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Drying Flowers

Drying Flowers


The easiest method of all preserving methods is to dry by air.

Remove the leaves from the stems

Cut all your flowers to the same length and bind together at the stems using an elastic band making sure that you keep it tight enough to allow for shrinkage when the water leaves the stems, but not so tight that you crush the stems or flower heads.

Drying will be quicker and more successful if you make small bunches rather than a large bunch because there will be greater ventilation.

Make a hook out of a paper clip or tie string through the elastic band and suspend the bunch upside down from a beam, coat hanger or string line, which is away from drafts, sunlight, or humidity

If possible, use a dark room like the loft, but do be sure that there it isn't damp so that you avoid mould growing on your delicate flowers.

Your flowers will take about 2 weeks to dry.

Best flowers for drying by air include:

Gypsophila - See - My Ladys Collection
Solidago - See - The Kew Gardens Collection
Chrysanthemum. - See - The Funky Collection
Larkspur - See - The Everlasting Collection
Bells of Ireland - See - The King Arthur Collection
Eringium - See - The Everlasting Collection
Achilea - See - The Everlasting Collection
Craspedia - See - The Everlasting Collection
Gomphrena - See - The Everlasting Collection
Scabious Ping Pong - See - The Everlasting Collection

Very delicate flowers that would lose their petals using the other drying methods discussed here can be dried by the pressing method, but of course they will lose their shape and become flat, for this reason, try to chose flowers that are already flat like Pansies. This is a great way though to include flowers in Crafts like Card making or Bookmark making.

Using an absorbent paper like newspaper, but NOT a tissue type paper, place your flowers side by side on the sheet, being sure not to let them touch. Maintain a distance of about 2" between flowers.

Put the sheet on top of a board and cover your flowers with another sheet of paper and place on top of that another board.

And finally, place a heavy weight (could be a few tins of baked beans or large books) on top of the flower sandwich to provide the PRESS and put them somewhere warm.

Creating the Press

Newspaper with flowers
Plain newspaper
Heavy weight

If you have a lot of flowers, you can continue the layering process and keep adding sheets of paper and flowers as long as you end with a sheet of paper, board and the weight.

Depending on the temperature, this process should take about 4 weeks, but can be speeded up by putting the Press somewhere warm.

Best flowers for drying by pressing are:

Most wild flowers - See - The Wild in the Country Collection
Chrysanthemum - See - The Funky Collection
Cornflower - See - The Wild in the Country Collection
Delphinium - See - The Guinevere Collection
Solidago - See - The Kew Gardens Collection
Larkspur- See - The Everalsting Collection
Poppies- See - The Wild in the Country Collection
Marigolds See - The Jester Collection
Sweet Pea - Special
Nigella See - My Ladys Collection

One Type of Desiccant Preservation
Air drying is a great all-round way to preserve flowers which are flat and less fleshy, but if the flower head is big, and deep in petals then burying your flowers in what is called a desiccant preserves and dries the flower quickly retaining its colour and shape more effectively. (Desiccant is a generic term relating to anything of a granular nature)

For our purposes, we are only going to offer you advice on one desiccant, even though there are many.

Silica Gel

Silica Gel absorbs moisture from flowers quickly, leaving the flower with a much truer colour.

Silica Gel can be bought from your florist or Garden Centre and isn't really a gel but a granular preparation coloured blue or white when dry and pink when absorbed with water. It's reusable, so follow the makers' instructions for microwave drying and your initial outlay will pay dividends as you use it time and again.

To do this you will need to put about an inch of the gel into the bottom of an airproof container, putting your flower heads on top with a sprinkle of gel around the flowers tipping the container as you fill so that the flower isn't crushed by falling gel. It needs to gather gently around the flower. You can keep adding and layering flower heads and gel until you have finished when you put the airtight lid on. Do remember that this process requires that you remove the stem, but leave about 1" on the flower head so that it will be balanced when pushed into the gel.

