How to dry flowers; flower drying

Choose only bright, perfect flowers and leaves for drying. Pick them about noon on a clear, dry day, and make sure they are free of moisture, insects, and disease. Begin drying procedures immediately.

Air drying

This method is good for small flowers in clusters, such as yarrow, baby’s breath, and hydrangea. Remove all leaves except one near each blossom. Gather the flowers into small bunches and secure them with rubber bands. If you tie them with string or wire, tighten the ties every few days as the stalks dry and shrink. Hang the flowers upside down in a dry, dark place where air can circulate freely around them. Leave them for 2 to 4 weeks, until they are dry but not brittle. Using a drying agent To dry flowers with thick heads, such as roses, zinnias, and daffodils, use silica gel, available at craft stores, or perlite from a nursery or florist. The flowers are less likely to mildew and will retain their colors better. If the silica gel has absorbed moisture (the crystals will be pink), set it in a 250°F oven for an hour or until it turns blue.

Spread a 1-inch layer of the drying agent in the bottom of an airtight container. Choose flowers of similar type and size, remove their leaves, and clip off all but ‘/2 to 1 inch of stem.

On top of the agent, place cupped flowers (such as roses) upright, radial shapes facedown, and sprays flat. Completely cover them with additional crystals. Seal and label the container and place it in a cool, dark place.

When the flower petals are almost as crisp as paper (in about a week), gently pour off the agent. Thread florist’s wire through the flower heads and secure with florist’s tape to provide stems for arrangements.