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Dried flowers ideal for winter crafts

LINCOLN, Neb. – Everlastings are plants that retain their shape and color long after they have been picked and dried. Some gardeners plant herbs, grasses and flowers specifically for the wreaths, dried bouquets and other craft projects they plan to create from them. Everlastings include plants in a wide variety of shapes and colors, from the deep yellow of yarrow to the vibrant deep purple and burgundy of statice and gomphrena.

To dry flowers, grasses or other plants for later use, collect them on a cool morning after dew has dried or in the early evening. Many plants will wilt if they are collected on hot days, and the flower shape and/or color will be ruined. Stripping leaves from the stem will help reduce drying time.

To make handling easier, arrange the stems, cut them somewhat longer than desired length and bind them with a rubber band while you are gathering them. Binding them with a rubber band will tighten around shrinking stems as they begin to dry. It’s best to keep the bundles relatively small so air can move between the stems. Then hang them upside down, to keep the stems and heads straight, from a string or twist-tie on a nail.

The best color results from drying them quickly at 105-110°F. They will dry best in a warm, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, possibly a garage or shed. Keeping doors or windows open will provide better air movement during the drying process; running a fan is another way to increase air flow and reduce the drying time. The plants are dry when stems snap easily. This can take up to three weeks. Once plants are completely dry, they can be stored in a large box or remain hanging somewhere out of the way. Everlastings should not need to be sprayed with a fixative if they are picked at the right time.

Sturdy or abundant plants like grasses, branches, seedheads and seedpods are wonderful for drying. They’re also tough enough and visually strong enough to be used in outdoor containers on decks, patios or porches. They can be displayed with pumpkins, potted mums or ornamental cabbage in fall and later with evergreens through the entire winter.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Everlastings are plants that retain their shape and color long after they have been picked and dried. Some gardeners plant herbs, grasses and flowers specifically for the wreaths, dried bouquets and other craft projects they plan to create from them. Everlastings include plants in a wide variety of shapes and colors, from the deep yellow of yarrow to the vibrant deep purple and burgundy of statice and gomphrena.

To dry flowers, grasses or other plants for later use, collect them on a cool morning after dew has dried or in the early evening. Many plants will wilt if they are collected on hot days, and the flower shape and/or color will be ruined. Stripping leaves from the stem will help reduce drying time.

To make handling easier, arrange the stems, cut them somewhat longer than desired length and bind them with a rubber band while you are gathering them. Binding them with a rubber band will tighten around shrinking stems as they begin to dry. It’s best to keep the bundles relatively small so air can move between the stems. Then hang them upside down, to keep the stems and heads straight, from a string or twist-tie on a nail.

The best color results from drying them quickly at 105-110°F. They will dry best in a warm, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, possibly a garage or shed. Keeping doors or windows open will provide better air movement during the drying process; running a fan is another way to increase air flow and reduce the drying time. The plants are dry when stems snap easily. This can take up to three weeks. Once plants are completely dry, they can be stored in a large box or remain hanging somewhere out of the way. Everlastings should not need to be sprayed with a fixative if they are picked at the right time.

Sturdy or abundant plants like grasses, branches, seedheads and seedpods are wonderful for drying. They’re also tough enough and visually strong enough to be used in outdoor containers on decks, patios or porches. They can be displayed with pumpkins, potted mums or ornamental cabbage in fall and later with evergreens through the entire winter.


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