A little-known secret about the flower industry is that it creates a lot of waste. That’s why Kathleen Dore and Grace Kinney, co-owners of Best Bud Floral (and both formerly of Native Poppy), make it a point to create beautiful flower arrangements that leave minimal impact on the environment. They source flowers locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and never use floral foam, which doesn’t biodegrade. Another green technique is to preserve the beauty of your bouquets by drying them.
“It’s a fun process, like wabi-sabi,” Dore says. “There’s beauty in imperfection and beauty in watching flowers change. I find drying flowers poetic.”
Best part of all? “Everyone can do it,” Kinney adds.
Here’s their three-step guide to drying out a flower bouquet.
The first thing to realize is that flowers decay at different rates, and your typical bouquet is likely to contain several different kinds. Generally, woody varieties with large seed pods, such as Protea and poppies, dry out best; grasses like thistle and Banksia dry the quickest. Mold is the biggest bane of flower drying, and usually, the more petals, the higher chance of it. For this reason, consider avoiding varieties like Ranunculus and peonies and note that others, like roses, strawflower, and Gomphrena, might lose their color and take longer to dry out.
Separate and tie the stems
After a few days of enjoying your fresh bouquet—don’t wait until they wilt, because the stems will lose their sturdiness—extract the flowers that you plan to dry and separate them into like types. Consider removing any leaves, as they’ll just go brown and could hold moisture. “You want the main focus to be the flower anyway,” Kinney says. Use twine or string to tie together each group of flowers at the stem, and make sure they’re spaced out to avoid mold.
Hang upside down
Use a nail or wall hook, or string up a line in a room with moderate natural light—avoid total darkness, like a closet—and hang your bundled flowers upside down from it. Yes, it’s that easy. The hardest part is having patience. Depending on the variety, it might take two weeks or a month for flowers to dry out entirely. Once they do, Kinney says they’ll be preserved “pretty much forever.” Whether you style them in a vase or leave them hanging for years on end, the final step is the same: step back and admire.
Grab Some Buds!
In addition to online orders, Best Bud Floral has a Flower Deli cart (free pickles!) outside of Home Ec in Little Italy on Sundays, including Valentine’s Day.