How to Dry Flowers: 3 Simplest Methods + Fun Uses

As a homemaker, I love drying flowers throughout the year to use across my home, whether for simmer pot recipes, simple home decor, crafts, healing pastes or even making my own tea. Learn how to dry flowers at home with these top 3 approaches that are both inexpensive and low maintenance so you can easily keep up with the habit of preserving flowers for your home all year round.

Keep in mind these methods could also be used for herbs, leaves and other foliage, too!

3 of the simplest ways to dry flowers at home

What different ways can I dry flowers at home?

There are many different methods for drying flowers, each with its own benefits. Here are five methods for drying flowers at home:

  1. Air Drying – For simple and hands-off drying
  2. Oven Drying – For quick and inexpensive drying
  3. Pressing – For flat-dried flowers
  4. Food Dehydrator – For faster drying and low involvement
  5. Desiccant – For best preservation of color 

In this article, we’ll be covering the 3 simplest of these methods: Air drying, oven drying, and pressing. 

NOTE: Different flower drying methods are best with different flowers. Read on to see which drying method is best for drying different types of flowers!

How long do dried flowers last? 

Though it varies based on the flower, generally dried flowers last between 1-3 years. If you care for them properly, handle them with care and keep them out of direct sunlight, wind, or humid conditions, you’ll be able to enjoy your dried blooms for years!

How to pick flowers to dry

The best time to harvest your flowers is late morning just after the dew has dried. Damp or wet flowers are prone to mold. 

Use healthy, fresh flowers to dry. In general, most flowers do best when cut slightly immaturely, with the bud not fully open because the flower will continue to open once it is cut. This also helps reduce petal loss. 

Some flowers work better for drying than others. Flowers with high water content typically don’t dry well, but the best way to learn which flowers work best is by experimenting! Under each method below I made a few suggestions of the best flowers to pair with each of the 3 methods discussed.

TIP: Always cut more flowers than you need to dry in case you lose some in the drying process.

Dried roses in a vase

Tips for maintaining or storing dried flowers

When you take care of your dried flowers, they can last for months and even years before they fade or fall apart. Here’s how:

  1. Keep dried flowers out of direct sunlight to reduce fading.
  2. Keep dried flowers away from heat vents, damp basements, or overly dry spaces, like attics.
  3. Gently dust your dried flowers as needed with a feather duster.
  4. When not on display, store dried flowers in a box, wrapped with newspaper to prevent them from drawing in moisture from the air. Store in a dry place away from dry heat.

12 uses for dried flowers at home

  1. Potpourri or Simmer Pot Recipes.
    Scent your home naturally with homemade simmer pot recipes or potpourri. 
  2. Decorating.
    Add beautiful touches to your home or wedding. You can create dried floral bouquets, dried floral table centerpieces, or showcase your dried flowers in a jar.
  3. Scrapbooks.
    Use flat-dried flowers to add a botanical feel to your scrapbooks, or you can tape flowers into your scrapbook as a reminder of where you picked or bought the flower(s).
  4. Craft projects.
    Make a pressed flower picture or sign, create beautiful cards, bookmarks, petal paper, phone cases or even embed dried flowers in resin jewelry or coasters.
  5. Soap Making.
    If you make your own soap, you can incorporate dried flowers into your soaps to add texture, color, and decoration. 
  6. Cooking & tea making.
    Edible dried flowers are great in cakes and other desserts, and many of them make delicious teas! You can experiment with different dried herbs and flowers for tea. 
  7. Candle making.
    You can create gorgeous candles by including dried flowers. Botanical candles are a great way to bring flowers and greenery indoors.
  8. Bath & Body Care.
    You can make a bath salt mix, make your own bath bomb, or simply sprinkle dried flowers straight into your bath. Herbal flowers are also used in many lotions, scrubs, toners, balms, facial steams, floral waters, masks, and sprays.
  9. Infused Oils.
    Flower-infused oils are simple to make at home, and you can create infused oils with any dried flower or blend of dried flowers.
  10. Cleaning.
    Dried flowers are great additions to DIY cleaning products. You can make a natural room refresher spray or add them to your homemade cleaners.
  11. Confetti.
    Colorful and eco-friendly – perfect for weddings and parties! 
  12. Gifting.
    Step up your gift wrapping with beautiful sprigs of dried flowers or foliage. You can also create one of the ideas above and give someone special a thoughtful homemade gift!

RELATED: See our favorite simmer pot (aka stovetop potpourri) recipes to enjoy all year round, some of which use dried flowers!

Two bunches of flowers hanging by string

How to Air Dry Flowers – Air Dry Method

By far, the easiest way to dry flowers is by air-drying them.

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Twine, string, or a rubber band
  • A dark, dry place to hang them. 

How to air-dry flowers:

  1. Prep flowers. Remove all leaves and foliage from the stems and snip them to your desired length. 
  2. Bundle flowers. Group 2-3 stems together as desired, and tie the stems together with twine, string, or an elastic band. Hang large flowers separately. Do not bundle flowers too thickly or tightly otherwise you will create damp spaces that will encourage rot.
  3. Hang flowers to dry for 2-4 weeks. Find a dark, dry area to hang your flowers where they don’t get damaged. Any direct light will cause the colors to fade. You can use a stick, hanger, or hook if you don’t have a natural place to hang them. The drying process can take anywhere from two to four weeks but may take longer depending on the size of your bundles. When flowers are done drying, they will feel dry and stiff to the touch.

NOTE: You can also air-dry flowers out by simply leaving them upright in a vase with no water. Flowers with thicker stems tend to do best when drying flowers in a vase as they tend to droop less than flowers with thinner stems. For straight stems, the hanging method is best.

