Autumn wedding bouquet form shrinking violet bespoke floristry

Flowers purchased from us will last fresh for at least a fortnight if properly cared for, but sadly they will not last this way forever. A beautiful bouquet or floral display can hold significant sentimental value or perhaps it’s simply too gorgeous to throw away. Whatever the reason, we thought we’d share a few great ways to preserve flowers for months or even years to come.

Before you begin though, take a few photographs of your floral display. Not only will this be a great memory in itself, it will also help you to recreate something similar when the flowers are dried or pressed using these photos as a guide!

Air Drying

This is our preferred option. At Shrinking Violet Bespoke Floristry in Malvern, we believe that nothing beats good, old-fashioned air drying for perfect floral mementos.

First remove the flowers from their vase or container and undo any ribbon or string tied around them. Then remove any wire from the stems.

Separate the flowers carefully. Some flowers can be dried together and others, such as roses, need to be hung individually. Also, bear in mind that most foliage and delicate flowers, such as fuchsia or alstromeria cannot be dried this way at all and will need to be pressed. (see below)

Gently tie string around the stems of each flower or flower group that you wish to hang.

Find a dry area where there is good air circulation and the flowers won’t get knocked or squashed. If the flowers get damp it could lead to mildew and rotting. While being in direct sunlight will strip the natural colours from the plants leaving them faded. We recommend a cupboard or cloakroom, as long as it has some air flow.

Hang the flowers upside down from hooks or, ideally, a line across the chosen space and leave to dry. After a few weeks you will have gorgeous flowers in beautiful vintage hues.

Preserve flowers by air drying as shown with these hanging wedding flowers from shrinking violet bespoke floristry

Silica Gel Drying

Silica can be quite an expensive option, but it is much quicker than air drying, taking just a few days to a week and will better preserve flowers’ original colours. We have found, however, that the flowers don’t last quite so long as with standard air drying.

This form of drying works best for the more sturdy blooms, such as roses or zinnias.

You cannot dry flower stalks or greenery this way, so once you have untied your bouquet (see above), snip the heads off the stems and immerse them in silica gel granules in an air-tight container.

The stems can be hung to dry, as above, and reattached later with wire and glue, or discarded and later replaced by floristry stems in their place.

Silica gel can be bought from craft and floristry stores or on line.

Microwave Drying

Super-fast drying! This works best with flowers that are just beginning to open, so less suitable for bouquets that you want to enjoy fresh for as long as possible!

To use this drying method simply put around four scoops of cat litter into a microwavable bowl and place a single flower in the bowl, gently covering with the litter. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.

Once the litter has cooled you can remove the flower head, carefully brush away any remaining litter and repeat the process with the rest of your flowers.


Most foliage and delicate flowers, such as fuchsia or alstromeria cannot be dried by the above methods but can work well for pressing.

If you don’t own a flower press, don’t worry, you can press flowers in a large, heavy book. Just line a page with parchment, wax paper or kitchen paper. Arrange the flowers face down with plenty of space between and close the book.

Leave it closed for at least a week to 10 days, so that the flowers can fully dry. The dry flowers will be paper thin and delicate to the touch but their uses are extremely versatile. Use them to create an image of your bouquet or as decorations for book marks, picture frames or wall art…your imagination is the limit! For inspiration, check out Pinterest.

Preserve flowers by pressing in a dictionary