Dried flowers are either used for decorative purposes, or for scientific purposes to identify plant species. In a more familiar dimension, they are also used to decorate personal objects (picture frames, trays, announcements). Anyway, having undergone a drying does not exempt these flowers from receiving a minimum amount of care to ensure better conservation (assembling them into a bouquet, anti-dust treatment…).

Some flowers are better suited for drying than others. This is the case of grass species and whole flowers: roses, alstroemeria, sea lavender, helichrysum, and even baby’s breath, wheat, oats or peonies.

Basics of drying flowers

We will only spend a limited amount of time on the collection and drying of flowers, which only partially fit our subject matter. The flowers to be dried should be picked before the sun is directly overhead. It is best to wait for the morning dew to evaporate, that is, around eleven o’clock. Afterwards, they will be dried up, with the stem upwards and the flower downwards, in a dry, warm and preferably dark room. The goal is to stop the photosynthesis process by setting the flowers in darkness. Chemical drying agents, such as silica gel (in crystal form), can also be effective. Simply use them for soaking the flowers for a duration of two days.

Professionals use a “botanical flower press.” In this case, the flower must be left in the press for three weeks. The end result is the same, but this saves a considerable amount of time. The process consists of placing the petals between two sheets of absorbent paper before ironing the whole at medium temperature. After 24 hours, the flower will be processed.

Preservation of dried flowers

Assembly ensures better preservation of your dried flowers. Of course, due to their fragility, these flowers are not to be handled. You will have to assemble them properly so that your bouquet does not lose its petals and leaves at the slightest breeze. For correct assembly, you will need wire, flower tape, a foam block, pin holders, ribbon (for decoration) and oasis fix. Also, plan for a wire cutter in order to cut the wires. Floratape (flower tape) is sold in several colours (brown, green, white), and is useful for concealing wires and strengthening fragile parts. The foam for dried flowers is generally clear or grey. It will be used as a “flower holder” to keep your flowers. The foam block will be maintained by a pin holder, which will itself be attached to the vase or pot by the oasis fix.

Each flower has its own specific requirements, but the goal is to provide each kind with good support. For example, in the case of Helichrysum, bend a wire and push it in the flower’s heart. For flower with petiolate leaves, fit the wire tightly round the petiole (in 1 or 2 turns), cover the remaining wire portion with floratape and use the modified wire for wrapping the stem.

How to maintain your dried flowers?

Bouquets of dried flowers often cause maintenance problems because they attract a lot of dust. On top of that, these bouquets, being extremely fragile, cannot be handled for cleaning. A first trick to process dried flowers is to steam clean them by boiling a quart (1 litre) of water in a large saucepan. When the water boils, remove the lid and place a metal strainer over the pan. Or failing that, use wooden chopsticks that you will arrange so that you are be able to lay your bouquet on top of it. The water vapour that emanates from the pan will clean your bouquet on its own. But this method has its advantages and disadvantages. First of all, the handling is very delicate. Then, the heat from the water vapour can weaken the flowers. The second trick is to use a hair dryer to remove dust particles. It is then strongly advisable to use a hair dryer with a “cold air” option and adjustable power settings. Finally, finish the cleaning session by using a lightweight duster. Please note that flowers should always be handled with their head pointed downwards. For a preventive treatment, generously vaporize hair spray on your dried flowers. Thus, dust will settle more slowly and the bouquet will be easier to clean next time.

Related posts:

  1. Using flowers to decorate an entryway
  2. Planting and maintaining flowers on a balcony

Published in Decorating guide by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011