Want gorgeous, everlasting flowers? Learn how to dry flowers with these 4 EASY methods you can do at home. Read on for lots of blooming inspiration.

Have you ever wanted to preserve a bridal bouquet, an anniversary arrangement, or flowers from the garden and wished you could keep them forever? Fresh flowers bring joy to any space, but their fleeting nature can be a bummer.

The good news is, that you can preserve their charm and create everlasting floral arrangements by drying flowers at home! This guide will walk you through various drying methods, from the simple air-drying technique to speedy microwave drying.

Did you know there are LOTS of flowers that you are probably growing that are easy to dry? Learn how to dry flowers with these simple tips.

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About Drying Flowers

Transforming fresh blooms into everlasting beauty offers endless creative possibilities for your home. There are several drying methods you can employ to dry flowers that we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Air drying is the simplest technique that involves hanging flowers upside down in a cool, dark space. For a flatter, pressed look ideal for crafts, flower pressing is your go-to. If speed and vibrant color preservation are priorities, desiccant drying with silica gel or borax is a fantastic option. For the adventurous crafter, microwave drying offers the fastest results, but be warned, it carries a higher risk of flower damage.

I prefer using the air-drying method and hope to designate a space this year so I can dry flowers on a mass scale from my gardens.

No matter your preference, there’s a drying method perfectly suited to capture the everlasting charm of your favorite flowers.

calendula, larkspur, snapdragons in potager garden by fountain

Air Drying Flowers Method

Since I prefer to do things the easy way, air-drying flowers is the simplest, most budget-friendly way to dry flowers. It is a simple and cost effective way to preserve their beauty and create lovely dried floral arrangements.

This technique involves allowing the flowers to naturally dry out in the air without using any external heat sources or chemicals. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to air-dry flowers:

Supplies Needed to Air Dry Flowers

  • Flowers
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Stick, hanger, or drying rack
  • Unscented hairspray
Supplies need to dry flowers - How to dry flowers - supplies
Drying flowers supplies

How to Air Dry Flowers Directions

  • Choose flowers that are in their peak condition, with no signs of wilting or damage. The best time to harvest flowers for drying is in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun is too hot.
  • Remove all of the leaves from the stems.
  • Group a small number of flowers together and tie them in small bunches to ensure even drying. Secure the stems together with a rubber band or string, leaving enough space between each flower to allow for good airflow.
  • Attach to a stick, hanger, or drying rack, then hang to dry in a well-ventilated, dry, dark space for 3-4 weeks. Be patient and resist the urge to check on them too often, as disturbing the bundles could disrupt the drying process.
  • After a couple of weeks, carefully inspect the flowers to see if they are completely dry and papery to the touch. If there is any remaining moisture, return them to their hanging position for more time.
  • Once the flowers are thoroughly dry, remove them from the bundles and gently brush off any loose petals or debris. Store the dried flowers in airtight containers or use them to create stunning dried floral arrangements for various purposes, such as home decor or crafts.
  • Spray with unscented hairspray to help them last.

Pros: Easy, inexpensive, retains natural flower shape.

Cons: Longer drying time, color may fade slightly.

removing leaves from orange roses to prepare them for drying -How to dry flowers
Removing leaves from roses before drying
tying bunches of sedum autumn joy, dahlias and roses to a stick found in the yard held by twine to dry flowers -How to dry flowers
I just grabbed sticks from the yard to hang and dry flowers.

How to Press Flowers

The pressed flowers technique is ideal for flat flowers intended for crafts or scrapbooking. For flawless pressed flowers, choose varieties with single layers of petals like cosmos, hellebores, Virginia bluebells, perennial geraniums, and forget-me-nots. Learn how to press flowers with these simple step-by-step instructions.

  1. Place the flowers between sheets of absorbent paper (parchment paper works well).
  2. Use a flower press or stack heavy books on top to apply pressure.
  3. Change the drying paper every few days to absorb moisture.
  4. Drying time can vary depending on the flower thickness, but typically takes about 1-2 weeks.

Pros: Preserves flower details well, ideal for crafting.

