Desiccants like silica gel make creating dried flowers both fun and easy, and dried flowers can bring much needed color through the cold months of winter. When drying flowers, it is important to use the proper techniques to achieve the best possible results. When drying flowers, the stem should be cut to an inch in length, and a wire stem should be inserted before the flower is dried. The bottom of the pan should be covered with one or two inches of desiccant, and the flowers should be placed into the drying pan with the wire stem looped beneath the flower. It is important to use care when covering the flower with desiccant. Be sure to use a steady stream of flow from your hand, and make sure that the natural shape of the petals are retained as the flower is covered. After the flower has been covered, the container should be tightly covered and left in place until the flower has completely dried.
The length of time needed for complete drying will depend on the type of desiccant used and the type of flower to be dried. Flowers with higher moisture content will require a longer time to dry. After the flower has completely dried, the desiccant should carefully poured off and the excess should be shaken off the flower. It may take a fine brush to remove the finest particles. In recent years many gardeners have begun to experiment with preserving flowers in the microwave. Microwave drying takes only a few minutes, and it can provide a much fresher looking appearance than other methods.
In order to dry flowers in the microwave, they should be put in a supporting substance in order to retain the natural form of the flowers. Substances such as silica gel, borax mixtures and even clay cat litter work well at providing support. Only glass, paper or special microwave containers should be used to hold the flowers and desiccants, and the container should not be covered. A small cup of water should be put in the microwave to prevent excessive drying. The time required for microwave drying will vary according to the characteristics of the flower and the amount of moisture it contains. After cooking, the flowers should be left in the drying agent for several hours to overnight, depending on the variety of flower. It may be necessary to do some experimentation to find the right cooking times and methods, but microwave drying is one of the easiest ways to create stunning dried flower arrangements.