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Tips on Drying Flowers

Air Drying:

  • For best results, cut flowers after the dew is gone and remove the leaves. Hang a single flower or flowers in a bunch by their stems in a well-ventilated area with string, wire, or pipe cleaners. Hanging them upside down allows for straight stems rather than a wilted, dried flower usually seen draping a vase. To preserve the color of the flower, remove them from sunlight immediately after cutting and dry them in the dark. For drying flower heads only, just lay them on a sheet of paper or newspaper and place in a dark room. The time that it takes for the flowers to dry depends on all conditions of the drying environment (humidity, temperature, and airflow), as well as the type of flowers. It could take as little as 24 hours up to a week or more. Either way, the petals of a dried flower should feel like paper and should no longer be limp or damp.

    After flowers are dried, it is still important to keep them out of direct sunlight. This reduces fading. Keep dried flowers out of dry, forced airflow as well. This extreme condition causes the dried flowers to become brittle and shatter. Over time, dust dried flowers with a feather duster or with a hair dryer set to its lowest possible setting. Store dried flowers wrapped in newspaper and place in a cardboard box. The temperature of the area that the dried flowers are stored in does not matter, however, the conditions of the air are extremely important. Keep dried flowers out of dry air as well as damp air. Storing dried flowers outside or in a garage are the most ideal places. As with anything stored, be careful of rodents and insects. Mothballs may be a precautionary to prevent this potential problem.

Using a Drying Agent:

  • It may be necessary to use a drying agent for hard to dry flowers. Such drying agents can be sand, fresh kitty litter, a white cornmeal and borax mixture, or silica gel. Silica gel is the best drying agent. The drying agent should be an inch deep in a flat dish or a cardboard box. Flat flowers, like daisies or pansies, can be easily placed in the drying agent face down. Flowers that have many layers of petals should be sprinkled with the drying agent face up. Some flowers should be placed horizontally, like snapdragons and scarlet sage. The flowers should have at least a half-inch stem. Completely cover the flowers with the drying agent and store in a safe area or microwave to speed up the drying time.

Using a Microwave :

  • If you like the look of dry flowers, but want them in a hurry, the microwave proves to be a fast, effective way. Although, as food tastes better slowly cooked on a stove or in an oven rather than "nuked," the dry flower results may not be as desirable as they would be if air-dried. Testing and experimenting is the best thing that can be done. Flowers that are "nuked" should be put in the microwave at their prime or they may lose their color to an ugly, dead brown. Place the flower with a half-inch stem face up in a drying agent and sprinkle more of the agent on top. As before, the drying agent should be a half-inch deep. Set a small bowl of water next to the flower in the microwave. It is important to rotate the flower after every half minute to a minute. The drying times vary between flowers, so watch them as you rotate them. It usually takes about three minutes for most flowers, yet a rose may take three and a half minutes or more. Again, experimentation is the only way to tell. When the flower has finished cooking, you can remove it from the microwave, but DO NOT take it out of the drying agent immediately. Let it stand for several hours. Times vary with this as well. It could be anywhere from eight to twenty-four hours.

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