There are four popular ways of drying flowers: Air drying, glycerine, moist drying and by using a desiccant. In the chart below we have listed the most usual treatment for each subject. They will probably also respond to other treatments. Also there are doubtless many other plants in our catalog which can be dried for their flowers or foliage which haven't been mentioned here.
Air drying is the simplest method, pick the flowers with as long a stem as possible when they are just fully out. Strip off the leaves and hang them upside down in bunches of 3-6 stems in a cool, dark, airy place until fully dry.
Glycerine is helpful in giving grasses a lovely silken sheen or to retain a plant's suppleness. Dilute I part glycerine in 2 parts hot (boiled) water, mix together well and stand the plant in a jar containing 2-3in of the mixture. Leave for 4-5 days until they change colour.
Leave on the plant until the flowers are fully mature then cut, remove all the foliage and stand in a jar containing 2in of water. Once this has been used up they should be left to dry naturally. If the petals show signs of withering once the water is used up then add a little more.
This method is useful for the more fleshy flowers which don't dry easily by any other method. Use a cardboard shoe box or similar and cover the bottom with 0.75in of desiccant (silica gel or similar). Place the flowers on this and work the desiccant carefully in among the petals until they are full covered and only the stem shows. For a first attempt it's best to start with daisy like flowers which should be placed face downwards on the desiccant. Seal the lid on the box with sellotape and place in a WARM, DRY place until dry. The time taken will depend on the size and texture of the flowers, but it usually takes around 2 weeks. Lift the flowers out with extreme care and brush off any surplus desiccant with a soft paint brush.
Leave the seed heads on the plant until fully ripe and bring in and air dry for several weeks. Gourds should be harvested when fully ripe, this can be seen by the fruit changing colour and becoming hard. Leave them on the vine a little longer if you are doubtful. Cut the gourd with a small piece of stem attached and bring in to room temperature to dry. After several weeks when fully dry they can be given a coat of clear varnish if required. Luffa Gourds turn brown and become lighter in weight at maturity, bring indoors, wash in a mild non-bleaching disinfectant and hang in a warm, dry, airy place. When ready you will be able to remove the dry outer skin. The inner fruit body must then be soaked in clean water for a few days to help remove the soft inner tissue and seeds and then dried and bleached in the sun or with Hydrogen Peroxide.
|Alchemilla||HP||Air Drying or Glycerine or Moisture|
|Allium||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Amaranthus||HHA||Air Drying or Glycerine or Moisture|
|Asclepias||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Belarncanda||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Cephalaria||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|C[or]taderia||HP||Air Drying or Glycerine|
|Digitalis||HB||Dried Seed Head|
|Dipsacus||HB||Dried Seed Head|
|Echinacea||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Eryngium||HP||Air Drying or Desiccant|
|Glaucium||HB||Dried Seed Head|
|Gourds||HHA||Dried Seed Head|
|Iberis||HA||Dried Seed Head|
|Lavender||HSH||Dried Seed Head|
|Lunaria||HB||Dried Seed Head|
|Molucella||HHA||Air Drying or Desiccant or Glycerine|
|Nicandra||HA||Dried Seed Head|
|Nigella||HA||Dried Seed Head|
|Papaver||HA||Dried Seed Head|
|Physalis||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Pulsatilla||HP||Dried Seed Head|
|Scabiosa (Drumstick)||HA||Air Drying|
|Verbascum||HP||Dried Seed Head|
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