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December 1st 2019

Discovering Dried Flowers

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Only recently have I become a fan of dried flowers. I always used to turn up my nose at them because they reminded me of tacky, dated flower books from the late ‘80s.

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. Back when we were finishing the winter chapter of the flower arranging book, I realized how useful and versatile dried flowers really are.  

Dried flowers hanging from ceiling at FloretIf you use the right method, you can dry just about anything, and there are dozens of books on the subject lining the shelves of used bookstores and thrift stores. 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.
Red and white strawflowersStrawflowers (pictured above) 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 growing in fieldBlue staticeStatice, another standby, is one of the best flowers for drying and also wonderful when used fresh. Easy to grow and great for beginners, this versatile plant’s papery flowers bloom all summer long.

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.
dried statice and celosiaLarkspur (second from right, above) is one of the easiest cut flowers to grow—cold-tolerant and early to bloom, its adds tall, colorful spikes to spring gardens.

Direct seed in late fall or early spring or start seed indoors in trays 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost, and plant out while weather is still cool. Plants do best when sown directly in the garden. Larkspur can be planted in fall in even the coldest corners of the world. Speed up germination by chilling seed in a refrigerator or freezer for a week before sowing.

To dry, let all but the top three to four blooms open, then pick and hang upside down in a warm, dry place out of bright light for 2 weeks.
dried celosia
Grown for their unique textural blooms, celosias are vigorous and free-flowering. These easy-to-grow flowers come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and forms, ranging from a crested cockscomb to spikey, plumed forms that are great accents for bouquets.

Flower heads get bigger over time, so pick when they are the size that you want, but before they go to seed. Celosias often last 2 weeks as fresh flowers. To dry them, hang freshly cut stems upside down in a warm dark place for 2 to 3 weeks or until they are firm to the touch.

Pastel mix globe amaranthGlobe Amaranth have adorable, button-like blooms that look great in bouquets. This late summer darling thrives in the heat and is hard-working in both the garden and in the vase.

Start seed indoors in trays 4 to 6 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Freshly harvested flowers can last up to 2 weeks in the vase, and dried flowers look nearly the same as fresh ones.

EucalyptusEucalyptus is a staple, much in demand by florists and for weddings. Its blue-green and silvery hues set off both cool and warm floral palettes, and everyone loves its distinctive methol fragrance. Our favorite is ‘Round-Leaved Mallee’, pictured above.

Eucalyptus can be grown as an annual from seed if started early. Sow seed on the surface of the soil and do not cover. Seeds are very slow to germinate and take 45 days to sprout, so be patient. Harvest once foliage is mature and tips are no longer droopy.

Cut fresh, eucalyptus is a long-lasting foliage—often 2 weeks in the vase. As a dried foliage, it’s a favorite in autumn wreaths.

CressI discovered cress, a fantastic filler, almost a decade ago and have been a fan ever since. Just a few stems of these seedy treasures transform every bouquet. The tall, sturdy plants are smothered in beautiful silvery seed pods that aren’t prone to wilting or shattering.

Cress is extremely quick to germinate and produces a bumper crop in just 2 months. We direct sow it every 2 to 3 weeks from our last spring frost through early summer for a steady supply.

Harvest when the seed pods are fully formed and the top blooms have faded for a 7- to 10-day vase life. If you succession sow. you’ll have plenty to dry for autumn bouquets and wreaths. Stems dry easily; just hang them upside down in a warm, dry place.
Bunny Tails grass‘Bunny Tails’ is an irresistible ornamental grass that’s as soft as a well-worn baby’s blanket. Compact plants produce graceful gray-green blades with elongated heads that turn a delicate cream color and soften as they age.

Harvest at any point once seed heads emerge. If you cut it fresh, expect a vase life of 7 days; no preservative needed.

To dry, wait until the pollen sheds, pick and hang upside down in a warm, dark place. Everyone who visits the farm loves this grass! It mixes well with everything and looks fantastic dried.
Amazing Grey poppyPoppy pods have long been a favorite in mixed bouquets. They are easy to grow and make a wonderful addition to any garden.

Breadseed poppies produce large decorative seed pods that can be dried and used indefinitely. ‘Rattle Poppy’ pods are as large as limes! Breadseed poppies do best when direct sown, but slugs love them, so keep an eye out.

PoppyShirley Poppies (pictured above) yield a bumper crop of miniature silver pods with darker tops that are excellent for handwork, bridal bouquets, and dried crafts.

Direct sow into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Shirley Poppies can be started indoors; just take care when planting out not to disturb the roots too much.

Love in a mist podsMany other materials can be dried. You may want to experiment with lunaria, love-in-a mist (pictured above), hydrangea, and ornamental grasses.

tying up bunches of dried strawflowertying bunches of dried strawflowerWhen we were starting out with drying, we kept things easy and simply hung the harvested bunches upside down in the back of the garage, where it gets really hot and dry in the summer. Standard advice is to dry flowers in a warm, dark place, but thankfully ours dried so quickly that their color didn’t fade in the sunlight.

After the bunches were completely dry, we wrapped them in pieces of kraft paper and stored them in plastic Rubbermaid bins until we were ready to use them.

I mailed two huge boxes of dried goodies to my friend Nina in Vermont, who makes the sweetest little dried wreaths that she sells at craft fairs in New England. I divided the rest among the team, and the ladies had fun crafting with them.

dried flower wreathWhat got me going on the dried flower bandwagon in the first place was my flower friend Siri Thorson.

Siri lives on one of the most remote San Juan islands and travels between her family’s farm and destinations worldwide arranging flowers. She makes the most stunning works of art from dried flowers that she grows on her family’s farm and ships nationwide around the holidays.

