How to dry flowers in 4 simple steps

Ruth Doherty
Photo credit: Westend61/Getty

From Prima

A bunch of flowers is a beautiful addition to any interior, but not a long-lasting one. However, once you learn how to dry flowers, you can make them last for so much longer, and can save money that you would have used to splash out on a fresh bouquet.

Drying flowers is also a great way to preserve a bunch that have sentimental value or meaning to you, like a get-well bunch or Valentine's gesture; a lovely keepsake and way to keep a memory alive.

Alternatively, you may want to dry flowers from your garden, such as fragrant lavender, or you may be buying blooms specifically for a dried-flower arrangement for a stunning decoration at a wedding or other special occasion.

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Caroline Grimble, lead florist at Bloom & Wild, says: “Dried flowers are a great addition in the home as they look lovely and last such a long time.

"When we talk to our newlywed customers, we find that pressing and drying their bouquet to preserve as a keepsake is sometimes more important than saving their dress. The flowers they chose, when dried, last forever to then be passed down."

How to dry flowers: Air dry

The most straight forward way to dry flowers is to simply hang them in a cool, dark room, like the attic or a cupboard.

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Caroline says: "Flowers can be preserved by hanging them upside down in a dark and dry place for a few weeks.

"Simply tie the flowers together with string and attach them to a hanger or a pole for a few weeks – and let time do the rest."

According to Pro Flowers, air drying works best for bouquets and for robust flowers such as roses, or small, long-lasting varieties like lavender.

Flowers that have just looked or are about to bloom are ideal for air-drying.

Some simple steps to take are:

1. Remove excess foliage from below the flower heads as they weaken when they are dry. Cut the stems to your desired length, but no shorter than six inches.

2. Split your flowers into smaller bunches of the same flower type, and try not to have more than six or seven flowers in each.

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3. Use string to hang your flowers upside down – attach to a hook, pole or hangers – and leave to dry for around three weeks. Check them regularly after the first week, suggests Flying Flowers. The petals will rustle and become rigid when they are ready.

4. Spray the flowers with hairspray once they are dry and have been removed from the hangers. According to Pro Flowers, this will help to protect them.

Top tips on how to dry flowers:

Expert advice from Serenata Flowers and Flying Flowers suggests to think about the below before drying your flowers.

1. Avoid leaving flowers to dry in direct sunlight – this will cause the colour to fade.

2. Blooms with a high water content, like lilies, are not suitable for drying.

3. Varying colours of flowers can dry differently. For example, orange and yellow keep the best vibrancy, while blues and purples may dry darker.

4. Flowers in full bloom are more likely to lose their petals when drying, so start the process sooner rather than later.

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