Air dry your flowers in 6 easy steps

July 29, 2015

Air drying is the simplest and most natural method for preserving most varieties of flowers, grasses, and seed heads. This guide will show you how.

Air dry your flowers in 6 easy steps

Understand the basics

  • For air drying, you need a warm, dry, well-ventilated area with minimal light and moisture and an air temperature no lower than 10°C (50° F). Warm air movement reduces the risk of mould and speeds up the drying process, while darkness will help preserve colour. Some suitable places for drying include attics, ceiling lofts, garden sheds, and garages.
  • Flowers and stems should hang upside down to ensure that they remain straight throughout the drying process. Bunches of flowers may be hung from coat hangers, wires, hooks, ropes, chains, or purpose-built drying racks. A folded-up clothing rack is an ideal space saving device for drying small quantities of flowers. Larger quantities are best dried on special tiered drying racks.
  • Use rubber bands to secure the bunches and use stub wires for flowers that have weak stems.

6 steps to air dried flowers

  1. Gather the flowers in dry weather as soon as any dew has dried off.
  2. Remove thorns and foliage from the stems. Leaves aren't suitable for air drying; they become brittle and are easily broken.
  3. Flowers with heavy heads and weak stems are best wired before drying. Cut the stem at the flower base and slide a stub wire through the base up to the middle of the flower.
  4. Make handful sized bunches held together with tight rubber bands. The rubber bands will contract with the bunches and keep them together as they dehydrate and shrink.
  5. Suspend the bunches upside down and leave enough space between them to allow good air circulation.
  6. Leave the bunches until all the moisture has evaporated and the flowers are completely dried out.

Provide the right amount of drying time

Drying time varies according to the moisture content of the plant material and the drying conditions. Thick, succulent stems may take longer than delicate flowers to dry out. When the flowers are dry, they'll feel papery. Some flowers such as Queen Anne's lace can dry in a few days, while sunflowers can take up to four weeks. If in doubt, leave the bunches hanging for an extra week.

Safely store your flowers

Large quantities are best stored in cardboard boxes or another dry place. This avoids unnecessary breakages, fading, and discourages mould formation and insects. Don't store dried flowers in plastic bags as the moisture in the trapped air may encourage mould formation.

And there you have it! Air drying is incredibly simple, but extremely effective. Follow these simple steps and you can enjoy your most important flowers indefinitely.

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