Pictured are some of Siri’s everlasting wreaths. Aren’t they amazing?

dried flower wreathI am determined to learn Siri’s secrets. She’s hinted at teaching a few workshops, and I’m planning to be the first person to sign up. 

dried flowers at FloretHere are a few important things to keep in mind if you’re planning to dry flowers this coming year:

  • Flowers for drying should be picked more open than you would for fresh cuts, but make sure they’re not too ripe. I would suggest picking blooms when they are about three-quarters of the way open. If overly ripe, they will fall apart during the drying process.
  • After flowers are harvested, you’ll want to remove all of the foliage and leaves on the stem because they will turn brown and crispy when they dry.
  • Be sure to hang your bunches upside down while they are drying because the flower heads will be fixed in whatever position they were in when they dried. Hanging them upside down will ensure straight, usable stems.
  • Handle dried flowers with care because they are quite fragile and can break easily. If you aren’t going to use them right away, you can wrap them in tissue or kraft paper and store them away until needed.

Even if you only save aside a few bunches of flowers for drying, I’d highly recommend that you give it a try. You’ll be glad to have them on hand during the lean winter months.

dried flowers in studioI’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.

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


  1. Pam Williams on

    Some other materials not mentioned but I find are excellent and easy for dried arrangements/wreaths are: lambs ear (leaves & bloom stalk) and hydrangeas. From Floret’s seed inventory I have dried yarrow and zinnias using just plain air drying and silica sand. I also have dried bachelor buttons from air hanging-harvest just after opening. Lovely, Lovely, Lovely.

  2. Anna on

    Hello Erin, I’m wondering if you are selling your dried flowers?
    Thank you

  3. Jeannine LeVigne on

    Hi Erin – I highly recommend “The Complete Book of Everlastings” by Terry Silber. It is an older book but still available ( on Amazon) and packed with good information and inspiring ideas!

  4. Stacey Young on

    I am very interested in learning more about working with dried flowers. I recently attended a wreath making class and made a beautiful wreath of dried flowers. I don’t know of anywhere to purchase dried flowers. Hopefully this year I can grow and dry flowers for wreaths, dried arrangements and potpourri! So any information is appreciated..

  5. Linda Q on

    This year I grew strawflowers for the first time and the ones we did not use in fresh bouquets I hug to dry along with our extra celosia, statice, gomphrena & nigella. These came in handy in the fall to decorate mini pumpkins for my sisters wedding in November. I would really like to master the art of drying hydrangeas though. We hung ours upside down to dry and put them into wreaths but then found that they shattered easily after about a week. Are there any tips for drying hydrangeas so that they stay soft & pliable once dried?

  6. Linda Long on

    I just completed a strawflower wreath, made from Floret’s strawflowers which I started from seed this past summer. It’s wonderful to have a little bit of summer in the house now that winter is here! I only grew the peach colored strawflower this year, so next year I will grow one of every color! I cant get enough of them. They remind me of my late grandmother’s garden.

  7. Morgan Bowen on

    The flower farm I worked for this season made garlic braids and incorporated dried flowers between each bulb. They were bodacious and amazing!! We dried larkspur which turned out really well and also marigolds! They were so saturated and added such a nice pop to the arrangement. Along with grasses straw flowers, plume celosia, gomphrena, pods things like echinops and eucalyptus. I was even able to make a braid with all the colors of the rainbow. Pretty incredible. I wish I could share a photo. Since moving off the farm I’ve gotten a garden plot for this coming season needless to say I’ve dedicated about 800sq feet to flowers, hoping for the best.

  8. Cindy Flake on

    I grow and dry bread seed poppies on the stalk. When fully dry, I clip the stems low and use them in arrangements. I currently have a display of a dozen or so 34″ bread seed poppies tucked in a narrow vase that is nestled inside a 5-gallon crock. I grow Flander’s field and many other poppy varieties. Fresh-cut poppies will last in a vase if you burn the stem with a lighter.

  9. Robin Habing on

    I am adding strawflowers and more globe aramanth in spring garden. Siri’s everlastings are gorgeous! Thank you for all the great info.

  10. Lynn Galloway on

    I apologize , my post on October 29th there was a misspelling of one of my favorite flowers for drying. Please note the correction:
    Statice suworowii. It’s worth checking out, as it is stunning.

  11. Laura Russo on

    Hi, I’ve been working in a creative industry for 40 years and had to make a change after an accident. I’ve always dabbled in flowers always obsessed over flowers and this time last year I decided since I had time to start foraging and eventually making wreaths The foraging became a wonderful addiction and I have tons of things many of which I don’t even know what they are, if they are interesting I take them home dry them and sometimes paint them I don’t have my own gardens I wish I did and I’m glad I came across your website there is some great information. What I can share is the fact that so many are afraid to dry leaves, I often read people stating that leaves turn brown and fall apart when you dry them After almost a year of trial and error, I think I’ve mastered the leaf I wish I could post some pictures here I did leaves from a pear tree they are absolutely gorgeous and shiny after drying them in silica for 24 hours no longer , they came out perfect the only thing I had to do was seal them with clear spray paint semi gloss I’ve also learned that if you love hydrangeas and you would like to dry them let them dry partially on the stem on the bush before cutting them and finishing the drying process If you’d like to see some of my work unfortunately I don’t take the best photos I need to get better at that but I am recently a member of Instagram and it is called Lora’s lemon leaf company I also have a business page on Facebook please keep in mind that both of these are brand new and I am still learning to navigate I will be putting more photos on soon I just made my first three winter/holiday wreaths I’m very excited they are starting to sell and I must say the style of your friends wreaths are right up my alley I would look forward to hopefully getting into one of her workshops as well thank you for your time and your passion LAura.

