Straw plants are plants that can be dried into dry flowers for bouquets, flower arrangements and potpourri. The best plants for dried flowers are those that have a small calyx and hold their petals tightly. They are quite often everlasting, so retain their form and colour when dried.
How To Dry Flowers Properly
Generally, it is best to pick the flowers you want to dry in the morning before the blooms open completely.
When you snip off the flowers, take 5 to 6 inches of stem.
Strip all foliage from the stems.
Using a twist tie, or rubber band, put a bundle of 8 to 10 stems together. If your flowers have thin stems, using florist wire, or a 20-gauge wire, push the wire through the center of the calyx and pull it out the other side. Twist the wire strands together to form a long stem.
Choose a dark, dry, well-ventilated area out of sunlight, such as a closet, attic or well-ventilated garage to dry them in.
Hang the bundle upside down from a hook or coat hanger.
Wait two to three weeks.
You can also dry flowers in bottles and large vases in areas, such as the garage, where heat can rise.
A faster drying method is ‘flash-drying’. Pick the flowers and put them in the trunk of your car. Park the car in the sun for 24 hours to preserve the color of the flowers. This works best for Hydrangeas and other large flowers.
Selecting The Flowers To Dry
You can get more details about all the flowers below from Gardening Know How.
Rustling flowers that can be dried to perfection. The Strawflower has pointy leaves and full, rich flowers in pink, red, yellow, purple, white and orange. They are sometimes called paper daisy, golden everlasting, everlasting flower, and everlasting daisy.
‘Golden Yellow’ is taller and has orange-tipped bright yellow blossoms. David’s Garden Seeds Apricot/Peach Mix via Amazon is a great cutting flower for both fresh and dried presentations. The jewel-like ‘Magenta Red’ has a dense yellow center. The ‘Swiss Giant’ has snowy white bracts surrounding a yellow ringed white center.
Harvest Strawflowers when half open, before the centers of the flowers open, so there’s enough moisture in the blooms to make them easy to handle. Cut the stems 12 to 15 inches long, and remove the leaves.
Hang them upside down in a dry, dark spot that gets good air circulation. The flowers will continue to open up during the drying process. Wait two to three weeks.
The Floss Flower, or Ageratum, has fluffy flowers with a compact form that can be blue, pink or white. Blue cultivars are Hawaii, which produces royal blue flowers, Blue Mink has powdery blue flowers and Blue Danube, with medium blue flowers. There are also pink and white blooming cultivars.
Producing pretty purple flowers, the Amaranth can be grown for its flowers or as a grain and greens crop. Varieties of Amaranth include Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Amaranthus retroflexus, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus dubius, Amaranthus tricolor and Amaranthus viridis.
Artemisia Schmidtiana has fine silver foliage that tends to form mounds, hence it is called Silver Mound. It belongs to the Asteraceae family.
Astilbe produces tall, fluffy plumes that tower above frilly, fern-like foliage. There are twenty-five species of Astilbe with hundreds of hybrids. Some varieties have arching stems, others erect. The flowers are pastel and range from whites to dark purples.
Baby’s Breath, or Gypsophila Paniculate, creates an airy, evocative spread of blooms. The flowers are small and delicate. They are great for adding a gentle touch to other dried flowers in an arrangement.
The flowers can be a rose, pink and white, with single or double blooms. Double blooming Baby’s Breath plants have been grafted, so cut above the graft union.
The flowers of the Globe Thistle, or Echinops Ritro, have deep purple and blue hues and are large and spiky. It is in the Aster family. The leaves are deeply notched, dark green on top and slightly silver underneath, and slightly hairy. In Greek, the name translates as ‘Hedgehog’, for obvious reasons.
Known as Flamingo Cockscomb, Plumed Cockscomb, Flamingo Feather or Dragon’s Breath. The feathery plumes can be red, orange, yellow, violet, cream or pink.
Harvest the stems when the flowers are almost completely open. Hang upside down in a cool, dark location to dry for a month.
The Coneflower has spiny cones in the center, hence the name. The Echinacea Purpurea produces large, purple flowers. More colors are associated with the newer varieties: a mix of bright red, cream, orange, and golden yellow in Cheyenne Spirit, white in Avalanche, red in Tomato Soup, orange to magenta in Firebird.
A range of cultivar varieties is called Double Scoop. The cones are replaced by the second type of clustered petal. Double Scoop names indicate the colour: Cranberry, Raspberry, Orangeberry and Bubblegum. Greenline is a double-petal coneflower with chartreuse coloring.
Leilani has golden-yellow coneflowers. PowWow Wild Berry has pink blooms. Magnus has large rose to violet blooms.
The color of Hydrangea blooms changes according to the acidity of the soil. In acidic soils, they are blue and in alkaline soil pink. There are also white hydrangeas.
Limelight hydrangea is great as a dried flower. Leave the blooms to mature on the shrubs, then stand them upright in an empty vase to dry.
Lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia, is a herb plant with a fragrant aroma. Lavender has healing properties. Start gathering lavender for drying in early spring. The more you prune, the more the flowers grow. Pick younger buds in the early morning after the morning dew has dried. Cut lavender just above a junction or side branch.
Hang wands in small bunches secured with twine upside down to dry in a dark, warm place, with good air circulation.
Lunaria, also known as Silver Dollar, Honesty or the Money Plant, was brought to the USA by the pilgrims on the Mayflower. The pods dry to flat silverish discs about the size of silver dollars. They are members of the family Brassicaceae.
The flowers are delicate and four-petaled, ranging from pink to purple. They grow in racemes or clusters on top of the long stems.
Pansy plants are members of the Viola family.
To dry Roses use roses that have just begun to open. Hang them upside down to dry. If you want your rose pressed or flattened, take a heavy book, open it to the middle and line the facing pages with parchment or wax paper.
Arrange the petals face down on the paper and close the book. Leave for 7 to 10 days to dry. To dry a full bouquet, bury your bouquet in a box of silica gel for a week.
There are different salvia plant types with many colors, including blues, purples, pinks, reds, whites and yellows. The foliage smells like pineapple in Salvia Elegans, fruit in Salvia Sorisiana, or spice sage in Salvia Officinalis. Chia plant seeds come from Salvia Hispanica.
Sea Holly, or Eryngium, have spiny-toothed leaves and clusters of tassel-like blossoms. Their green or silvery-blue stems give way to green or blue cones surrounded by spiky silver, white, green, blue or violet bracts.
The electric blue stems and flowers of Big Blue Sea Holly make it a fantastic dried flower. Cut the stems from your plants after the morning dew evaporates, just before the buds are completely open.
It’s best if the flowers are not fully mature. They’ll usually continue to open after cutting. Tie the stems together. Hang them upside down and leave them to air dry in a dark, dry spot. If you want to really keep the color, flash-dry in a hot car.
Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium, is a herbaceous flowering perennial.
We all love flowers. They make life more beautiful. Nothing beats flowers growing and blossoming, scenting the air. If you want to preserve those beautiful colours and forms for as long as you can, then dried flowers, using straw plants, is the answer.
Dried flowers last and last and can be wonderful décor statements and gifts. They can also be mementoes or brighten up celebratory events. Just select the straw plants with the colours and form you want, plant and grow them, enjoy them and dry a few of the blooms to remember them by!