If you have a wedding bouquet, anniversary flowers, or just a strikingly pretty bouquet, you might feel compelled to preserve them, instead of eventually tossing them out. There are two primary different ways to preserve flowers, pressing or drying, and our florists at Beneva Flowers in Sarasota make different recommendations depending on the type of flowers to be preserved and how you intend to display them going forward.
When We Recommend Pressing Flowers
Pressed flowers look beautiful displayed in special botanical frames that feature two glass panels. They also make a wonderful material for decoupaging any surface. The flowers that do well pressed are those that are naturally flat-faced such as gerbera daisies, pansies, dragon’s breath, and asters. Other flowers that aren’t too bulky also press well. Thicker blooms, like roses, will need to be cut in half before pressing. We recommend pressing snapdragons, lavender, hydrangea, and pretty much any cone-shaped flower.
The classic way to preserve flowers by pressing is with a flower press, but you can also use heavy books. If no longer have a stack of encyclopedias around the house, you can use phone books or board books between bricks. If you don’t want to wait as long for the flowers to dry in this manner, you can also press flowers with an iron. First flatten your flowers between books. Then place them between two sheets of paper and set your iron to low, dry heat. Press the flowers on your ironing board until they’re completely dry.
When We Recommend Drying Flowers
If you want your flowers or bouquet to maintain its original shape or if you want to use your dried flowers to make a floral wreath, then we recommend drying them. Flowers with large, thick bulbs also do best when dried, rather than pressed. We recommend drying roses, hydrangea, lavender, lilies, carnations, statice, purple stock, globe thistles, and globe amaranth.
The best way to dry flowers is to tie them together and hang them upside down in a dry location, where they won’t receive any direct sunlight, as this will cause the colors to fade. This drying process, however, takes several days and sometimes even longer in a humid climate. If your home is particularly humid, we recommend adding a bit of heat to your drying method.
Try drying your flowers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in the oven on low heat. Keep the door cracked open to let out the moisture, and check on flowers while they dry. This process can take between eight and twelve hours. You can also microwave your flowers, if you have a microwave-safe container and enough silica sand to cover the flowers. Put them in the microwave with a cup of water and heat on 30-second intervals for about two to three minutes.
Although this method sounds silly, you can actually use the trunk of your car as a place to efficiently dry flowers. On a sunny day, it’s the perfect heat and your flowers will be safe from the sun. You can either wrap them bouquet-style or lay them out on a sheet of parchment to dry. Put them in the trunk in the morning, and they should be ready by sunset.
For more flower preservation tips or recommendations for the best flowers to dry and press, we welcome you to stop by Beneva Flowers to talk with a professional florist any day.