How to dry flowers and plants?

How to dry flowers and plants


Drying flowers and plants is a great method to extend the decorativeness of garden plants, which can be successfully used in autumn and winter arrangements. There are many methods of drying and preserving, so there is sure to be something for everyone. Not only summer flowers will look perfect in such compositions, but also twigs with leaves and stuck fruits (rosehip, rowan, ginkgo, dogwood).

Drying is the simplest and cheapest method of obtaining dry decorative materials.

Drying flowers and plants means removing water from their tissues. It depends primarily on the species we want to dry, air temperature and humidity, as well as the number of dried plants. It cannot run too intensively because the plants become brittle, nor for too long because they can rot.

Hanging flowers to dry

The most common method of drying flowers and plants is to hang the cut shoots with the flowers downwards in an airy, warm and dark room. Plants are best tied with a rubber band, because when using wires or strings, the dried stems fall out. In turn, the use of dark rooms ensures better color preservation. And an airy place will ensure faster drying by removing excess water vapor from the air.

How to press flowers in a book with herbarium method?

Another method is the herbarium method, which involves drying flowers and plants between sheets of paper (books and newspapers). Species with poorly hydrated tissues, such as pansy or field poppy, are suitable for it. After placing the flowers with paper, they should be weighed down with a heavy object and at least once a week checked whether the decay process has started. It is also recommended to replace the paper. Herbarium-dried flowers and plants are ideal for creating collages.

Drying flowers in an upright position

Vertical drying is an equally popular method of preserving flowers and plants. Thanks to this, we are able to obtain droughts with a natural shape of shoots, flowers, inflorescences and fruits. Perfect for drying in this way are stained glass, yarrow, meadowsweet, cattail, hemlock, and grass inflorescences, e.g. miscanthus. Place the flowers in a tall pot with little or no water. Try to get rid of the leaves completely from the plant stem. The water will gradually evaporate and the flowers dry out without changing their natural appearance.

Method of drying flowers on the net

The net drying method is ideal for drying Asteraceae inflorescences (helichrysum, sunflower), corn cobs, cones and pods. It consists in arranging flowers or fruit of plants on a net that provides good air flow to the entire drying element.

Hygroscopic drying of flowers and plants

Recently, a very popular method of drying flowers is to place them in powdery materials with high hygroscopic properties. Usually, sand or sand with borax, corn flour and fine cat litter (silica gel) are used as drainage material. Flowers or whole bouquets are placed in a cardboard or plastic container and then tightly covered with powdery material. The operation should be carried out carefully so that every part of the flowers or plant is thoroughly covered with a hygroscopic substance.

For drying flowers in materials with high hygroscopic properties, the following are ideal:

  • Tagetes
  • Freesia
  • Eustoma
  • Ox-eye daisy, dog daisy, marguerite (Leucanthemum vulgare)
  • Chrysanthemum santini
  • Orchids
  • Roses
  • Carnations

How to dry flowers in the microwave without silica?

If you want to dry flowers in a microwave oven, remember that this is an amateur method with very low efficiency. Place the flowers in a vessel with loose material (sand, silica gel, etc.), and then turn on the microwave for 2 minutes. After removing the vessel, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down, and then gently remove the dried flowers or plants.

Harvesting flowers and plants for preservation with glycerine

Harvest woody shoots of trees and shrubs. The fully developed leaves are ideal for preparation in glycerin. It is best to cut the grasses during the heading stage, as their old inflorescences are unable to take up glycol.

Preserving flowers and plants in glycerin (glycerol)

Preservation of plant flowers in glycerin gives the plants elasticity while maintaining their natural shape. In this way, individual leaves and branches as well as inflorescences and grass leaves can be prepared.

For preservation in glycerin the following branches are recommended:

  • Birch (Betula)
  • Beech (Fagus)
  • Barberry (Berberis)
  • Privet (Ligustrum)
  • Oak (Quercus)

The branches to be prepared are cut from mid July to September. Beautifully colored leaves that age in autumn will not be preserved by glycerin. Usually they fall off, stripping cut shoots.

The best for preservation are 50 cm long shoots that are cut diagonally and split. Remember to immediately insert them into the glycerin solution after pruning. Preparation time is from a few days to 2-3 weeks depending on the environmental conditions and the species and the length of cut shoots. Air humidity has the greatest influence on the rate of glycerin uptake. The higher the humidity, the longer it takes to take up. It is important that glycerin is constantly available for uptake by cut shoots, because its deficiency or breaks in uptake lead to twisting of the leaves.

The leaves of the preserved plants acquire a gloss and change their color to dark green, maroon or brown. After finishing the preparation, spread the twigs on the paper. They are an ideal material for creating dry compositions. If the prepared material is to be used in living floral arrangements, the ends of the stems should be poured with paraffin.

Glycerin solution for flowers and plants preservation

Glycerin solution for preserving branches

The optimal proportions of the glycerin solution are: 1 part glycerin to 2 parts water. Remember that glycerin dissolves only in hot water. Adding a little salt (0.6 g / 1 liter of solution) will speed up the intake.

Glycerin solution for preserving leaves

We use a 50% glycerin solution. The leaves of beech, oak and white trees are ideal for preserving in glycol.

Glycerin solution for preserving herbaceous plants

This solution is ideal for the preservation of delphinium, limmonium and molucella. Place the freshly cut plants in a glycerin solution (200 mg of glycerin per 1 liter of water) for about 4-5 days, with access to light and a temperature of 15-18 degrees Celsius.

Leaf skeletonizing

How to - leaf skeletonizing

Leaf skeletonizing is a less popular procedure that gives spectacular results. Leaves (magnolia, oak, ivy, beech, hornbeam, etc.) and fruit (tomatillo or datura) are ideal for skeletonization.

There are several leaf skeletonizing methods.

The most popular is to put the leaves in a solution of 20% sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. After 3-5 days, the parenchyma is destroyed. Only the nerves in the form of a net remain. The leaves prepared in this way should be rinsed in water and the remains of the parenchyma tissue removed mechanically, for example with a brush.

Ideal flowers for dry bouquets

There are a multitude of types and species of flowers and plants to be dried off. Apart from trees and shrubs, shoots, flowers and fruit of perennials and annual plants are also well-preserved.

The most popular plants in dry arrangements include:

  • Armeria (Armeria)
  • Celosia (Celosia)
  • Centaury (Centaurea)
  • Mullein (Verbascum)
  • Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)
  • Billy buttons (Craspedia)
  • Goldentop grass (Lamarckia)
  • Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi)
  • Silvergrass (Miscanthus)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • Baby's breath (Gypsophyla paniculata)
  • Spear thistle (Cirsium)
  • Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia)
  • Goat's beard (Aruncus dioicus)
  • Chinese peony or common garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
  • Coneflower (Rudbeckia)
  • Annual everlasting, immortelle (Xeranthemum)
  • False goat's beard, false spirea (Astilbe)
  • Timothy (Phleum)
  • Limonium (Limonium)
  • Everlasting daisy (Ammobium alatum)


There are many preservation and drying methods that plant lovers successfully use to enjoy the beauty of their favorite flowers also in winter. The most popular methods are drying and preservating in glycerin. Properly prepared flowers and plants can be combined in bouquets or arrangements with live, artificial and dried elements.

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