Q. How can I dry flowers?
Drying flowers is a wonderful way to preserve the beauty of your garden. A wide range of flower species can be successfully dried.
Pick flowers to be dried in any season, but be sure that the blooms are at their peak. To allow for damage, collect more flowers than you will need.
There are a few different ways to dry your flowers:
- Air drying: This is the easiest method. Strip the flowers of their leaves, tie in bunches, and hang upside down in a warm, dry, dark place until they are completely dry (up to 3 weeks).
- Desiccants: Air drying works well for smaller flowers, but it often shrivels large, fragile blooms beyond recognition. Immersing these flowers in silica gel or another desiccant will remove the moisture from the flower more quickly than air drying. Silica gel is easy and reliable. A less expensive option is a mix of borax and white cornmeal. Desiccant drying takes 2-7 days.
- Sand: Many flowers preserve well when buried in fine, dry sand for 5-10 days.
- Pressing: Pressed flowers are especially suitable for flower pictures, as well as decoration on notepaper, place cards and many other items. Place the plant material between the pages of a book, then close and weight it. Special devices called plant presses can also be used. The process takes 1-3 weeks.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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