flowers, found at any garden supply store.
- White cornmeal combined with Borax – this is the cheaper and more lightweight way of drying flowers.
- Sand that is fine – can be the slowest and but is the cheapest way to dry your flowers.
Pick whatever kind of container you want to put your desiccant and flowers in depending upon what kind of desiccant you use. For silica gel you might want to use a container that really seals tight. Anything that has a lid that will twist tight is a good choice. For the borax or the sand you will want to use something that is open. A box made of cardboard would be a great option for this kind of desiccant.
After you have your container take the desiccant and put about two inches of it in the container and then take your flowers putting them upright with the stems toward the bottom of the container. If you chose sand you will not want to cover the flowers totally. With silica gel and borax you will want to bury the flowers completely.
Place containers with flowers in a dry and warm spot and wait for them to dry.
- Flowers with silica gel will take about two to four days of drying time.
- Flowers dried with the borax mixture can take anywhere from five to fourteen days of drying time.
- Flowers dried with the sand method will take about 14 to 21 days.
After you are sure that your flowers are dry take and tip the container they’re in sideways and then tap on the sides until you can see the flowers then remove the dried flowers and take a small paint brush and brush away any of the desiccant left on the flowers. Once you have all the flowers out, spray them with hairspray to help protect them.
Well, there you have it. Four different ways in which you can dry your beautiful flowers from your garden and enjoy them in your home all year round. I hope you found this helpful.