  12. Lynn Galloway on

    I am in the Sierra foothills of California and I have been growing flowers for drying and using in wreaths for many years. Some of the everlasting flowers that I love that I did not see on you site, but that dry easily are: Statice surrowii ( pink multi- stemmed spikes) Caspia( white to lavender wispy, airy for edges of wreaths), German Statice (white, numerous small white flowers on a stem)- good for filler, Painted Daisies( open papery white and shades of pink). Thanks for all your inspirations and knowledge. See some of these flowers on our wreaths on instagram-# Stalderdesigns.

  13. Rita Campbell on

    I live in Georgia and the summers are usually hot and humid. How do you dry flowers in this kind of weather. Can you do it in an air conditioned room?

  14. Shelley Yoshiwara on

    I dries statice and so celosia this year to use in wreaths and can’t wait to expand what I grow next year to have a bigger variety of dried goods! And of course anything you have to teach in this department I’m all in for!!

  15. Kay Decker on

    I have a retail floral business, Bokay Studio, Pierre, South Dakota, of both fresh and dried flowers AND foliages. I often use a combination of fresh and dried in my wedding design! I enjoy your posts.
    Kay Decker

  16. Mary Q. on

    I want to try drying plants this year. I love dried grasses–especially bottlebrush and switchgrass. I’m also thinking of hydrangea and some seed heads to complement evergreen arrangements.

  17. Sandy Pehler on

    I am trying my hand at drying flowers this year. I have tried silica gel only on blooms, no stems, the colors are great. (Sunflowers, zinnias, celosia, pom dahlias, strawflowers, Lisianthus to name some blooms.) I found if I left them out with humidity they absorbed that back into the flower. I’m hanging also and I should have some almost done. (Amaranth, celosia, dahlias, etc.) I am hoping to use those on Christmas decor. I tried drying in the microwave with silica gel and had ok results, blooms turned a little darker. I have sprayed the blooms now to help prevent moisture affecting them. Just wondering if when you hang them would you have the same concern of air humidity affecting them once dried?

  18. Chuey Bluey on

    Does anyone know about the dried flower spray that “dusts” them? I can’t remember the name of the product; we found it at the SF Flower Mart, probably in the 80s/90s.
    We called it “Dust-Eater Spray” and that describes exactly what it did! It was for Silk flowers, too. You can’t really vacuum or feather dust faux arrangements without messing them up. The spray somehow dissolved and totally disappeared all traces of dust.

    Please post back if you know of the product I’m talking about– gotta get my hands on some!

  19. Sylvia on

    I’m glad to see them coming back. I’ve been drying flowers for 30+ years, One thing that causes them to seem dated, in my opinion, is when they are dyed in the hideous, lurid colors that don’t exist in nature. I’m always excited to find something new to dry – this year, I discovered hellebores, Peonies are one of my favorites for drying, but no matter how careful I am with them , they are eaten by moths. Does anyone else have this problem?

  20. Deb Stockberger on

    I love dried flowers—–they are an art in themselves from growing to preserving and to use in arranging wreaths, swags, or other beautiful arrangements. I used to grow flowers such as the large amaranths to adorn my xmas tree along with baby’s breath, hydrangeas, and statice. How lovely they looked with a tree full of antique glass birds. Nothing tacky about that!

  21. Winni on

    I love dried flowers. Dried flowers provide unique indoor decoration. Dried flowers and dried flower arrangements are long-lasting but it needs little bit care.

  22. Judith Williams on

    I’m really trying to do this this year , your hints about when to cut them was winderful ! I have lavender and I’ve done those a little . Can anyone tell me about herbs ? Rosemary, basil, lemon grass? Sage ? How too ..

  23. Marian on

    I love dried flower arranging! I used to make wreaths, swags, and centerpieces and had such fun- I sold at craft shows- Ladies loved decorating with them because they lasted so long! I have been waiting for it to catch on again since it’s so natural!!

  24. Maureen A Conner on

    I love to dry flowers, that is my very favorite hobby. And making wreaths and swags with them….I am in heaven! A few of my favorites to dry are peonies, spray roses, larkspur, globe amaranth, nigella,, of course herbs….the list could go on and on! So glad you discovered and are enjoying them…..

  25. Cheryle Duffy-Lehrer on

    Loving that your exploring this option again with fresh eyes! I have always loved dried flowers. I would welcome some new visual ideas. During the fall I love to mix dried with fresh items. Collected grasses and weathered pine cones dried sunflowers are a particular favorite.

  26. Joy Collazzi on

    There is a craft spray available specifically for dried flowers, it’s for helping with dust, protecting, and adds just a little bit of strength to the fragility of dried flowers. Any thoughts on this product and it’s use?

  27. Mariana Menezes on

    Dryed flowers are becoming really a hit in Brazil. Florists and clients are discovering its beauties and its multifaceted qualities. One of my dream florist who is a master in making dryed arrangements is the French @atelierlonicera – a true feast to the soul (just like everything you do, I´m a totally Floret fan).

  28. Lisa Lanni on

    I’m also a huge dried flower fan. They got a bad rap because grandmas everywhere left theirs hanging on their wall for 10+ years. They do need replacing every couple years, but they deserve a spot in our homes. I’ve grown and successfully dried many flowers, grasses and wheats in silica, glycerin, or by air drying. The key to finding their beauty is to put something that may look drab with a contrasting or complimenting flower to give the arrangement either cohesiveness or a pop of color. Flowers that don’t look like anything necessarily on their own, can be stunning when placed with something else that brings out its beauty. I am particular to all colors of gomphrena, they are the perfect flower to dry, but certainly celosia, larkspur, hydrangea, stock, delphiniums, zinnias, lambs ear, sweet annie, several varieties of wheats, ruby silk grass, russian sage, roses, peonies, eucalyptus, craspedia, etc etc, there are just so many that dry successfully! I sell my dried flowers and make wreaths, and I agree they are making a comeback. They do need replacing every few years, but they are worth every bit of time it takes to preserve, if for nothing more than a reminder all winter of the beauty that is yet to come.

