The strawflowers are often used in winter dry flower arrangements because they can be cut and dried without deteriorating.
If drying strawflowers properly, they retain their vivid hue even throughout the year’s coldest months.
I will give detailed ways to dry strawflowers in this article and relevant information about this kind. So, keep scrolling.
What Are Strawflowers? Its Symbolism
Although you may be unfamiliar with strawflowers’ names, you have undoubtedly seen these bright and beautiful flowers used in everything from fresh spring bouquets to autumnal ones.
They belong to the aster species, which for a long time were referred to by their scientific name, Helichrysum bracteatum.
After reclassification, two new names were proposed for the plant: Xerochrysum bracteatum and Bracteantha bracteata.
The last name ultimately prevailed in the taxonomic debate since it is derived from the Greek for “dry” and “golden,” while “bracteatum” refers to the flower’s bracts.
These flowers are favored because they need little effort to cultivate and just 70 days from planting to picking.
In addition, this native Australian plant can withstand high temperatures and dry conditions, making it ideal for individuals who live in hot, dry areas but want to cultivate a lovely flower garden.
Furthermore, florists often use these blooms as a preferred material because of how easily they dry while retaining their original color.
Besides, these flowers are a metaphor for everlasting beauty and youth since it keeps their form and hue for so long.
So when a bouquet of strawflowers is given, it symbolizes someone or something that will “always be remembered.”
Drying Strawflowers Methods
There are two standard methods to know how to dry strawflowers, including using a dehydrator and drying in specific environments.
To prepare for the drying strawflowers process, you must identify the method you want to use.
If you want to dry in a dehydrator, here are some things you can prepare:
- A dehydrator
- Flower Scissors to cut strawflowers for drying
For another method, instead of a dehydrator, you need rubbers (or a wire) and places to hang flowers.
Method 1: Dry In A Dehydrator
Among the various options for drying flowers, a standard food dehydrator has the advantages of being quick, easy to use, and preserving the flowers’ original color and form.
Maintaining your flowers’ color and scent requires swiftly removing excess moisture. Your flower’s natural form will be preserved in the dehydrator. Here is the common process I usually do:
- Collect the dry, dew-free strawflowers for drying from your garden. When choosing fresh flowers, look for ones beyond the bud stage but not yet fully bloomed.
- Cut flower stems but leave around 1 inch. Before cutting the stems, I inspect each flower to ensure none of the petals are broken or damaged by insects.
- To get ready, adjust the temperature on my dehydrator to between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Most flowers thrive in temperatures about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size of the petals, you can increase or decrease the temperature. The dehydrator’s temperature may be adjusted to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in places with more than 50 percent relative humidity.
- When using a dehydrator, cut flowers should be put on each tray in a single layer without overlapping or touching.
- Check on the flowers every hour to see how dry they are becoming. Depending on the different kinds, it might take up to four hours for the flowers to dry completely. Then, bringing the flowers down to room temperature will help them dry out.
- After dehydration, the strawflowers dried should be stored in a cool, dry place.
Method 2: Dry In Certain Environments
Without a dehydrator, drying strawflowers can be conducted manually. Here are some steps you can follow:
- Pick strawflowers before their petals have fully opened.
- Remove the bottom leaves and stem from the chosen strawflowers, leaving 10 to 12 inches of stem on each bloom. Remove any excess leaves from the stem.
- The stems will shrink as they dry, so it’s important to carefully wrap or tie them together. To maximize airflow and fresh flower form, the best quantities of flowers to the group are no more than a dozen individual flower heads into a single cluster. Wrap the rubber band a little distance from the stem’s tip.
- Rubber band clusters should be dried in a cool, dry, dark, and shaded area with sufficient air movement. Your straw flowers will be dry and ready to use in around two to three weeks.
You can use a wire if you don’t want to dry in a cluster.
- Collect strawflowers before their petals have fully opened as other methods.
- Remove the flower head from the stem but remain a little stem.