Cons: Flowers become flattened, not suitable for all varieties.

red and white cosmos

Desiccant Drying Method (Silica Gel/Borax)

This method utilizes a desiccant (drying agent) to absorb moisture from the flowers quickly, preserving their shape and color more effectively. Silica gel is a popular choice, but borax can also be used (with caution – wear gloves and avoid inhaling dust).

Safety Note: When using borax, ensure proper ventilation and wear gloves to avoid skin irritation. Keep borax out of reach of children and pets. Here’s a general process (refer to specific instructions for your chosen desiccant):

  1. Fill a container with desiccant, enough to completely cover the flowers.
  2. Gently place the flowers in the desiccant, ensuring all parts are covered.
  3. Secure the container and store it in a cool, dry place.
  4. Drying time varies depending on the flower size and desiccant type, but typically takes 3-7 days.

Pros: Fast drying time, excellent color and shape preservation.

Cons: Requires purchasing desiccant, may not be suitable for all flower types.

snapdragon bouquet in potager garden with cut flowers

How to Dry Out Flowers Using a Microwave

The microwave method of drying flowers is faster but carries a higher risk of damaging the blooms. I don’t recommend doing it this way as it’s more for experimentation. We’ll chat briefly for informational purposes only, but exercise caution if attempting.

  • Microwave flowers in short bursts (30 seconds) on low power.
  • Check the flowers frequently and stop the process when they become dry and brittle.

Pros: Fastest drying method.

Cons: High risk of color fading, petal scorching,

close up of yarrow and coneflowers
Yarrow and coneflowers

Drying Flowers FAQs

Drying flowers is a timeless art that allows you to preserve the beauty of blooms and create delightful arrangements that last beyond their natural lifespan.

Whether you’re a seasoned floral enthusiast or a beginner looking to explore this fascinating technique, you likely have some questions about the process, best practices, and the types of flowers that are ideal for drying.

In this comprehensive FAQ section, we’ll chat about common questions to help you master the art of air drying and preserving flowers so that your floral creations stand the test of time.

amaranth close up
Amaranth

How do you dry flowers and keep their color?

If you want to keep the best color, cut flowers before they are fully open. Tie and hang them upside down in a dry, but warm, dark spot. The more light it gets, the lighter the color retention.

I am going to hang these in my finished basement to complete the drying process. But a garage or small dark room would work equally as well.

Just make sure the space is well-ventilated, dark and dry.

close up of davide austin rose 'charlotte' The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Charlotte’ David Austin Rose

Do dried flowers last forever?

While we can do our best to make them last, dried flowers don’t last forever.

You can do your best to extend their life, but I recommend replacing them when they don’t look as good.

When I got married, I kept my wedding bouquet for several years. They looked really good for a long time, but over time they started looking shabby.

The longevity of dried flowers depends on several factors, including the flower type, the drying process, and how they are stored and cared for over time.

good directions birdhouse with celosia on a shepherds hook in the garden
Good Directions Birdhouse surrounded by celosia

Properly dried and well-preserved flowers can retain their beauty and shape for several months to a few years. Some flowers, like lavender, baby’s breath, and statice, tend to hold their color and shape better than others when dried.

On the other hand, delicate flowers with thin petals may not last as long and can become brittle or lose their color faster.

To extend the lifespan of dried flowers:

  1. Store them in a dry, cool, and dark place: Excessive moisture and exposure to sunlight can cause the flowers to deteriorate more quickly.
  2. Avoid touching them frequently: Handling dried flowers too much can lead to breakage or crumbling.
  3. Dust them gently: Occasionally dust the dried flowers with a soft brush or use a can of compressed air to keep them clean.
  4. Use a protective spray: You can apply a clear lacquer or hairspray to dried flowers to help preserve their color and protect them from damage.

Despite your best efforts, it’s essential to understand that over time, all dried flowers will naturally degrade and lose some of their vibrancy. However, with proper care and attention, you can enjoy the beauty of dried flowers for a significant amount of time and create stunning floral arrangements that add a touch of elegance to your living spaces.