  29. Melissa Gagnon on

    My favorite flowers to dry are zinnias. They retain their color so amazingly using silica sand as the drying agent. Strawflowers are my second favorite but timing is everything as I don’t like when you can see the center, that is when you waited too long to harvest. Sweet annie is another favorite but I “dry” it in glycerin and it keeps its wonderful scent and remains soft as though cut fresh from the garden.

  30. Alissa on

    I love dried flowers and try to dry at least some nigella pods, strawflowers, poppy pods and statice every year. I tried drying some red spike amaranth last fall, but it faded a lot (and dropped a ton of seed all over the place). A friend of mine dries zinnias and dahlias and they surprisingly keep their color and look great. I don’t think their tacky at all and bring cheer in winter when not much is blooming. Thanks for all your posts of information, and inspiration!

  31. Debbie Wyatt on

    Even if you did nothing but leave them hanging in the shop it would be amazing. They are gorgeous!

  32. Carol Whitman on

    I dried larkspur last summer, and was amazed at how well they dried. Hung them in the dry storage shed and they did well. This year I’ve added gomphera (sp?), and celosia, neither of which I’ve grown before. Saw very lovely wreaths at the Full Belly Farm farmers market stand last fall – concentric layers of small to large flowers – really stunning. I have mixed results with hydrangeas and will watch this space for advice. Lace cap not conducive to drying? Mop heads seem to vary, some dry, some don’t. Thanks for this post.

  33. Meg Cocchrane on

    It amuses me that dried flowers are becoming popular again as I used to sell tons of them, as well as dried wreathes and arrangements. Now all of a sudden they are cool again! Besides stretching out the selling season and using flowers that didn’t sell when they were fresh, they are so beautiful and last for- well, until they get too dusty and faded- which is quite awhile. Some of my favorites were roses and larkspur, but there isn’t much that doesn’t dry well. I used silica to dry pansies, sunflowers, zinnias- all the things that have a flat face -more time intensive, but they add so much personality. Hanging bunches of lots of herbs like mint, oregano, lavender,dusty miller, lambs ears, etc. make lovely filler in addition to the grasses and pods you mentioned. You are going to have some fun ahead!

  34. Julie on

    I used to grow and dry, dried flowers in the 1980’s, I had a great little business selling the arrangements, then they sadly went out of fashion, It’s really hard to find anything much in the way of dried flowers for sale, now in the UK. So have started to grow some again, Would love to be able to Freeze dry, as it seems to preserve the colour and structure well but the equipment is way too expensive for small scale, so I have been using my food dehydrator to dry heads, particularly sunflowers, camellias and paeonies, some dry very well, others are not so successful, but I have had fun experimenting,

  35. Joanna Bruno on

    I made a few dried arrangements last fall for a bakery/cafe I sell my flowers to, and I was surprised by the response they got. The owner told me everyone was taking pictures of themselves with the arrangements and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them. I was shocked! The dried arrangements were also a great solution for this business, which is always hot (thank you, bread-baking ovens) and has lots of south-facing windows. The fresh flowers baked in there and only lasted a few days at most, but my dried arrangements lasted all winter until I had fresh blooms to replace them with. I had similar thoughts to yours regarding dried flowers – tacky 80s crafts – but these arrangements turned out so beautifully that I was already planning to grow more varieties that could be easily dried. Your post was timed perfectly! I’m wondering how to dry my flowers well in hot, sticky, Michigan weather, though. We don’t have the dry summers that you do out west. Any thoughts?

  36. Cathy McRae on

    I dry Hydrangeas every year for winter color in my home. I wait until about the 3rd week in September (in our area of southern B.C.) to cut them and dry them in a vase (with a small amount of water in the bottom), that way they don’t dry all wilted looking if you do them upside down. I’ve also learned from experience to cut the stems as long as you can, so you have the option of different sized containers to display them in, or like me have to add length to them with florist wire/sticks, which works, but not always ideal. Happy drying!

  37. Laura on

    I am so excited about this! I have been getting more into dried arrangements recently! One thing I wanted to mention is hydrangeas dry beautifully if you put them in a vase with just a few inches of water and let them suck it dry (do not hang upside down). I’ve had a bouquet of dried antique hydrangeas on our dining table forever now and they still look fresh! They are my favorite for drying! I also have a wreath of cedar, juniper, eucalyptus, protea and spruce that dried beautifully. It doesn’t look fresh like the hydrangeas of course but I love all the warm colors and textures. I kept the wreath on our front door and the storm door created an extra warm protected environment where it dried nicely. Looking forward to seeing new tips and tricks!

  38. Alicia on

    Hydrangeas are my favorite flower to dry. I just let mine dry right on the bush in the fall and then cut them off. Lavender and ornamental oregano are also a favorite for drying, along with eucalyptus (though I can get that from the store). Seeded eucalyptus and long leaf eucalyptus dry so nicely. This year I stumbled upon dries zinnias working well as well, when I went to dry them for seeds. Love this article and that dried flowers are seeing their day.

