All things dried and beautiful are making a comeback in the chic décor and gift giving stakes.
Why dried flowers are heralded as one of the biggest trends for the past few years is because they are eco-friendly, long-lasting, and very low maintenance. On top of all these amazing benefits, dried flower bouquets add height and texture to any home or space, and bring a super range of muted pastels and faded colour options with them.
But why stop at flowers? Learn how to use dried fruit, veg, grasses, branches, herbs, and ferns in your dried floral bouquets too. If you need seasonal wedding flowers for a spring, summer, autumn, or winter wedding bouquet, adding blooms and fruit evocative of the season is a great way to punch up a seasonal wedding theme.
The best flowers for preserving are called everlastings. This is a special group of annual florals that can easily be air-dried and used in bouquets without losing their form or colour.
Here are some of the most popular types of dried flowers:
Part of a micro-ecoregion in South Africa called the Cape floral kingdom, fynbos (fine bush) dominates the area and Proteas are the king of this kingdom. It’s this large and exotic flower that stands head and shoulders above any other dried flower out there. Proteas can be found in subtle shades of red, pink, yellow, caramel, and white. They hold their structure brilliantly when dried and bring fabulous sculptural qualities to any dried flower bouquet. In fact, all of the fynbos family makes beautiful dried flowers and leaves. You might know other famous fynbos family members: red tea and honey bush tea.
(In the photo: Protea)
2. Gypsophila – Baby’s Breath
While proteas are full and heavy, gypsophila is at the opposite end of the spectrum. When dried, this delicate spray of ethereal white points brings a light and airy feel to any dried flower bouquet. It’s very easy to dry and adds balance to a dried flower arrangement that has large, more dramatic flowers in it. Standard drying methods apply.
(In the photo: orange gypsophila)
Even without special drying treatment, strawflowers are renowned for their everlasting capabilities. They come naturally in a wide variety of colours, and pull double duty of making your garden look gorgeous and then segueing into glistening rounds of muted, textural tones when used in a dried flower arrangement.
(Strawflowers. Courtesy: Pixabay)
It’s as though statice was specially made for dried flower arranging. This small papery bloom comes in a range of colours and species. We recommend German statice if you want fuller, wider flower stems and common garden statice in red, white, yellow, and blue for the colours. Simply hang upside down to dry in bunches.
5. Globe thistle
This flower can be a real pest if you encounter one accidentally, but when planted in a garden or bought at a dried flower bar, this prickly little plant adds a touch of old time feeling to a dried flower bouquet. It’s a must have for any Scottish themed wedding or special event and lasts as long as you want it too. Flowering stems must be cut before the spikey, blue-toned bracts open.
Dried Hydrangeas are the divas of the dried flower world. They lend themselves perfectly to drying and being dyed and tick all the boxes when it comes to texture and shape. Hydrangea is a prolific flowering bush and beautifies a garden and bouquet equally well.
Remember, before you set out to dry every flower species in your garden, check first to see if it sheds, wilts or drops its leaves after being dried.
How to dry fruit and vegetables for dried flower bouquets
Drying fruit or veg to use in flower arranging or to make a seasonal wreath is possible, but you need to dry individual slices instead of the whole fruit or veg. The fruit/veg must have just come to ripeness, and not yet gone past its sell-by date. Unfortunately, using up overripe fruit or wilted veg in a dried flower bouquet is not an option!
- Wash fruit/veg thoroughly in cold water.
- De-pip and slice the fruit and trim the veg (the way you want it to be presented in the arrangement).
- Disks and wedges of fruit or veg are the best shapes.
- The thinner the slices, the quicker they dry. If the slice is too thin, however, it will cause holes to form during the drying process. Try 0.6cms to 0.7cms and always make sure the slices are all the same width so that they dry at the same pace.
- Dehydrators are expensive! If you want to keep your costs down, use your oven to dry the fruit/veg. Place a thin, cotton sheet or cloth over the middle shelf of the oven. Lay the fruit/veg over the cloth in a single layer. Set oven to around 75 degrees Celsius, but keep the oven door propped open at the top with a wooden spoon so that all the moisture can escape.
- Check on slices after about 4 hours, although at this heat it’s okay to leave the fruit/veg to dry for up to 12 hours. The fruit/veg must still be flexible enough to be pierced by a pointed stick (kebab sticks are ideal), but completely dry to the touch. Can be spray painted for colour or sprayed with hairspray for long-term preservation.
Dried twigs, seeds, pods, and branches
The latest trend for weddings is to use dried flowers for the bridal bouquet and decorate the reception with seasonal twigs, grasses, and branches. Wedding planners and bridal parties, whether holding the special event inside or outside, are thinking beyond blooms when it comes to design plans.
Even the food scene is starting to understand the appeal of dried flora and using twigs instead of sticks for serving and sprigs of dried flowers and berries to decorate wedding cakes.
Decorated ceremonial arches are also getting the dried flower treatment with stunning ones being created from seasonal branches. Instead of a bride choosing a colour scheme or fresh flower type for their bouquet such as roses or orchids, they are preferring to make a specific tree, grass, or dried flower their theme.
This goes beyond the actual aesthetic beauty provided by dried branches and sprays of dried fern, grasses, and flowers. Dried flora is more budget-friendly than fresh flowers, more eco-conscious, and last longer too. So there’s no more watching the flowers wilt on a hot day after paying through the nose for imported orchids. Dried flower bridal bouquets are also far more representative of a wedding because they last forever.
Dried flora gives bridal décor a versatility and natural quality. It doesn’t matter if your event is going to be boho or classic, you will always be able to find the perfect dried foliage to bring their special organic touch to your space.
It’s always best to contact your local dried flower bar if you want your next special event to have dried foliage. They will know the best species that won’t drop leaves or seeds, and they also stock an incredible range of colours, textures, and lengths.