- To connect the stem to the base of the flower, use a piece of 22-gauge wire. Put the wire in far enough to keep the flower’s head in place but not so far as to ensure it goes through the bloom. In most cases, a length of 6-10 inches will do.
- The strawflower head may be kept vertically by inserting the wire end into a styrofoam block. As many straw flower blooms on a wire will fit in the styrofoam block.
- Put the styrofoam block and the straw flowers on wires somewhere dry, dark, cool, and airy. The drying process for your straw flowers should take around three weeks.
You can check this video to follow.
Things You Have To Know If You Want To Grow Strawflowers
Envision a garden bursting with these vibrant flowers. The taxonomy of strawflowers is complicated, but raising them is not.
As I said before, strawflowers can be planted in a harsh place; however, they will flourish if given enough water and a warm enough environment.
The plant prefers full sun but will survive in partial shade, making it adaptable to various environments.
Strawflower seeds often come in a rainbow of colors, even though orange, white, pink, apricot, yellow, and red varieties are also available.
Once the flower is completely open, it often has a striking contrast of colors on the interior of the bracts, like red and yellow or deep pink and white.
The average height of a mature sunflower is around 2-3 feet. However, there are dwarf kinds that grow to be as little as 15 inches tall. Some of the taller types may require staking.
Deadheading, or removing wasted or fading flowers before they can generate plant seeds, may help individual plants expand up to 18 inches.
The more you prune, the bushier and more shoots your plant will produce.
Besides mentioned information, there are two important things you need to notice, including:
Start Seeds Indoor Spaces
Strawflower seeds may be planted outside after the danger of frost has gone. However, this is not a good idea for short-season gardening for a few reasons.
Strawflowers typically take around 85 days to mature, which is too much of a time commitment for flower gardeners in the northern hemisphere.
Besides, optimum plant seed germination occurs at temperatures of 70 degrees or above, which may be challenging to attain in the spring, especially for those living in northern latitudes.
Strawflower seeds should be started indoors from 3 to 6 weeks before the final frost for the best results. Do not bury the seeds because they require light to germinate.
Instead, plant the seedlings in the garden, 10 to 12 inches apart, once the first genuine leaves have appeared and the danger of frost has gone.
Although certain types of strawflowers are perennial, they need to be managed as annuals.
They thrive in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10, and their height of up to five feet makes them an excellent choice for a tall flowering plant in your cutting garden.
Please remember that self-seeding can happen with certain plants, but it won’t produce genuine cultivars.
Pollinators Love Them
You are not the only person appreciating strawflowers. There are a lot of pollinator friends, such as bees, hoverflies, and butterflies that are usually attracted to strawflowers.
Therefore, we include them in our flower list to attract butterflies to your garden!
What Are The Best Uses of Strawflowers?
The bright, brilliant variety of colors and unusual texture of strawflowers make them a popular purchase at craft fairs and flower markets.
It is possible that the plant now known as Bracteantha bracteata (which is identical to Helichrysum bracteatum) will be categorized as Xerochrysum bracteatum in the future.
And this plant is categorized as a herb despite its delicious floral aroma. Helichrysum essential oil, extracted from the flowers, has been used in skincare, aromatherapy, and pain relief.
What Are Companion Plants Of Strawflowers?
It’s useful to know which plants “play well” together or have a similar growth environment when developing a garden design strategy.
For example, the flowers Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan), Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Monarda didyma (bee balm), Platycodon grandiflorus (balloon flower), and Zinnia provide nice partners for strawflowers.
Furthermore, these blossoms share another characteristic.
Xeriscaping, an eco-friendly garden that uses minimal water and other resources, is well-suited to these plants due to their low water and maintenance requirements.
Drying strawflowers is the most effective way to preserve these vivid and beautiful flowers without losing their original colors.
If you aren’t planning to use the dried flowers immediately, you may keep them in a box for up to a year if you wrap them in newspaper or tissue paper beforehand.