Why Dry Sunflowers
Having a beautifully decorated home can make the hard days of homesteading much easier. Learn how to dry sunflowers to make easy decorations.
A great way to do this is by decorating with a bright bunch of sunflowers! They add a pop of color to any room and can brighten your day just by looking at them.
However, flowers don’t stay fresh for long, and eventually, they begin to droop, shrivel, and need to be thrown away.
Pretty soon, you’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of buying new flowers and watching them shrivel up and die every few weeks. It’s a lot of work for a homesteader, on top of everything else!
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could keep them forever, so they always add beauty to your home?
That is where drying flowers comes in! Drying flowers is an inexpensive way to keep flowers in your home for months after they’ve stopped blooming.
Once dried, you can decorate your home with them in a variety of ways, from vases to pitchers, to hanging from open beams or to decorate empty drawers.
Drying sunflowers is also a great way to preserve the seeds inside, which makes it much easier to harvest them.
We have created a guide on the various ways you can dry sunflowers, so you can keep these beautiful blooms in your home all year round.
Method One: Drying Sunflowers
You Will Need
- Twine, yarn, or an alternate string
- Garden shears
- To begin, you’ll want to choose partially open flowers. This means they have not yet grown to their full size and will be easier to dry. It also means the seeds haven’t fully developed and will not fall out after the sunflower is dried.
Once the flowers are picked, pull off any dead leaves around their heads.
Cut the sunflowers. Leave about 6 inches of the stem.
Hang the sunflower upside down in a dark, dry place. They can hang separately or bunched together in a three – just make sure the heads don’t touch!
Pro Tip: Instead of hanging the flowers, you can place them to dry in a vase. This way, they will look more graceful once dried. Just remember to keep them in a dark, dry place!
- The drying process should take around 2 weeks. After this recommended time, check the sunflowers to make sure they’re totally dry. If not, leave them for another week and repeat.
Once dry, cut the twine, and place your sunflowers in a vase or shadow box.
Pro Tip: If using a shadow box, be sure to cut the stems shorter.
- Don’t forget to spray with hairspray to preserve the color and shape of the flowers!
Method 2: Drying Sunflowers
Instead of hanging sunflowers up to dry, you can use drying agents!
You Will Need
- Airtight Container
- Garden Shears
- White Cornmeal
- Silica Gel
- As before, pick a partially-open sunflower and cut off any dead leaves around the head.
- Cut the stem short, about 1-2 inches.
Pro Tip: If you do want a longer stem, you can create one with floral wire! But be sure to do this while the sunflower is still fresh!
- Now come the drying agents. You can use any of the following three methods:
Drying Agent One – Simply mix borax and cornmeal in equal parts, and add salt to help the sunflowers preserve their color.
Drying Agent Two – Mix two parts borax with one part sand, and don’t forget the salt (use about a spoonful).
Please note that this drying agent is heavier than the aforementioned one above, and while an excellent method for drying flowers may flatten them in the process.
Drying Agent Three -The last option for drying flowers is silica gel. This can easily be found in craft stores and also comes inside new purses, shoe boxes etc. Silica gel acts as a quicker drying agent compared to the first two, so there is no need for salt.
- Once you have chosen your drying agent, you must choose a container to dry the sunflowers in. Remember, an airtight lid will work best!
- Pour 1 inch of your chosen drying agent into the airtight container.
- Place the sunflowers inside, face up.
- Gently sprinkle the drying agent over the flowers until they’re covered.
Please note: Don’t forget to wash your hands!
- Put the container in a warm, dry place.
The silica gel will dry the sunflowers in less than a week. The other drying agents will take 1-2 weeks.
Method 3: Drying Sunflowers For Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a tasty, nutritious snack, and an easy food to harvest if you’re just starting out with homesteading. Here is a great way to harvest them!
You Will Need
- Garden Shears
- Kitchen twine, yarn, or other string
- Cheesecloth, or alternative
- If the weather is warm and dry, let the sunflowers grow to their full maturity. Let the heads turn yellow or brown before cutting them off.
Pro Tip: If in a colder climate, the sunflowers will need to be cut despite not reaching full maturity. You will also need to cut 1 foot off the stem and hang the flower in a dark place as seen in method 1.
- Once the head starts to droop, you should tie it to a stake or else it will grow too heavy, and the plant will collapse under its own weight.
Please note: Birds know just how delicious sunflower seeds are, too. So, to protect them, tie a cheesecloth or alternative paper bag around the sunflower head and secure it with kitchen twine.
- Cut the flower stem at an angle.
- Dry the sunflowers using method 1.
- Once dry, there are several ways to remove the seeds. You can brush them off with your hands, with a fork, or with a stiff brush.
- To prepare the seeds for eating, you will need to mix one cup of salt with one gallon of water.
- Remove any plant bits or dirt from the sunflower seeds and drop the seeds into the water.
- Soak for 8 hours, and then strain.
- Spread the seeds out into a pan and heat at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Leave them to dry for 5 hours.
And there you have it, sunflower seeds perfect for eating! Don’t forget, you can store them for up to a year in the freezer, in an airtight container.
Method 4: Drying Sunflower Petals
You Will Need
- Heavy books
- Blotting paper
- Microwave-safe plate
- Paper towels
- Pick bright petals using your hands.
- Line them up between two sheets of blotting paper.
- You can either put the blotting paper between two pieces of cardboard, and put the cardboard inside a heavy book, or you can skip the cardboard section and place the blotting paper in the book.
- After 2-3 weeks, check the petals. If not dry, replace the blotting paper and leave it for one week.
- Once dry, lay out 2 paper towel sheets on a microwavable plate.
- Put a layer of petals on top of the towels
- Microwave for about 20 seconds, or until the petals dry out.
- Check the petals, and if not dry, microwave for a further 10 seconds.
Please note: Do not let the petals become crisp.
- Once dry, remove the petals. If you have more petals, replace the paper towels and repeat steps 6-8 until done.
- Let the petals rest for several hours to help preserve them.
Drying sunflowers is a great way to preserve them. While they may not be as big or as bright as when they are fresh, they are still a beautiful option for home decor to spruce up your living space, or if you fancy harvesting a delicious, sunflower-seed snack.
There are four alternative drying methods to choose from, and with each one offering wonderful results, it would be a shame not to try!