Dried flowers and dried lavender shop Est. 2002
The picture below shows English lavender stems drying in a barn. The stems are tied upside down to a drying rack until dry.
Drying under cover in a barn is one method commonly employed in the UK and France, where spoilage by damp air and rain is a significant factor. In sunnier climes, however, leaving outside is the norm. Rose petals in Pakistan, India and Iran for example, may be laid out in the open air on giant sheets or tables to dry naturally.
In the UK, industrial methods may also employ the use of a drying floor, for example for dried lavender, where the circulation of warm air aids the drying process, and prevents the build up of moulds and other damp-loving organisms.
Air drying is a bulk process, and so usually the products are less expensive than other drying methods such as freeze drying or glycerin preservation.
Examples at DaisyShop: dried lavender, rose petals such as small burgundy rose petals, rose buds in red and other colours, marigold petals, chamomile, cornflower petals, and delphinium petal confetti.
Examples of our whole bunch range include lavender bunch, wheat and pretty delphinium bunches. Some of these are grown and dried in the UK, and a few, such as sea lavender bunches (image below) and gypsophila in our own workshops.
It is quite straight forward to dry plant material at home using this method, although results vary, so experimentation is always recommended. Collect some of your favourite stems, tie together loosely, then hang upside down somewhere where there is good air circulation. The airing cupboard offers fast results, but a garage or even an open porch can be effective, although the process may take longer. Drying in a bright greenhouse may not be as suitable, because although the blooms dry quickly, they may also loose some of their bright colours in the strong sunlight.
To make natural confetti or potpourri at home, lay some blooms flat on some kitchen roll on a radiator for a day or two to dry out.
Alternative home methods are the use of ovens. Laying blooms on a baking tray in a low (30C) oven overnight can work, and is particularly good for drying fruit slices and flat objects. There are also books available on the subject of using a microwave oven for drying botanicals, in combination with a desiccant such as silica sand.
Air drying can sometimes cause brittleness.
You can read more about drying plant material at home on Ruth's blog at driedflowercraft.co.uk along with many other hints and tips.
Freeze drying is a method applied to delicate florals to prevent the wrinkling or colour loss which may be associated with air drying. Freeze-dried roses are often used as expensive confetti petals.
It requires expensive specialist machinery, but results in a bloom that looks fresh as the moment it was picked. Because it is an expensive process, and their is almost individual attention paid to each bloom, only premium petals are used. Blooms processed this way are expensive to buy but can be worth it if they are going to be viewed closely, for example in a wedding table decoration.
The freeze drying process works by reducing the petals slowly and carefully to temperatures well below freezing under vacuum. As the temperature is slowly brought up again (over a period of days), the water evaporates from the petals and freezes onto a specially cooled plate and is removed.
This requires specialist equipment costing tens of thousands of pounds! In fact, we no longer sell this type of petal as there was insufficient demand considering the high price.
We stock a few preserved items: hydrangea confetti petals make fabulous natural petal confetti. The above image shows duck egg blue hydrangea petals mixed with ivory delphinium petal confetti. The delphinium petals here have been air-dried in the UK. Also available seasonally are preserved eucalyptus bunches, preserved gypsophila, and whole hydrangea heads.
Other Help and Info pages:
About our natural wedding confetti petals
More about dried roses and wedding decor
Technically, this is not a drying method, as the plant material remains "wet". The process entails replacing any
water in the stems with a combination of glycerine preservative and dye. This results in a supple flower, not
brittle. It means that colour can be accurately selected. But the additives mean that there is a slightly increased
chance of staining due to the dye if used. This preservation technique is often used for roses and other confetti