Sealing the container and making it airtight is really important, as the idea is to create a moisture proof environment for your flowers so that they give up their moisture to the gel. Leaving a gap in your seal will allow your flowers to take up moisture from the air, so if you are doubtful seal the box or jar with tape and always put them in a warm place for drying.

As the job of the gel is to absorb the moisture from the flowers, it is possible that when the flowers are re reintroduced to normal atmospheres they will reabsorb moisture and wilt. To avoid this, flowers dried by Silica Gel should be sealed into a container for display.

Depending on the thickness of the petals, the flowers should take between 3 and 8 days to dry. Like all drying methods, you will need to be careful when removing the flowers from the gel as they will be brittle. You may wish to dust them off with an artist's paintbrush.

As most flowers will darken in colour during this method, using dark reds and mauves will often appear as black and as white becomes tan or cream, its often best to avoid them.

Best flowers for preserving with Silica gel are:

Chrysanthemums - See - The Jester Collection
Dahlia- See - The Funky Collection
Delphinium - See - The King Arthur Collection
Larkspur - See - The Everalsting Collection
Marigold - See - The Funky Collection
Gypsophila - See - The Covent Garden Collection
Canterbury Bells - See - My Ladys Collection
Foxglove - See - The Lancelot Collection
Sunflower - See - The Kew Gardens Collection
Sweet Pea Special



By far, our preferred way to preserve a flower. Practice this method and you will produce preserved heads of the most realistic sort leaving your friends questioning your integrity…"Surely they're fresh…. what's the catch?" is what we heard over and over again during our time running Blooms of West London.

Replacing the water in a flower with Glycerine produces a more realistic texture and colour as the process aims to replace water in the petals and leaves with the soft moisture of glycerine.

Glycerine can be bought in your local supermarket, probably in the baking section!

It's important to start the process with a flower, which is absolutely fresh and fully hydrated i.e. not wilted.

Start out by removing the lower leaves and crush the stems.

In a solution of 2 parts warm water and 1 part glycerine, the flower stems should be immersed in about 5 inches of the solution and left there for between 1 and 3 weeks.

As the solution is taken up by the flowers, replace the solution by topping back up to 5 inches with a weaker solution - 4 parts water to 1 part glycerine.

If when the flowers are removed, they start to wilt, hang them up side down to allow the solution to disperse fully into the petals and leaves.

Yes it is a more difficult process than any of the others, but perseverance will produce some breathtaking taking results, which will last far longer than other processes and foliage preserved this way is particularly stunning.

Best flowers for preserving with Glycerine are:

Bells of Ireland (Mollucella) - See - The King Arthur Collection
The Lancelot Collection
The Jester Collection
The Cottage Collection
The Summers Evening Collection
My Ladys Collection
The Kew Gardens Collection


Preserving foliage in glycerine, allows the branches to remain flexible for arranging. Air-drying foliage leaves it brittle and faded …not what you want in your arrangements! So if you feel brave, do give it a go, its particularly worth the effort as it will give your arrangements a realistic look and feel.

As thick waxy leaves tend not to take up the solution very successfully, it is better to submerge the leaves in the solution, ensuring that you weight them down to stop them from floating to the surface.

After 2 - 6 days, they will become soft and pliable when they can be removed, drained and wiped clean with a clean soft cloth.

Branches of non-waxy leaves can be preserved using the same technique as Flowers.

Don't forget that you can anticipate some extra creativity when you go to assemble your dried flower displays by choosing branches that have interesting shapes, as after having the glycerine treatment, they will have retained their unique shapes.

Now you've mastered that, why not send a gift from the London Seed Emporium yourself?

An excellent gift for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Moving House, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentines Day, Christmas, New Babies, Children, Fathers, Mothers, Gardeners, Flower Arrangers, The loss of a loved one, To tell some one they are loved, and just because....

The King Arthur Collection

The Guinevere Collection

The Lancelot Collection

The Funky Collection

The Jester Collection

The Cottage Garden Collection

The Summers Evening Collection

My Ladys Collection

The Everlasting Collection

The Kew Gardens Collection

The Covent Garden Collection

The Wild in the Country Collection

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