Have you ever had a special bouquet of flowers that you wish you could keep forever? The good news is you can dry flowers individually or in a bouquet and the process does not have to be complicated or labor-intensive.
There really is no limit as to which flowers you can dry. If you can pick it or buy it at a market or flower shop, you can dry it. You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers. Try drying pretty weeds, seedpods, ferns, ornamental greases and berries and leaves to use as an accent to your dried flower arrangements. Some of the best specimens for drying can be found for free in your favorite scenic area.
After you’ve chosen the items you want to dry, be careful to transport them carefully from the field to your home. Shoeboxes work well for this task.
Choose flowers for drying as soon as they come into full bloom. Flower buds can be dried as they are or you can place them in water until they open.
In order to insure that the flower petals are open and free of morning dew, cut or pick the flowers you want to dry in the afternoon hours. When drying flowers, avoid direct sunlight to reduce fading and damp areas that can lead to the growth of mold.
Four Easy Methods to Drying Flowers
There are four easy methods of drying plants – hanging, flat or box drying, upright drying and pressing.
Hanging is the most popular and one of the simplest methods of drying flowers. Start by removing unwanted flowers and leaves. Bundle the flowers together and secure them using a piece of string or a rubber or elastic band (rubber and elastic work best). Once bundled, hang the flowers in a well-ventilated area that does not get direct sunlight. The flowers should be dry in about 10 days. However, drying times do vary.
The flat method of drying flowers in a box works especially well for dahlias, zinnias and roses. After the flowers are picked, line a box with fine, dry sand, borax or silica gel. Place the whole heads of the flowers face down in the box. Sift additional amounts of the drying agent onto the flower heads until they are covered. Put the box in a warm area out of the direct sunlight. Drying will take about two weeks.
Upright drying is often used for preserving centerpieces. If you have fresh flowers to dry, put them in a vase or container, taking caution to not pack the plants too tight. Allow the flowers to dry at room temperature. Be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight and damp areas.
Another method of drying flower arrangements is take the cluster of arranged flowers and tie them together with a rope. Hang the rope (with the flowers upside down) from a ceiling light. Place newspaper on the floor under the bouquet to make clean up easy. Use a cheap aerosol (it has to be aerosol) hairspray to spray the entire bouquet, including any foliage that was left on the stems. Spray in an upwards direction. Repeat again in two to three days. Continue to spray hairspray on the bouquet every three days while decreasing the amount of spray. Do this for about two weeks. The flowers are dried when the petals feel like they will break in your hand.
Flowers can also be preserved through pressing. This can be done in a book (old encyclopedias work well) or commercial flower press. If using a book, place the flowers between two pieces of paper. Close the book and weigh it down with a heavy object. Check the flowers after a couple of weeks.
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This site will take you to several links that will provide helpful information on how to dry flowers.