Although most flowers can be air-dried, this method is best suited to flowers with low water content such as:

  • Anise
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lavender
  • Dahlias (pompom)
  • Poppy (Papaver types)
  • Yarrow
  • And many more

Pros of air drying flowers:

  • Simplest of all methods
  • Very hands-off 
  • Inexpensive

Cons of air drying flowers:

  • Very brittle petals
  • You may lose a few flowers in the process
Dried rose buds on an oven tray

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How to Dry Flowers in the Oven

If you’re looking for a quicker way to dry flowers, try baking them!

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Oven
  • Drying rack

How to dry flowers in the oven:

  1. Remove the foliage or stems. Remove all foliage from the stems. If you only want flower heads or petals, cut the stems off of your flowers right at the base of the bloom.
  2. Spread flowers on a drying rack. Lay your flowers out on a drying rack, ensuring no flowers are overlapping. A drying rack with a tight-grid design is best so flowers don’t fall through the gaps. 
  3. Bake your flowers. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and bake your flowers on the drying rack for 2 hours, checking in after 1 hour. Be sure to keep an eye on them as smaller flowers will require less time than larger ones. When the edges of your petals feel crisp and dry to the touch, take them out. If they dry in the oven too long they will be too crumbly to handle and lose their color.  If you have different kinds of flowers in the oven at once, check them as you go as they may have different drying times.
  4. Cool off dried flowers. Set dried flowers somewhere to cool. Once fully cooled, they are ready to use! 

This method works well with most flowers but is especially suited to those with neat, compact blooms, such as:

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Echinacea
  • Zinnias 
  • Cornflowers 
  • Marigolds
  • Roses
  • And many more

Pros of oven-drying flowers:

  • A quick method, flowers can be dried in just a few hours
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple

Cons of oven-drying flowers:

  • Requires close supervision
  • Risk of over-drying 
Two pressed flowers resting inside a book

How to Dry Flowers by Pressing Them

This method takes longer but produces flat preserved flowers. 

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • Heavy book or flat object

How to press flowers:

  1. Prepare stems. You can leave the stem on or cut the stem and leaves off for dry-pressed flowers. Trim stems to your desired length or cut off the stem at the base of the flower head. 
  2. Lay your flowers in between paper. Sandwich your flowers between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and lay them on a flat surface if using a heavy object, or in the middle of a heavy large book. Be sure to lay it the way you’d like it shaped! 
  3. Press flowers.  Place a heavy, flat object on top of the paper containing your flowers, or close the book you’re drying your flowers in. Leave your pressed flowers in a dark and dry location, untouched for 10-30 days, depending on the flower thickness.

NOTE: You can also microwave your pressed flowers at low power for 2-3 minutes to speed up the process. Just be sure to let it cool under weight. You may still need to leave the flowers in its press to dry a bit longer, but it may only need one night or 2.

This method works best with flatter or thinner flowers such as:

  • Baby’s breath
  • Violets
  • Clematis
  • Pansies
  • Sweet alyssum
  • And many more

Pros of pressing flowers:

  • Easy
  • Hands-off
  • Inexpensive
  • The only way to preserve flattened flowers

Cons of pressing flowers:

  • Slow 
  • Not all flowers can be pressed well

Can you put dried flowers in candles?

Yes, you can elevate your candle-making by adding dried flowers to your candles. You just need to follow a few simple precautions to ensure that it’s safe:

  1. Position dried flowers closer to the edge of your candle so they are not too close to the wick
  2. Use smaller bits of flower petals instead of large, flammable pieces.
  3. Layer floral bits throughout the wax or use them on the outside edges of the candle

Why are my flower colors changing?

Preserving flowers will always fade their color. Ensuring you use fresher flowers that have just opened up will help you retain most of their color, as well as drying them in a dark, ventilated space away from heat vents. Once dry, keep them away from sunlight as that will cause more fading. You can also explore using silica gel to preserve flower color as that method is best known for retaining color.

Woman reading in a flower bath

Best dried flowers for baths?

Taking an herbal or floral bath is not only aesthetically pleasing but also has healing properties and can benefit your muscles, joints, and bones. Try a rose-filled bath and add lemongrass oil to it, or combine two different flowers if you’d like. Some of the best-dried flowers for baths are:

  • Rosehips – anti-scarring and anti-aging properties
  • Calendula/marigold – anti-inflammatory and reduces blemishes
  • Sunflower – great for hydrating skin
  • Lavender – stress relieving and assists with restful sleep
  • Chamomile – heals inflamed skin and eases rashes
  • Carnations – brings relief to tired muscles 
  • Roses – hydrate the skin 
  • Orchid – anti-aging and contains antioxidant properties 
  • Red poppy – contains antioxidants, reduces inflammation, and heals the skin
  • Safflower – anti-inflammatory and helps treat acne
  • Jasmine – anti-bacterial and hydrating

If you’d rather go by color, here are some of our favorites: 

Best dried purple flowers:

  • African daisies
  • Anise hyssop
  • Floss flower
  • Globe amaranth
  • Globe thistle
  • Hydrangea
  • Larkspur
  • Lavender
  • Sea lavenders
  • Pansiolas
  • Ageratum

Best pink dried flowers:

  • False goat’s beard
  • Rose buds
  • Strawflower
  • African daisy
  • Amaranth
  • Cockscomb
  • Coneflower

Best dried blue flowers:

  • Sea holly
  • Cornflower
  • Love-in-a-mist
  • Larkspur
  • Hydrangea
  • Globe thistle
  • Floss flower


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