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How to Dry Flowers for Long-Lasting Beauty

Have you ever seen Pinterest boards filled to the brim with dried flower arrangements and wondered exactly how they managed to do that?

If you’ve tried drying flowers before and ended up with a pile of wilted, not-so-pretty stems, you’re not alone. Many people aren’t familiar with the process of drying flowers.

Luckily, we’re here to help! Let’s learn how to dry flowers with just a few household items.

Still-life, flowers and roses dried in red, orange, violet and  pink colors on a dark and gray color background.

Why Should I Dry Flowers?


Drying flowers is a creative, low-effort, and low-cost way to decorate your home. If you’re a fan of vintage pieces or botanical themes, dried flowers lend themselves well to creating that look in your space.

Dried flowers are also a great choice of decor if you love displaying fresh bunches from your local market but don’t love their short lifespan. Drying your flowers will preserve them for much longer than they would last in a vase.

You can decorate any room in your house with dried flowers. The only area of the home where you might want to avoid displaying your dried flowers is the outdoor space.

Though it might seem odd, considering they are dried flowers, sunlight, and heat will not treat your dried flower arrangements kindly.

You also might end up with critters nibbling at them, wasting all your hard work!


Another reason to dry your flowers is to store them as keepsakes.

People often want to dry flowers from special occasions in their lives, such as birthdays, performances or recitals, open houses, and (most commonly) weddings.

There are many options out there for preserving bridal bouquets, but drying them out is one of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest. You can do it yourself without having to fuss with sending it off to someone else to work their magic, worrying all the while that your flowers won’t survive transit.

You can even dry corsages and boutonnieres!

All the Benefits of House Plants…Without the Responsibility

Another reason to keep dried flowers in your home? You get all of the beauty and exposure to nature that houseplants offer…without having to worry about watering them.

We’ve all put a houseplant on a shelf and promised ourselves we wouldn’t neglect it this time…only to find it wilted a couple of weeks later. And usually, by the time we notice the damage, it’s too late to reverse it and revive our drooping friend.

Dried flowers, on the other hand, don’t require any attention at all! You can leave them on a shelf or in a vase and forget about them entirely. And when you return to admire them, you won’t find them slumped over and rapidly yellowing due to neglect.

Even if you have a green thumb and take excellent care of your houseplants, dried flowers will make great companions for their more verdant counterparts.

How to Dry Flowers

Hanging bunches of medicinal herbs and flowers. Herbal medicine. Retro toned photo.

Now that you know why drying flowers is an excellent idea, without further ado, let’s learn how to dry flowers ourselves!

Choose Your Bouquet

The first step to any flower-drying endeavor is to choose a bouquet—or multiple!

If you’re drying flowers from an event or occasion in your life, you’ll have already completed this step. But if you’re looking for flowers specifically to dry and decorate your home, you’ll need to pick the right ones.

You can either purchase pre-arranged flower bouquets from a grocery store or florist’s shop, or you can make your own personal arrangement.

Choosing your own flower varieties can help add an extra touch of personality to your space. However, choosing a pre-arranged bouquet is often cheaper.

If you choose a pre-arranged bouquet, you can also do so with the confidence that those varieties of flowers complement each other nicely.

Be Patient

Don’t feel like you have to dry your flowers immediately after purchasing them—if you like, you can enjoy them as they are first!

You can arrange your bouquet in a vase with water and plant food the same way you would any other bouquet. This won’t affect its ability to dry properly.

However, you will need to keep a careful eye on your bouquet as the days go by. The second you begin to see even a hint of drooping or wilting, it’s time to remove it from the vase and start the drying process.

Do not let your flowers die before drying them. This will leave you with crisp, dead, colorless flowers that don’t offer much appeal at all.

Clean Them Up

Once your flowers have started showing signs of imminent wilting, it’s time to remove them from their vase and clean them up a bit.

Take a paring knife or a pair of scissors and carefully remove any leaves from your flower stems.

While this step isn’t strictly necessary, leaves don’t often dry well. They tend to lose color and/or curl into themselves, and the warping of their shape doesn’t look so nice on display.

This isn’t the case with all leaves, but typically it’s best to cut them away and avoid risking the problem entirely.

You could wait until after drying to see how they turn out, but it’s more difficult to remove leaves without damaging the rest of the flower after drying.

Cut The Stems

After cleaning your stems of their leaves, it’s time to give them a trim! In order to best display your dried flowers, you’ll want the stems to be the same length.

To make getting an even cut easy, find a rubber band and bind your stems together, arranging each flower to the height you desire. Once they’re in the right positions, take your scissors and cut straight across to remove the excess length on the stems.