  39. Trisha Brink on

    As a buyer and retail shop owner/interior designer I’ve been keenly watching this lovely trend sneaking it’s way back into decor the last few years. Honestly, I felt like you did at first…”oh no…not the tacky 80’s thing again!” Frankly I found myself wondering when the Precious Moments figurines might start popping up in my Pinterest feed! Yikes! LOL! But now, I’m actually finding myself growing flowers specifically for drying purposes! I love how designers are using pampas grasses in wedding photo backdrops and I continue to see dried arrangements/wreaths etc…finding their way into the prettiest of wholesale showrooms at the various markets I attend. Personally…I’ve been growing globe thistle and hydrangeas for years and just began drying them again this past fall. This Spring I’m introducing bread seed poppies, sea holly, bunny tail grass, strawflower, love-in-a-mist, yarrow, celosia, silver dollar/money plant, scabiosa sternkugel, Chinese lanterns and craspedia from seeds (some purchased from you). I am also growing many herbs for drying to make my own tea. Chamomile, lavender, calendula and marshmallow to name a few. I hope I have enough rafters to hang them all from this summer/fall! I look forward to seeing what you’ll be doing with all your lovely dried flowers…I’m so happy to know I am not alone on the dried flower front!

  40. patricia Starkey on

    Great article! I am one of the few who really LOVE dried flowers. Seriously! I made a raffia and dried floral arrangement in High School from my step mom and just was in awe at how beautiful something can be when dead. It’s the full circle of life. Prior to signing up for your online course, which was wonderful, I drew up some ideas using dried flowers in different ways and I hope in the future I will be able to use them. I am in the testing stages and have already sent out a couple samples to close friends and family and so far have had a good response. Thank you so much for sharing this, I really think that the dried flowers are coming back. Yeah to floral zombies :-)

  41. Patricia Dames on

    I have been experimenting with drying different kinds of cut flowers in our small, dark basement where we always have a dehumidifier running during the summer months. One flower that surprisingly dries well is sweet peas. The vines and pods dry well also. They are nice for swags and garlands.
    Also try drying peonies! They shrink in size, but make a lovely little flowers with very sturdy stems.

  42. Rachel Benton on

    Any tips for drying hydrangeas perfectly? I’ve tried using glycerol but no luck. I know you are suppose to pick the hydrangeas when the little middle petiole flowers have come out too. I have tried just hanging up to dry but the petals don’t stay that same perfect shape. I want to keep the colour so I can’t just leave them on the bush, although they dry perfectly like that but without colour! Any tips would be appreciated. Rachel, Wanaka, New Zealand

  43. Jen French on

    New to flower farming and love the drieds! Your topics are always so ‘on point’…thanks for another great post!

  44. Kelsea on

    So happy to have statis, globe amaranth, and strawflower hanging at home this winter! Pearly Everlasting is another special wild find I treasure having around!

  45. Berit MacAllister on

    Yes yes yes yes yes!!!! There is an old bank in our town an last November I asked them if I could cut the dried hydrangeas back for them they were huge bushes and different varieties. I made a ton of wreaths for the holidays out of them. I even found several birds nest in them that I incorporated in the the wreaths. Which was pretty cool. I still have a few bumping around in my studio and they are still in great shape! This season We are growing lots of straw flowers. I can’t wait for your book to come out!!,,

  46. Donna M Timm on

    Thanks for sharing this….I have dried various flowers over the years…esp hydrangeas. You always give good advice and so glad you live in the Skagit Valley which is one of the most marvelous places on God’s green earth….we moved back to this area after years away and knew we wanted to retire here and now we do…yeah!

  47. FLORA + LEE on

    Would you ever consider selling dried flowers? I’m an artist who makes sculptors out of dried flowers and resin. I’m always in the need for more dried flowers.

  48. Megan on

    This is a slightly different use of dried flowers, but I was so excited to see dried flower petals used in weddings rather than rice or bubbles. Flower confetti. So sweet! Those wreaths are beautiful. I have little piles of dried flowers around the house that made me smile all winter long.

  49. Jodi Sorrels on

    I can’t wait to dry a few bunches. We are in full bloom with the wild flowers this year, so hoping for success. Thanks for the information

  50. Linda Branagan on

    Nothing at all ugly about dried or preserved flowers!
    Maybe the photography had something to do with your remembrance of “tacky and dated”.
    Love Terrain but some would think that their high-priced wreaths are ugly.
    Glad that dried flowers are coming back in fashion.
    I work in the floral industry and I have customers ask for dried flowers often.

  51. Kristen Tack on

    Oh Erin, this wonderful! I fell in love with dried flowers last growing season too. Everything we did not sell fresh got dried in our barn. Hot and dark, it’s the perfect location. We literally dried everything to see how it would turn out by simply hanging it upside down. Some of our favorites were delphinium, ammonium, ruby silk grass and surprisingly dahlias. My absolute favorite though were peonies!!! We now offer complete wedding packages made with all dried flowers. It’s incredible what beauty can be created with them. If you are interested, checkout our Instagram feed and website to see all the beauty we’ve been able to create. We’ve made everything from arch decor, table arrangements, jewelry, bridal bouquets, etc. You name it and it is possible with dried flowers. So nice to see these beauties being promoted!

  52. Susan Miller on

    Did you run floral wire up the stems of strawflowers before bunching them to dry? I have read that once dry, the stems are so fragile, they break or crumble. I would appreciate knowing, since it is time consuming, but worth doing in order to preserve the everlasting.

  53. Jesse May Danson on

    This was fascinating! I look forward to seeing more of this reimagined craft!

  54. Terri Lamb on

    I was with you thinking that dried flowers were totally naff. But like you I have had a rethink as I’m sure they are overdue for a revival. I’m growing from seed and finding that helicrysums and the like are not keen to germinate. I wonder what I’m doing wrong or am I just anther ‘impatient gardener’!

