The Do’s and Don’ts of Drying
The art of flower drying, a practice in floral preservation as old as some of our ancient history. Egyptian tombs have been found with brightly colored, vivid flowers in great condition. But what does that really mean to us in modern day? How can we preserve our flowers and repurpose them once they’ve lost their freshness without too much hassle?
Luckily at the JP Parker Flower Farm we have those answers! Pam and our designers have mastered the art of drying and have the tips and tricks you need to do it yourself. What dries well and what doesn’t, best “at-home” methods for preservation, and a rundown on awesome Indiana local flowers available for drying will all be covered in this blog today. So let’s get into it!
First things first, there’s a great rule of thumb to keep in mind with all of your floral drying projects. Drying means your flowers will alter look and color most of the time, as long as you’re flexible with that outcome you can dry almost anything with success! Which basically means if you understand how your dried product is going to turn out you can repurpose it towards something unexpected. For example, black-eyed susan is a flower that will lose its petals in the drying process, but underneath those petals is a very unique “spikey” ball shape that can create a terrific accent piece for an arrangement. So don’t get frustrated if your flowers don’t dry the way you expected, there’s a dried flower out there for everyone.
Most drying methods are super accessible. The most obvious and commonly practiced is hanging. This technique just requires you to hang your flowers upside-down in a well-ventilated area away from water. The only real enemy to the process is mold. If you find some on flowers you’ve kept in a vase for too long just remove spots with an alcohol wipe or hang in an extremely sunny spot for the day to dry out any potential mold. If you don’t have a lot of space, even a car dashboard can be a fantastic spot to quickly dry out your flowers without harm.
The classic flowers that will never let you down on the drying process include:
- babies breath and limonium can be dried in an empty vase on your dinner table with ease
- most types of thistle
- wreaths are fantastic for drying
- billy balls
- seeded/berry eucalyptus
Some of the tougher stuff (but still possible)
- lilies can be tricky because they usually lose their petals
- peonies are a great popular Indiana flower but are very difficult to dry
- dahlias unfortunately do not dry well at all
Let’s wrap it up by covering a few of Indiana’s floral drying treasures. Sedum is a great native plant with excellent drying qualities that can be found in the wild. Amaranth is another fantastic drying plant that grows well in the Hoosier state and has a variety of colors. The cattail is a classic Indiana plant found around our lakes, but also possible to dry. Just be careful with handling the cattail so it doesn’t explode into fluff! For those looking to dry wreaths for the holiday season, try swapping out evergreens with magnolia leaves, eucalyptus, or ruscus. Evergreens are unfortunately bad for drying.
Good luck to all the flower lovers and growers out there. Hopefully you find time to dry some of our JP Parker flowers soon! Stop by and feel free to ask any of our designers for more helpful hints on flower preservation and drying. Thanks for reading!