Limelight Hydrangeas and Beautyberry are the best fall garden flowers
Limelight hydrangea flowers with beautyberry (callicarpa)

How long do dried flowers last?

In general, dried flowers roughly last about 1-3 years. For best results, handle them with the most care. And try to keep them out of direct sunlight, wind, and humidity.

The lifespan of dried flowers can vary depending on several factors, including the flower type, the drying process, and how they are stored and cared for over time.

As mentioned earlier, some flowers hold up better when dried and can retain their color and shape for a more extended period. Lavender, baby’s breath, strawflowers, and statice are examples of flowers that tend to last longer when dried.

However, it’s essential to understand that, despite your best efforts, all dried flowers will naturally degrade over time. They may become more brittle, lose some color intensity, or experience some fading as the months go by.

So I think it’s a good idea to dry more and refresh them every so often.

close up of lavender flowers
Lavender flowers

What are the best flowers to dry?

Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to drying. Some varieties hold their shape and color better than others. Here are some popular choices that dry beautifully. It’s a pretty big list, but I have successfully dried the following blooms:

I recently dried dahlias and they looked so pretty! As an aside, I don’t dry hydrangeas like I do other flowers. If you want to see how I dry my hydrangeas, this is the easiest way to do it.

strawflowers in the cut flower garden

What are dried flowers good for?

There are lots of great ways to use dried flowers in your home. Here are a few ideas:

  • wreaths
  • centerpieces
  • arrangements
  • potpourri
  • candle-making projects
  • gifts
  • sachets
  • baths
  • cooking (some are edible in desserts or teas)
  • home-made cleaning products
goldenrod in the cottage garden
Goldenrod in the cottage garden

Should you spray dried flowers with hairspray?

To keep dried flowers in the best condition, hairspray can be applied to delicate dried flowers.

I recommend using it on wedding bouquets or corsages that have sentimental value to help them last longer.

Also, hairspray helps retain the shape better when moved around and prevents color fade over time.

How to Dry Flowers in a Few Easy Steps

Looking for ways to preserve a special bouquet or flowers from your garden? Learn how to dry flowers in a few easy steps. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Calories:
Author: Stacy Ling
Cost: $20

Equipment

  • 1 Twine
  • Stick
  • Hairspray Unscented

Materials

  • Flowers
  • 1 Scissors
  • 1 Twine
  • Stick, hanger
  • Hairspray Unscented

Instructions

  • Choose flowers that are in their peak condition, with no signs of wilting or damage.
    strawflowers in the cut flower garden
  • Remove all of the leaves from the stems.
  • Group a small number of flowers together and tie them in small bunches to ensure even drying. Secure the stems together with a rubber band or string, leaving enough space between each flower to allow for good airflow.
    Supplies need to dry flowers - How to dry flowers - supplies
  • Attach to a stick, hanger, or drying rack.
    tying bunches of sedum autumn joy, dahlias and roses to a stick found in the yard held by twine to dry flowers -How to dry flowers
  • Then hang to dry in a well-ventilated, dry, dark space for 3-4 weeks. Be patient and resist the urge to check on them too often, as disturbing the bundles could disrupt the drying process.
  • After a couple of weeks, carefully inspect the flowers to see if they are completely dry and papery to the touch. If there is any remaining moisture, return them to their hanging position for more time.
  • Once the flowers are thoroughly dry, remove them from the bundles and gently brush off any loose petals or debris. Store the dried flowers in airtight containers or use them to create stunning dried floral arrangements for various purposes, such as home decor or crafts.
  • Spray with unscented hairspray to help them last.

Where can I buy dried flowers?

If you’d rather skip the step of drying flowers, there are a few retailers that sell gorgeous dried flowers as well as other boho home decor.

Here are some of my GREAT go-to sources for dried flowers.

If you want to make your own arrangements but don’t want to dry flowers yourself, these dried flowers are incredibly beautiful. And there are so many options to choose from.

closeup of fresh flower arrangement with dahlias and zinnias
How to Keep Fresh Flowers Longer

More About Spring Gardening

Do you grow flowers, herbs or vegetables in containers? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. Here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

Buy My Book

Stacy Ling with her book the bricks n blooms guide to a beauitful and easy care flower garden

If you’ve always dreamed of bringing country charm to your home while creating a beautiful, relaxing space, I got you! Learn how to grow flowers in even the smallest of spaces with my easy-care, low-maintenance approach.

Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?

If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.

From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.

view of the front porch cottage garden with sugar pumpkins, sedum autumn joy, rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons

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water fountain in cut flower garden
daffodil garden in early spring

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variety of vibrant dahlia flowers in a colorful cut flower garden

Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Short on growing space but want to grow dahlias? This comprehensive guide empowers you to cultivate stunning dahlias in pots. Discover the right pot size, sun needs, feeding tips, and expert techniques for endless blooms.  If you’ve got limited growing space but still want to grow beautiful showy blooms, this post is for you! Today,…
Read More Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

stacy ling signature

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

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close up of bright orange roses with baby's breath - How to dry flowers with orange roses
Bouquet of orange roses with baby’s breath
Cut hydrangeas for drying in farmhouse kitchen in vintage ball jar glasses -How to Dry a Hydrangea the Easy Way
Drying sedum autumn joy, dahlias and roses  hung by twine on a branch -How to Dry Flowers
Drying sedum autumn joy, dahlias and roses
close up of dahlias - Dahlias are the best fall garden flowers
Dahlias in the fall garden
fresh cut dahlias in bud vases on granite countertop in farmhouse kitchen with white painted cabinetsHow to Dry Flowers
Cafe Au Lait Dahlias from the Cutting Garden in these adorable bud vases. I love them so much I’m getting another set!
Front yard cottage garden in fall with flowers that are perfect for drying -How to Dry Flowers From Your Garden
My cottage garden in fall has lots of pretty flowers to dry.
Dahlias from the cutting garden - How to Dry Flowers
Fresh cut bouquet of dahlias with beautyberry (callicarpa) in the background
Cutting garden to dry flowers
The cutting garden has an array of gorgeous flowers that are perfect for drying.
close up of cafe au lait dahlias

I love flowers. They make me happy. And because I love flowers so much, I started growing them. It started with one small garden, then progressed to so many more.

For years, I didn’t cut flowers from the garden because I thought they looked prettier in the borders.

I didn’t want to ruin the beds by snipping some to take inside. But for the last few years, I’ve been trying to change that mentality. Because flowers are meant to be enjoyed both outside and inside our homes, right?

So I started growing a new flower garden with the purpose of cutting the blooms. Designating one of the beds as a cut flower garden made it easier to grow flowers and harvest to bring inside.

This year, I grew many in the potager garden and LOVE how the garden looks don’t you?

As the garden blooms and changes throughout the season, I want to preserve some of my colorful blooms to use indoors.

Lately, I’ve been drying hydrangeas and tucking them in some vintage crates around my house. I love the pretty vintage blues and purple they add to my home decor.

Today, I want to preserve this gorgeous bouquet of orange roses to use in some vintage crocks with my fall decor.

Plus, I have some gorgeous dahlias that I’d love to keep around.

Whether it’s a beautiful wedding bouquet, corsage, or flowers from the garden, there are a few ways to dry flowers.

The best part?

It’s easy to do! And dried flowers can last a long time. So you can use them in different ways to decorate your home.

Holding a bouquet of orange roses to prepare them for drying -How to dry flowers with orange roses
Gorgeous bright orange roses

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14 Comments

  1. You have so many beautiful flowers to choose from! I just preserved flowers from my girlfriend’s wedding using silica…I’m amazed at how well they turned out! ( I still haven’t gotten to the project I want to make for her yet though!!)

  2. I’ve always liked dried flowers and love that it extends the life of those cut flowers. Also those wreaths are gorgeous!

  3. Stacy, great post! You just reminded me to use hairspray on these gorgeous pink roses I dried a few months ago! Your garden is so beautiful. I really need to set up a separate cutting garden. Like you, I don’t want to cut them as they look so beautiful in the garden. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s so hard right??? I enjoy them so much outdoors but have really been working on myself to cut more and bring them in!