  55. Lynn Meyers on

    I have to admit I also thought of dried flowers as too old & tacky to bother with, but I have started Gomphrena seeds this year and think that will provide the impetus to go at this more seriously. I grew decorative wheat and Nigella last year, and only accidentally found out how long they last and how mixing dried elements with fresh looked really lovely. That wheat was perhaps the easiest thing ever: plunk the seeds in the soil early spring and go on with your life. Harvest and use practically forever. And the Nigella pods are so fun–they have sort of a cool Jetson’s look, like funky little asteroids! I vote yes on expanding this drying idea!

  56. debra phillips on

    I thought I was detecting a return of died flowers, a strong part of my business in the 80’s.
    back in the day my favorites were peonies, bundled and hanging in my barn, I would come thru with a blow dryer and give each one a shot when 2/3 dried. they expand into a cabbage rose look and stay. too soon, they will revert to a tight petal, too late is well, too late! have tried this with roses too for great effect

  57. Alice Cox on

    I love dried flowers. I especially like making dried flower arrangements so it’s also great to dry eucalyptus (all varieties) to add to the arrangements.

  58. Nova on

    Such a timely post! I’ve been loving the beautiful dried flower wreaths and arrangements on IG many Japanese crafters are making and wanted to try my hand at it. What I’ve noticed with these Japanese dried arrangements is that the colors are very vibrant for dried flowers, so not sure if color is being added or if they are using glycerin to preserve color and pliability??? Have been looking for a source to buy these more colorful dried blooms. Looking forward to making some bouquets & wreaths as materials become more available.

  59. Tina McPherson on

    I’ve been experimenting with drying and pressing flowers for years…using expensive dessicants…and i’ve been experimenting with sandblasting sand…i LOVE just hanging stems of PEONIES, from my curtain in my dining room with clothes pins. I know their color would probably be better in a dark place, but this is fun and whimsical. Thanks for all the great tips and love reading comments. Tina in Montana

  60. Pam Baker on

    I have always loved dried flowers. I save flowers and especially little rose buds and baby’s breath. I even managed to save some yellow roses from my mother-in-laws funeral and have made some small wreath arrangements with those that I’ve gifted to the granddaughters.

    Question: Do you use any drying spray on your flowers? Or what’s your secret to keep them from falling apart? Maybe the secret lies in when you dry them? Hmmm… I’m really gonna enjoy this series and looking forward to learning more.

  61. Jennifer Jordan on

    Hi Erin,
    Such a coincidence, last night I was admiring very pretty dried wreaths on the website Terrain. Yes those 80’s images of badly done dried flower arrangements did creep in but there is beauty in dried flowers. If anyone can revive this flower art it will be you. So many new flower types and such talented flower farms and flower artists today make the dried flower arts fresh and new again with their lasting beauty.
    Have a wonderful, prosperous and creative season.

  62. Heidi on

    I have always loved dried flowers and grew them in my first garden when newly married. I picked my favorites to grow this year, strawflower, statice, babys breath, globe amaranth, eucalyptus, lavender and sweet annie. I’m glad you are going to be using more of them. Let’s bring them back in new ways!

  63. Pamela S Williams on

    Hi Erin, I am excited to see you embraced dried flowers as a flower production facet. I was disappointed there was not more content on this subject during the online workshop coursework, notebooks, etc. BUT this addition to the blog helps. My years of experience growing for drying has taught me well. Just finished drying a batch of daffodils- people do not realize how easy they are to air dry upright in narrow vases. My new experiments this year will be with the alliums. Last year I had great success with Nandina foliage & seed pods. I think I am moving toward holding workshops. Hope you will continue to focus on dried flowers and carry a line of seeds, bulbs especially suited for drying. Gotta go work with my dried daffodil bunches, so thanks a “bunch”, Prairie Cottage Studio aka Pam Williams in Oklahoma.

  64. Heidi Schmidt on

    I have felt the same as you–even the thought of dried flowers brought me back to a time of crinkly, yellowed roses and other dried flowers that truly look terrible. But, like you, I’m coming around… I think the key is only drying things that look great dried! For me, I’ve accidentally discovered good dried flowers because I had them fresh in a vase and they just lasted and lasted–things like statice and globe amaranth–and they look fantastic. You actually can’t tell if they’re fresh or dried. I also like my allium “skeleton” that looks great even after the petals fall off. You’ve totally inspired me with strawflowers–that’s going on my next-year list!

  65. Emily Collins on

    I love this!! I have been contemplating dried flowers for weeks because I’d like to hang flowers and ferns from the ceiling of my barn for my wedding. Actually, the bunches drying look amazing and could be used exactly as they are. I also bought floret strawflower, so I’m already on the right track. Thank you!!

  66. Arlene in Maine on

    Thanks for posting this while I am still in the process of choosing and starting seeds to grow. I found the recommended book on Ebay for $ 4.25. I’m real interested in dried flowers. I am unable to focus a lot of my energy on developing into cut flowers and bouquet making, as I am already growing produce/herbs/seedling for our farmers’ market. This will give me something to play with during the off season. For years I have been growing glass gem corn, which is an amazingly beautiful multicolor variety, and harvested in fall. Dried flowers and grasses will be fun to combine with the corn. Let’s see what I can create!

