As summer winds down, don’t despair the loss of your lovely flowers – just air dry them for long lasting bouquets!
Air drying is a simple process and can be used with a variety of flowers easily found in your garden or even as roadside wildflowers.
A few easy-to-grow flowers that air dry well include hydrangea, artemisia, Love in the Mist nigella, larkspur, statice, celosia, Baby’s Breath, lavender, sea holly, yarrow, strawflower, globe amaranth, Bachelor’s buttons, astilbe, and roses. You can also find a wide variety of roadside wildflowers that dry well, including tansy, wild oregano, flat-topped Goldenrod, and sea lavender.
Flowers and wild plants can be dried by simply hanging them upside down in a reasonable dry, warm location for a few weeks. Furnace rooms, attics or even dark garages are ideal locations for drying.
Just follow these 4 easy steps:
- Cut flowers when they’re just about to bloom or in their early bloom stage if possible.
- Remove foliage from stems.
- Group together in small bunches and tie with string, twist ties or rubber bands, wrapping as tightly as possible so that as the stems dry and shrink, they won’t fall out of their bunches.
- Hang upside down in a warm, dry and preferably dark location until thoroughly dried – usually 2-3 weeks.
Hydrangeas Paniculata (often referred to as PeeGee hydrangea) can also be dried by placing them in a vase with a very small amount of water – just enough to cover an inch of the stem. As the water is used, the flowers will dry gradually. Drying hydrangeas this way is easy and provides you with an instant bouquet while they’re in their drying process. NOTE: PeeGee hydrangeas dry best if picked just as they’re starting to turn pink.
Seed heads from cattails, Honesty (money plant), iris, teasel, wild roses, poppies, astilbe and Queen Anne’s lace are also attractive in dried flower bouquets, as are stems from ornamental grasses.
Use your imagination to create dried both large and small flower bouquets, using vases, old tea cups, pitchers, milk bottles, watering cans and more! It’s easy to find inexpensive floral containers at thrift stores and local recyling centers.
The University of Missouri’s Extension service website offers detailed instructions on air drying and other forms of preserving flowers.