We work hard in our gardens each year, watering, weeding, pruning, and fertilizing to maintain healthy plants. Due to our devotion to our gardens, it can be difficult to watch our beautiful flowers wilt and die at the end of their growing season. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep mementos from our gardens so that we can enjoy their beauty year-round. Dry some of your favorite flowers to preserve them long-term. Flower preservation can be achieved in a number of ways.
Air drying is one of the easiest ways to dry and preserve flowers for use in crafts or decor. One way to air-dry flowers is to tie them into small bundles with ribbons, twine, or raffia. Hang the bundles upside down in a warm and well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight. When drying in bunches, choose small flowers. Larger flowers should be dried individually.
Flowers can also be dried while in an upright position. To dry flowers using this method, you must first create a drying station, constructed of chicken wire secured over a box tall enough to accommodate the length of the stems. Gently place a flower into each of the hexagonal squares, with the petals resting on top of the mesh.
Flowers picked at their peak can be pressed to preserve their beauty in scrapbooks, picture frames, or wall art. The traditional way to press flowers is between pages of heavy books. For this method, simply insert the clean, dry flower between two pages in the center of a book. Leave the flower to dry for approximately four weeks.
Another form of flower pressing involves the use of a homemade or store-bought flower press. The press consists of two pieces of wood lined with absorbent paper. Sandwich the flower between the two pieces of paper, and use the nut-and-bolt system to tighten the two pieces of wood together. With this method, you can achieve pressed flowers in three to four weeks.
If you’re limited on time, flowers can be dried in seconds in a standard microwave. However, not all flowers can withstand the microwaving process, so only certain species can be dried using this method. Opt for hardy flowers with several petals, such as tulips, roses, zinnias, and carnations. It’s best to dry your flowers when they are in full bloom.
To dry flowers in the microwave, you will need a microwavable bowl and some kitty litter. Pour two to four cups of kitty litter into the bowl, depending on the size of the flower, and place a single bloom into the center. Gently cover the flower completely with kitty litter. Microwave on high for two minutes, then allow the kitty litter to cool before removing your flower.
Desiccants, such as silica gel, sand, and borax, can be used to dry and preserve flowers while maintaining their natural color, texture, and shape. This method of drying works well for delicate flowers as well as those with a high moisture content. The desiccant acts as a drying agent, pulling the water from the flower without disturbing its natural appearance.
To dry and preserve flowers using this method, cover the bottom of a container with about an inch of your chosen desiccant material. Remove the stems from the flower, and if desired, replace them with floral wire. Place the flowers on their sides, but do not let them overlap or touch. Gently cover the flowers with the drying agent, and close the container. The drying time ranges from approximately two to seven days, depending on the type of flower used.