  67. Evon on

    I volunteer with Weed Ladies in Naperville, IL, who are celebrating 50 yrs of what started as drying “weeds” from their gardens. We use them for bookmarks/arrangements/fillers/weeaths. Pods/hydrangea/peperonia/baby’s breath.
    Hope In Bloom is an outreach I started to deliver donated event/funeral flowers to seniors/hospice. I air dry the faded flowers. Dried scraps are used for paper-making.
    Last Fall, I cut the annual ‘cardinal flower’ vine and shaped/dried immediately to use as a wreath base, then glue on drieds. It’s unique bc the remaining leaves add a lovely texture. Glad to send a picture?
    Make potpourri. Purple are the most stunning. Lambs ear stays pretty. Don’t be afraid to dry any flower/leaf. They take on a new beauty as they dry.

  68. Nate Barton on

    I found it interesting that you mentioned strawflowers and hydrangea. I dried both last year, though I found hydrangea to be a little more persnickety. I enjoyed using them to create ornaments by filling clear glass balls. They made wonderful gifts. I look forward to learning more about what varieties you have success with and maybe some tips for DIY. Cheers.

  69. Traci Nelson on

    I absolutely love them! I must say, they do bring back vivid memories of the 80’s and early 90’s when everyone was crafting with them…BUT… SO much all together has changed with design and arrangement. I can see that with your friends beautiful dried arrangements. They don’t resemble the 80’s at all! I think it’s time for a Renaissance with dried flowers… certainly fresh flower arranging is also very different than back then, so it would make sense that dry arranging will take on a whole new flair… I also love the kinds of flowers you are drying and the brightness and vividness are beautiful! I’m excited to learn more from you!

  70. Karen Glennon on

    I adore dried flowers and used to work on a farm that produced a lot of them and I just loved making wreaths. I hope they become popular again.
    One bit of advice I can share for straw flowers and amobium, cut and bunch them for drying when they bud is clearly showing color but NOT open and exposing any of the center, because they continue to open once hung to dry. The centers on both of these often turn dark or black and look unsightly, in my opinion. One has to consider foliage for wreaths as well. Lambs ear spikes, before the actual flower shows any color, are fabulous. (The pink flowers dry an ugly brown and have to be removed before use, best to cut before they develop.) I also love working with any silver foliage, so lavender, common sage, dusty miller and artemesia are lovely.
    I truly love dried flowers as much as fresh cut!

  71. Kelly on

    Great blog post! Thanks! I can´t wait to dig in with dried flowers because they look great in wreaths and want to do those in the fall and christmas season. About how long it takes to dry them? When I thought about dried flowers it took me to a gourd variety I have that we call güira it is like a bottle gourd here its used mainly as an instrument. The man that gave me the seeds he mentioned if I grow them and make sure they stay in a position with bottom flat to soil the grow nicely flat and wide at the bottom…. Which made me think they would do awesome vases for Fall arrangements and workshops… and if we drop in a few dry flowers I think its beyond perfect for fall…I already have a a batch of seeds sprouting to try this idea and see how it goes. Thanks!

  72. Toby Wollin on

    Question – do you have any issues with mold/rotting when you put dried flowers in fresh bouquets?

  73. Audrey on

    We love mixing in all sorts of dried pods and bits. It’s a great juxtaposition to the preciousness of cut flowers. A particularly abundant harvest of Coral Fountain amaranthus I grew last year is still hanging around the studio and often gets tucked into our hotel arrangements and photo shoots. Can’t wait to grow a whole rainbow of amaranth this year along with lots of other dryable stems: strawflower, gomphrena, celosia, poppy pods, giant dill, and crespedia.

  74. Megan on

    While I’ve largely cut down on my blog reading in the past several years, I don’t miss any of your content. It’s all so inspirational! Would love a guest blog post from your friend or your own ideas on how to use your dried blooms!

  75. Eliza Shaw Valk on

    Gorgeous! I love desiccated flowers, and even murky fresh ones on their way out. Looking up at all of the dried blooms above your head must have been breathtaking.

  76. San Giovanni's Farm on

    This is helpful. I experimented too, this past year, with dried flowers and found that the straw flowers dry beautifully! The Globe Amaranth also dry well and look lovely in an arrangement with dried eucalyptus. The celosia dry well too. I hung the flowers to be dried in a closet in one of our bedrooms that does not get regular use, it is just a guest room. My disappointment was that the eucalyptus is so crumbly when it dries and it is very hard to work with. I am wondering if anyone knows of a way to avoid that. Maybe I picked them too late, not sure. I much prefer the fresh flowers over the dry, however, the pics of the wreaths in your post are so lovely and we enjoyed our dried eucalyptus/globe amaranth arrangements all winter long. Also, the broom corn is beautiful when dried. I have a generous bunch of those siting in a somewhat tall, tin, slender decorative planter in my foyer and they are just beautiful. They are very easy to handle when dried. I am going to grow more broom corn this year for market and for drying.

  77. Deby Wright on

    My daughter in law flipped over an adorable wreathe made of all dried carmine gomphrena that she saw in a magazine so I’m growing a lot to try selling them around Valentines Day. Back in the 80s I stored boxes of dried flowers under my bed for years so I find the renewed interest funny. “Nothing new under the sun” right?! ?

  78. Linda Edwards on

    Last Valentines day my fiance sent me flowers at work that had pink zinnias with yellow centers. It was just last week that I finally threw the vase away with the dried out flowers. The zinnias were still so beautiful even dried. Your post is very timely to inspire me to grow some this spring!

  79. Charline Swoveland on

    I detest fake flowers so I’ve always dried flowers for winter decorating. Yellow yarrow and Annabelle hydrangeas are two of my fav’s but I love seed pods too.

  80. Anne Nolt on

    I dried flowers the first time around in the 1980s. It was fun then. I moved on to arranging with silk florals but nothing compares to growing and arranging with fresh flowers. I think there will always be room for adding dried elements to a fresh arrangement, but I don’t see a resurgence of the dried flower movement like 35 years ago.

