Four steps to preserve flowers at home for beautiful, long-lasting arrangements

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A bouquet of flowers can be the perfect way to brighten up your home during the winter months, but sadly unlike plants, they can not be kept alive long-term. However, there are some ways you can preserve special bunches to use as decorative items in the future.

The key to this is the drying process, which can preserve the colour and quality of some of your favourite blooms.

Dried flowers have become increasingly popular in recent years, springing up on social media and across interior design websites.

They can even be purchased in local supermarkets and homeware stores, but self-preserving flowers can be a cheaper option.

Dried flowers last an average of one year, but can last even longer depending on when the drying process began and how well it was done.

According to experts from The Farmer’s Almanac, some of the best flowers to dry include gypsophila, hydrangea, lavender, pansies, rosebuds and strawflower.

Many herbs can also be dried.

How can you dry flowers at home?

Air dry flowers

One of the most traditional ways of preserving flowers is simply by air-drying them.

You should start by removing the leaves from the flower stem.

Next, bunch your flowers and tie them together.

Flowers should be hung upside down from a sturdy support. One way you can do this is by using a stick and hanging the blooms from the stick using string or an elastic band.

Leave them to dry in a shady spot away from direct sunlight for two to three weeks until completely dry.

This is particularly good for robust flowers such as roses or lavender.

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Dry flowers using a microwave

For a quick turnaround, some flowers can be dried using a microwave, according to Funny How Flowers Do That.

The flora experts suggest this technique for single flowers, such as Gerber daisies of chrysanthemums.

Begin by removing any unwanted leaves from the flower.

Pour a layer of cat litter or silica sand into the bottom of a microwave-safe container, and then place the flower blossom-up on top.

Pour more cat litter or silica sand over the petals of the flower, and then heat for between two and five minutes on half power.

Once you have removed your flower, be sure to dust off any residual powder.

Dry flowers using silica gel

Silica gel is often found in shoe boxes when you purchase a new pair, or tucked away in store-bought handbags.

These little sachets can be used to dry out your blooms by using the microwave technique, or without the aid of a microwave by filling a container with the silica from within these packets and leaving the flowers to sit.

Place the flowers in the container and cover them with silica sand.

Flowers should be left between two and seven days to dry, depending on the species.

Dry flowers in a vase

Larger, more robust flowers, are able to dry out naturally simply by being left in a vase.

Once they have drunk all of the water, and any remaining has evaporated, the flowers will dry gradually.

According to the experts, this method will “help retain more of their fresh-flower colour vibrancy” than the traditional air-drying method.

However, this may not work for all flowers, as it can cause some tender stalks to droop.

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