Fresh flowers—whether picked directly from your yard or garden, or coming via a professional bouquet or arrangement—have a relatively short shelf life. No matter how clean you keep the water, or how many of those little packets from the florist that you add to the vase, part of the novelty is knowing that they won’t be around forever. That is, unless you dry them properly.
In an article for Better Homes & Gardens, Kelly Roberson walks us through the process of air-drying flowers, which will leave you with year-round decorating material. Here’s what to know.
How to air dry fresh flowers
Most flowers can be air-dried—great news for those who prefer a more hands-off approach. Flowers like hydrangeas and globe thistles that have sturdy stems can simply be placed in an empty vase in a cool room with low-humidity and dried that way, Roberson explains.
But for everything else, drying the flowers hanging upside down is your best bet, she says. Here’s what to do:
- Using sharp garden scissors or floral snips, cut the flowers in the morning, once the dew has dried.
- When deciding which flowers to snip, Roberson says to go with ones that aren’t completely open and not quite mature, explaining that “they continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if [they’re] fully mature.”
- Once the flowers are cut, remove any unnecessary greenery from the stems, like leaves or other foliage.
- It’s up to you whether to leave the flowers as individual blooms, or to group them together into small bundles. If you’re going with bundles, tie them together using string or dental floss.
- Then, string the bundles and/or solo blooms together (like they were hanging from a clothesline). Be sure to space the flowers and bundles out while doing this to allow air to circulate between the blooms, and prevent mold from growing on them.
- Hang the flowers upside down in an indoor area that’s cool, dry, and dark. Roberson says that placing a fan in the room on a low setting can also help stop mold growth.
You’ll be able to tell that the flowers are finished drying when they feel dry and stiff to the touch, Roberson explains. And there’s no set timeline for drying flowers, she says: Depending on the types of flowers you’re working with, and the conditions of the space where you’re doing the drying, it could take a few days, or up to several weeks.