Discovering Dried Flowers

Only recently have I become a fan of dried flowers. I always used to turn up my nose at them.

Now I can’t believe it took me so long to discover their benefits. Drying flowers means you can preserve the abundance from your garden to be enjoyed later, when nothing is blooming. I realized how useful and versatile dried flowers really are.

If you use the right method, you can dry just about anything, and there are dozens of books on the subject. A couple of years ago I discovered a dated but incredibly helpful book, Flowers: Growing-Drying-Preserving, by Alan Cormack and David Carter, that goes into great detail on all the different varieties that you can dry, plus step-by-step instructions for how to do it, whether you’re air drying or using silica gel. There are so many ways to use dried flowers, seed pods, and grasses: in late autumn arrangements, adorning fresh holiday wreaths, or even mixed with fresh blooms. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the varieties that are the easiest to grow and most popular for drying.

Strawflowers  are a traditional standby, but the gorgeous new colors and varieties make them seem entirely different from those ’80s flowers, and they actually look incredible when mixed with fresh blooms.

Start seed indoors in trays 6 weeks before your last frost. Seed requires light to germinate so do not cover. Bottom-water until seedlings emerge, and transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. For drying, you can cut them at the desired stage of openness, and they’ll hold in that stage.

Statice, another standby, is one of the best flowers for drying and also wonderful when used fresh. Easy to grow and great for beginners.

Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost; transplant out when all danger of frost has passed. Harvest when all flowers on a stem have appeared. If picked too soon, stems will wilt. Fresh flowers have a 7- to 10-day vase life.

I’d love to hear what you think about dried flowers. Are you adding any to your cutting garden this season, or do you think of them as tacky and dated? If you’re a dried flower fan, I’d love to know your favorite varieties for drying and any resources that you’d recommend for beginners on our social media pages.

Lastly, if you find this information helpful, I would love it if you’d share it with your friends.