(Do not cut on a slant. That’s the best practice when you’re putting living flowers into a vase, but when you’re drying flowers, you want them flat and even for easy arrangement after drying.)

Tie Them Together

After cutting, reposition your rubber band or replace it with twine, if desired. Make sure your flowers are bundled tightly together.

To test if your bouquet is bound tightly enough, grip it by the rubber band or twine and allow it to hang upside down. If any stems fall out or even feel loose, you need to tighten your string or band.

It’s important that none of your stems fall during the drying process. Flowers are fragile, and even the slightest fall could ruin them, especially considering they grow more brittle throughout the drying process.

Head to the Closet

This next step might sound a little strange, but it’s the easiest way to dry flowers with items you have on hand!

Once your bouquet is bound tightly, head to the closet and pull out a clothing hanger. Loop your rubber band around the hook of the hanger and adjust as needed until your bouquet is hanging upside down. If using twine, tie it to the hook instead.

Pick a Location

Once your bouquet is hanging properly from your hanger, it’s time to pick a place to dry it!

You want to choose a place where the bouquet will be out of your way and won’t get jostled or run into. You also want to pick a place that doesn’t get much sun but is still dry, not humid or damp.

Sunlight can “bleach” your flowers and stems, robbing them of their color. It can also cause them to shrivel beyond what is normal for dried flowers.

Your closet could actually be an ideal spot if you have space. Other good spots are pantries, storage closets, or anywhere outside of direct sun that doesn’t gather much moisture.

Be Patient…Again

And…now we wait. Flowers take weeks to dry, so don’t expect overnight results!

Check on your flowers at least once a week or so to gauge their progress. Make sure no insects have infiltrated your bouquet.

As you notice progress being made, don’t jump the gun and take them down too early.

If you think your bouquet is ready to come down, take down the hanger and check each flower and stem. If they’re all dry and a bit crisp to the touch, they’re ready for removal. If there are still some soft petals, leave them up for a while longer.

Display as Desired

Congratulations! You now have a beautiful bunch of dried flowers to display however you like.

You can display dried flowers in a number of ways. You can fill baskets with them, set them in a vase and use them as a permanent table centerpiece, split them up and create smaller arrangements for painted jars, or even put them in a shadow box or other kind of frame!

If you find that you like the look of the bunch being upside down, you can even hang it up exactly that way…though maybe trade out the rubber band for some ribbon or burlap.

Frequently Asked Questions

Close up of delicate dried flowers.

How can I keep flowers from losing their color as they dry?

Unfortunately, even if you keep your flowers out of the sun, some color loss is normal. However, there are ways to preserve as much of that color as possible.

One way to preserve pigment in your dried flowers is by spraying them with UV protectant. This way, even if they’re kept in a sunny room, they’ll be shielded from color-fading UV rays.

Another way to ensure you have colorful dried bouquets is to choose flowers that are brighter in the first place. Purple flowers tend to hold their color better than others, as do pink flowers. Yellow flowers tend to pale, and red flowers tend to darken.

How do I keep my dried flowers safe after drying?

Beyond doing your best to preserve their colors, there are other ways to protect your dried flowers.

As mentioned, dried flowers tend to be fragile and brittle after drying. They break extremely easily and can shed petals even without being physically touched!

One way to prevent this is by spraying hairspray on your bouquet. This will help keep your flowers perky and intact, and since it’s an invisible substance, it won’t affect the overall look negatively.

What are the best flowers to dry?

Certain flowers take to drying better than others. Flowers with large, delicate petals, like carnations, tend to shrink by quite a bit when they’re dried. On the other hand, flowers with compact blooms—such as globe thistles—dry very well.

Some of the best flowers to dry are globe thistles, roses, cornflowers, baby’s breath, poppies, and hydrangeas. Lilacs also dry well, as do lavender and sage flowers.

Can you dry greenery?

You can dry greenery, though it’s anyone’s guess how well it will go if you take home random greenery from the store.

While a florist could likely recommend good drying greenery to you, grocery stores often don’t label the greenery they offer to round out bouquets.

Certain types of greenery are known to dry very well. Eucalyptus is a popular plant to add to dried flower arrangements, for instance, because it keeps its shape and color without issue when dried.

Certain herbs also dry better than other greenery. Thyme is a popular choice.

Now You Know How to Dry Flowers!

Once you go through this process, you’ll be drying flowers out like a Pinterest pro! Get ready to enjoy your new flower preservation skill for decorating your home as well as crafting gifts for friends and family.

For more information on growing, harvesting, and decorating with flowers, visit our flower section now!