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This is how to properly dry flowers and plants after a special occasion

Learn how to make those beautiful blooms last for years to come.

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By Edwain Steenkamp | July 20, 2023 | Diy

Drying flowers and plants from your garden are a great way to preserve some of their beauty and extend their lifespan (or at least give them a new life). Whether you’re looking to create an exquisite arrangement in a vase, put together a vibrant mix of potpourri, or simply keep a flower as a memento, here’s how to properly dry flowers and plants from your garden.

Image: by Katsia Jazwinska

Choose the right types

Sadly, not all flowers and plants were meant to be dried. Avoid plant types that have thick, fleshy stems and flowers, like agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), or tulips – these are exceptionally difficult to dry, and will often become more of a sludgy, wilted mess. Rather, choose plants and flowers that have thin and delicate stems and flowers, like lavender, daisies, or pansies.

Choose the right time

You’re going to want to harvest your flowers at the right time. Just as they have fully bloomed, snip them. Waiting too long will cause them to start wilting and losing their colour.

Choose the right parts

Depending on what it is you’re looking to preserve through drying, you might want to remove all excess foliage. This will allow everything else to dry evenly and more quickly.

Choose the right method

There are several ways to dry flowers. Among these, air-drying is the most popular, and the easiest. To air dry, bunch the stems together with a string, hang them upside down, and let them dry in a well-ventilated area such as a cupboard. While stems can touch, if you’re drying flowers, be sure they don’t touch one another, otherwise, they might start rotting instead of drying.

Image: by Thea HDC

For more finicky plants, you might want to consider using desiccants, which include silica gel, sand, borax, or cornmeal. In a container, you simply place the plants on top of your chosen desiccant and then cover them evenly.

Lastly, if you’re looking to dry plants and flowers that have high moisture content or have woody stems, you might have to let them dry – in water. It sounds counterintuitive, but it is an effective technique. For flowers like hydrangeas, roses, and peonies, place them in a vase with just a little water, and let them dry out over the course of a few days. As the water evaporates, it will draw moisture out of the plant, and you’re left with a beautifully preserved plant.

Top tip: Share this article with your mom after Mother’s Day so she has all the best tips and tricks to make the most of her flowers and let them last as mementos for years to come.

Image: by Peter Bucks

Related Tags

Mother's Day, DIY