Dry Your Flowers: Which Ones Are Best and How to Dry Them

There are so many flowers that are great for drying! They’re nice for making colorful arrangements and wreaths that last through the winter and even for years. Most of these are very easy to dry, but some require paying a little attention for the best results.

To the left is a list of flowers that are good for drying. On each flower’s page look under “Harvesting” for when to harvest for drying and any special instructions.

General instructions to dry your flowers

Sunflowers, larkspur and more hanging to dry
Sunflowers, larkspur, and herbs hanging to dry

Most drying flowers can be dried in small bundles and hung up in a dry, dark, airy place. A shed, garage, unused room in the house can work well. See lavender as an exception to hanging to dry.

Once they’re very dry, a good way to store them is to layer them with tissue paper into cardboard boxes. The cardboard allows them to breathe which means if any moisture is in any of the flowers it can dry out further rather than mold the other flowers. And it’s dark in there so the colors don’t fade and they don’t collect dust and spider webs.

When you’re ready to work with your dried flowers they’re often too dry and brittle to work with. Don’t worry, there are a few things you can do…

How to work with dried flowers when they’re too dry and brittle

Where I live the air is dry until fall rains start in September or October, or later, in our drought years. Those rains bring moisture to the air and the flowers can hydrate enough to make them supple enough to work with. If my cardboard boxes with my stash of dried flowers are in a spot that’s exposed to the outside air, they start absorbing some of that moisture. I’ll open boxes up or take the flowers out and lay them on nursery flats to move the hydration faster.

If you live is a more humid area…

In a garage with the garage door open, on a porch, deck, a shed, or anywhere outdoors would work.

Another way to get your flowers to suppleness ….is to fill a bathtub full of hot, steamy water and bring your flowers into the bathroom, keep the window and door shut to let the steam penetrate the plant materials. I haven’t needed to do this but it may take many hours.

We’re after a little hydration here, just enough to make the stems a little pliable and to keep flower parts from breaking off too easily while you’re working with them. Or shattering

How to time working with your flowers before they are too dry and brittle

When there is something I want to use a lot of I can sometimes harvest them and dry them for a few days to a point when the stems shrink enough but the flowers are pliable to work with.

Sometimes, there is a flower I want to use in quantity and it’s ready for harvesting, like lavender or statice. I’ll pick the flowers at a mature stage (so that the tips of the flowers don’t droop when they’re drying) and hang them or lay them out on nursery flats for just a few days. I’ll wait until the stems to shrink enough so that when they are bundled or wrapped into a wreath or other bouquet, the stems don’t shrink further and make the arrangement loose and things fall out.

Sunflower heads laying out to dry with their petals laid out
Sunflowers drying over an old bathtub to let the petals lay out nicely.
Grapevine wreath with dried sunflowers, chilis, and more
Grapevine wreath with dried sunflowers, chili peppers, millet, and wild gathered materials
Dried floral wreath with celosias, statice, marigolds, yarrow, and foliage plants and
Wreath with dried celosias, yarrow, statice, German statice, marigolds, lamb's ear foliage, and more
Dried arrangement with larkspur, poppy pods, lavender, millet, and other dried materials
Dried arrangement with larkspur, poppy pods, lavender, millet, and other wild gathered dried materials