  81. Julie on

    As always, I love your post. I have dabbled with dried flowers as a home hobby. They are a different genre altogether, and must be appreciated as such. Maybe others think they are “dull” compared to their fresh siblings in color and form. Not quite, plenty of beautiful dried varieties pack bright saturated color. Depending on how the blooms are dried can affect their form. I agree about storing them.

    Please keep us updated. So loving your down to earth attitude and willingness to share knowledge. I hope you are blessed with many more years of success.

  82. Allie Millington on


    I’m so glad you posted this! My husband and I run a flower preservation business called Wither Without Florals. We started off preserving wedding Florals as way for brides and grooms to enjoy their flowers for decades to come by incorporating their preserved blooms in a unique piece of decor they can hang up in their home. We believe that through preserving flowers, we can also preserve memories, and our goal is for the flower to hold its same color and shape that it did on the wedding day. Recently, we’ve been preserving funeral flowers for families and creating something that can have in their home that honors their loved one who passed. We like to think of ourselves as professional flower rescuers and though it’s a small business, I think it’s meant a lot to the people we’ve gotten to work with so far. Anyways, thanks for the post- it always excites me to see more people working with dried flowers!

  83. Canyon Crest Farms on

    I’ve always loved dried flowers! We’ve been experimenting with drying just our blooms that we can’t sell (such as stems too short, crooked or broken). We’re going to use them in value-added products like salt scrubs or potpourri for farmers market. I wasn’t going to even consider potpourri because that seems like a trend that died in the 80s but surprisingly, I’ve had several people suggest it so maybe it’s making a comeback….I don’t know. Anyway, I’m excited to try more varieties and methods and explore all the other dried flower opportunities!

  84. Debra Byler on

    Your post brought many precious memories my way Erin! Our whole flower career actually started with dried flowers. As it grew, we built a retail shop beside our house and had 2-3 designers hired at all times. We made thousands of wreaths, container arrangements, christmas ornaments, and every imaginable thing you could do with drieds. We dried fruit slices and even some veggie slices in a dehydrator, dried sunflower and double hollyhock heads also in the dehydrator. Our shop was open for 17 years (80’s-90’s) and closed as the trend faded and our Penn State extension agent at the time mentored us into the fresh cut world. We continued to dry whatever was left from fresh sales (cockscomb, silver king artemesia, grasses, hydrangea, etc.) ever since and sell to crafters. I just said to a flower farmer friend this week, “drieds are coming back” and then I saw your post today. Have fun! We are not opening our shop again, lol.

  85. Amanda Vanhoozier on

    Yea! Thanks for pushing into the trend. I chose to dry flowers because I have a no waste farm so flowers that did not make it into the market, I hung to dry. Everything! Most turned out lovely and after making my woodland wreaths, I make two products that folks like at market this spring.

    Dried bouquets wrapped in white tissue and the flower heads packed into small jars as reminiscent of summer! My first excitement with them was seeing them drying at the Homeless Garden in Santa Cruz.

  86. Tracey on

    I worked with drying flowers for years. I agree with Mary Menn. And, after all the work, when arranged and used under normal living conditions they soon become dusty and then the pleasure is gone because there is no way to clean the fragile things. And they shed….

    I do dry hydrangeas, however – it’s simple and easy and they are fairly sturdy. The variety ‘Strawberry Vanilla’ dries beautifully simply left in a vase, and retains the pink color for at least a year. The blue-green macrophylla varieties are also gorgeous, and easy to dry.

  87. Jennifer Joray on

    I have to say, Erin, I disliked them, too. But now that I see your beautiful pictures, especially the wreaths, I have a renewed sense of gratitude towards flowers for giving so much beauty at all stages!! After all, it is nature, and there are treasures awaiting in the dried realm as well. Maybe you’ll bring them back and it’ll be all the craze again!!

  88. Cor on

    I’ve been working with dried flowers since I was a teenager…and 20+ years later still loving them so much. We designed our new packing shed to have a large upstairs for drying flowers/workshop space. Some of my favorites that you didn’t mention are the taka (Japanese) chiles, marigolds, and herbs like sage, thyme, and flowering marjoram. The herbs and chiles mixed with dried flowers give a great foodie flair to wreath work

  89. Chris on

    Here in Vermont dried flowers, in bunches and wreaths, sell well at the holiday market before Thanksgiving–when there are no fresh flowers in the landscape and people are looking for things to decorate for the winter season and holidays.
    One note: we have heavy due in the mornings in the late summer and fall, and I find that you sacrifice color, especially in the greens, and the subtle colors of hydrangeas, if you hang them in barn or shed open to the air. I bring everything into the house and hang it inside.

  90. Nancy Johnson on

    Dried flowers are especially needed to extend our very short season in Maine. One year I had a request for a dried flower wedding. I had never done one before but felt challenged and excited to give it a try. It turned out really well and I learned a lot as well. Now I always take time to dry flowers at there peak in the summer to make wreaths and arrangements for the fall market.

  91. Carly on

    We successfully dried flowers last year – trying to preserve a harvest that we were unable to sell. It gave us an opportunity to create dried wreaths that became very popular over winter.
    In Bloom Flower Farm

  92. Mary Menn on

    I tried to convert towards a dying market last summer after the birth of my first baby. I thought it would be something that is more flexible with time than selling fresh cuts. What I found out is that dried are just so much less beautiful and fun to work with. They bored me. I’ll go back to selling dried chinese laterns and money plant bouquets b/c they look stunning and a in high demand but everything else can stay fresh!


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