The secrets to styling with dried flowers

dry flowers

Dried flowers also bring that burst of freshness, light and a degree of self-care into your space.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Anyone will agree that fresh flowers bring a burst of freshness and light into your space, perhaps even a degree of self-care and therapy. They are as good for your home as they are for your soul. 

But they die after about a month of attentive care – first comes putting them into a vase of fresh water, then changing the vase water every three days, washing the vase itself, sprinkling into the freshwater that powdered sachet of flower food, nipping the flower stalks at an angle, pruning any dead leaves… on and on it goes. For about a month.

Your fresh flowers will still die despite this constant care. They don’t die because you have killed them – no – they die because that’s what fresh flowers in a vase do. They die and you throw them away and you begin the cycle all over again with another bouquet of fresh flowers.

Enter dried flowers

Dried flowers also bring that burst of freshness, light and a degree of self-care into your space. The good news is, they don’t die and they don’t need the constant attentive care that fresh flowers need. You will probably grow weary of them after a year or more, then you will give them away to someone.

Fresh flowers are dried using some expert techniques. What happens essentially is that the moisture is pulled out of the petals, stalks and leaves. It’s not exactly killing them, think of it as a mummification process that preserves your flowers and gives them a much longer life.

Dried flowers don’t have their original scent but they shouldn’t have a bad odour either. This suggests that they have not been properly dried. Or they were not given enough time to dry. Properly dried flowers smell of… the richness of nature.

You can buy your dried flowers from any fresh-flower florist. Most dry them on request and charge more for a bouquet. You can also dry them yourself at home, only do this if you have mastered the drying techniques.

You can display your dried flowers as an arranged bouquet, as you would fresh flowers. Sometimes you can style using only the branches. Other times, only the petals (what they call potpourri).

Here are the secrets to styling your home with these dried flowers:

Put them in a dry, opaque vase

Don’t put your dried flowers into a vase of water. Water will mould the stalks and ruin them entirely, you will be forced to throw the flowers away.

Fresh flowers look gorgeous in a see-through vase, what with the fresh water and the fresh stalks sitting in there absorbing all the fresh goodness. Dried flowers look better in an opaque vase. (No real reason for it, they just do.)

Dried flowers

Dried flowers don’t have their original scent but they shouldn’t have a bad odour either. This suggests that they have not been properly dried. 


Photo credit: Shutterstock

A ceramic or pottery vase with neutral colours wholly complements the dried flowers and makes its colours pop. The more minimalist the vase, the better the flower’s styling.

Display them in a moisture-free space

Display your vase of dried flowers in a space that has no moisture. Remember, your dried flowers can still absorb moisture. The moisture will not reverse the preservation process and turn them back into fresh flowers, no, it will mould them instead. Mould ruins the flowers and sends them to the dustbin.

That said, don’t display them in your bathroom, laundry or kitchen. Anywhere else in your home but in these moisture-laden spaces.

Also, keep them away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight doesn’t just ruin dried flowers, it pretty much ruins any type of live houseplant.

Avoid moving the vase around

The thing about fresh flowers is that you can move the vase from your kitchen counter to your bathroom vanity, then to your living room coffee table to your entryway, and back to the window sill on your kitchen sink. You can move them around for as long as you are caring for the bouquet as you need to.

You can’t do this vigorously-moving-around thing with a vase of dried flowers. As much as they have a longer life space, dried flowers are more brittle than fresh flowers: the stalks can break, petals can crumble, leaves can fall off, and the bouquet can irreversibly rearrange itself.

Display your vase of dried flowers somewhere permanent, somewhere out of casual reach, then leave them there for as long as you can. Also, be wary about moving the vase around while doing your daily dusting and cleaning.

Clean them using a hair dryer or feather duster

Like any other styling accessory in your home, your dried flowers will domestically gather dust and will need to be cleaned.

Remember, these dried flowers are brittle and must be handled with the care of someone who understands what they are about. Remember also that water, moisture of any kind, really, is the arch-enemy of dried flowers.

To clean your dried flowers, gently dust them using a feather duster. Operative word - gently. Just lightly tap the surface of the flowers and keep tapping. Don’t pry the flowers open to reach those hard-to-reach places, especially if it's a bouquet, or you will ruin them. Only tap away what you can see.

Wipe the vase using a microfiber cloth. Make sure the cloth is dry and clean otherwise it will dirtify the vase some more. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, then use an ordinary damp cloth but be very careful that it does not come into contact with the flowers.

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