At Blume, we love styling with dried flowers. Sustainable and incredibly on-trend, they really allow us to get creative in our workshop and at home. There’s more to them than you might initially think, however. From the sheer amount of choice available to understanding different methods of drying, we want to share our knowledge on dried flowers — all wrapped up in this introductory guide. So whether you’re a budding florist or you’re just keen to know a bit more about how to dry a hydrangea, have a read and let us know if you learn something new!
Why dried flowers are a growing trend
First of all, let’s look at the trend itself. We see our dried flower bunches fly off the shelves, and it’s a growing trend across the country. The reason for this, in our opinion, is two-fold:
Dried flowers are accessible
Simply put, dried flowers are a perfect gateway into the world of floristry. There’s minimal care involved and they can last a long time (more on this later). As a result, they’re not intimidating. There’s no fuss involved.
Not to mention, they can be absolutely stunning in the right environment.
Dried flowers can be sustainable
The second point is that dried flowers can be more sustainable than fresh flowers. By virtue of being dried, they can become a semi-permanent decorative fixture in any home.
It’s important to stress the canhere, however. Of course, you should ensure you’re all flowers you buy are sustainably sourced wherever possible; independent florists and markets are generally good places to visit for this.
How are dried flowers made?
Dried flowers can be made in a variety of ways, and you’ll find loads of different examples online from using a microwave to covering them in silica gel. We find, however, that the most traditional method yields the strongest results for bouquets.
Air drying: perfect for bouquets
The traditional method of drying flowers is arguably the simplest:
Step one: arrange your bouquet
Step two: tie it together with string
Step three: hang the bouquets upside down. This will help the flowers maintain their structure while they dry out, contributing to a long-lasting final product.
How long it will take to dry the flowers will entirely depend on the flowers you choose, the size of the bouquet, and how ventilated the room you’re dying them in is. However, just keep an eye on them every few days.
The flowers should start to change colour and shrink back slightly over time. Be careful when handling the flowers, however, as they will be brittle.
Top tips: ensure the flowers are out of direct sunlight and are placed within a well-ventilated room.
Glycerin: treating flowers to preserve them
A substance called glycerin can be used to also dry flowers by preserving them. The flowers do this by absorbing the glycerin and replacing their own water content with it.
Surprisingly, this leaves the flowers looking extremely vibrant and fresh, but are essentially preserved and are far more supple than dried flowers.
The colours do change when using glycerin, with mature greens fading into deep browns and coppers that immediately shout autumn...and that is by no means a bad thing in our book. However, picking young leaves can ensure a more vibrant preserved flower.
Step one: cut the stems of the flowers you want to preserve at an angle and then up the centre of the stem by about 2-3 inches (as if you were cutting them in half)
Step two: use a combination of of 2 parts warm water to 1 part glycerin and pour into a tall container (the flowers need to stand up in the mixture)
Step three: stand your flowers in the mixture for 2-3 weeks (don’t worry if the water turns brown)
Step four: hang upside down until dry
Top tip: greenery is wonderful to use this mixture on. Check out our beautiful eucalyptus bunches in our dried flower collection to see for yourself.
What are the best flowers to dry?
Almost every type of flower can be dried, so it really does depend on the type of flower you want to use and how you want to display them.
When you pick the flowers (i.e the time of year and the time of day) can also have an affect on the overall quality, but this is something you can’t guarantee when buying from your local florist.
If you’re drying flowers from your garden, however, then be sure to pick them on a dry afternoon, when the flowers look fresh, and never after a rainfall or in the morning.
Best flowers for drying using glycerin
We love, love, love our glycerin-preserved eucalyptus bunches and they’re extremely popular for good reason. They retain a really fresh look, yet they’ll last for months, sometimes years.
Generally, we find that greenery such as eucalyptus and ferns work really well, but hydrangeas and magnolias are also beautiful when preserved.
Just ensure they’re firm and fresh before you start the preserving process, and remove any leaves. Below is a beautiful berry red eucalyptus bunch that has been preserved to look this shade.
Best flowers for drying upside down
We love to use Statice and Limonium because their petals are tight and short, meaning a more robust flower will stand the drying process far better than flowers with lots of delicate petals.
Hydrangeas are also beautiful to air dry, but it does depend on the type of hydrangea you want to dry. As a good rule of thumb, the more dense the hydrangea the better it dries and the longer it will last.
How long do dried flowers last?
If kept in the right conditions, they can last between 1-3 years. Dried flowers hate moisture and humidity, so keep them out of kitchens and bathrooms, and away from direct sunlight.
Can dry flowers cause allergies?
Not at all. Dried flowers don’t contain any pollen, so they’re a perfect decorative addition for people who may suffer from hay fever.
Are dried flowers safe for cats?
There are, unfortunately, a huge number of common flowers that are poisonous to cats, such as lilies, daffodils, hydrangeas, and chrysanthemums. Even Christmas trees can cause them to vomit. Dried flowers are no exception, either. So, if you do own a cat that loves to chew on pretty things, just be extremely careful where you place your flowers — both dried and fresh.
Are dried flowers cheaper than fresh flowers?
Dried flowers tend to actually be more expensive than fresh flowers. This is because they have an extra process applied to them so the wholesaler charges more for not only growing the flowers but also spending time drying or preserving, and sometimes even dying the flowers. However, we would argue that for the length of time the flowers last, it's money well spent.
And that’s our introductory guide to dried flowers. We have an amazing selection of dried flowers in stock should you be feeling the itch to do a bit of home styling. From the ever popular orange pampas grass to our delightful dried broom and thistles, you can find them in our dried flower collection and in our Earlsfield store.
For for further information on dried flowers, why not check out our top tips on how to build your own dried flower bunch?