Drying Chrysanthemum: A Florist’s Experiment | 4 min read
At Bracken & Berry, we endeavour to create unique designs by incorporating unusual and unexpected flowers for the elusive x-factor they bring to composition. With this desire in mind, we recently set our sights on drying spray chrysanthemum. A delightful ensemble flower, spray chrysanthemum is most utilised fresh. Each stem of this glorious doria variety was plentiful with vibrant button-like flowers. For our experiment, we trialled two classic methods: hang drying and silica gel. To follow, we will outline our methods, results, and overall takeaways.
If you are new to drying flowers, it’s important to know that there is no singular right or wrong way to dry; rather there are a select number of tried and tested methods that provide a positive result. The most favoured method will be determined by the time and energy you can invest in the process. Not knowing the behaviour of chrysanthemum in the drying phase, we thought we would employ two different methods.
Firstly, we applied the hang drying technique. When it comes to drying flowers, hang drying is our personal preference due its efficiency with the least amount of time and labour required. You can create a purpose-built hanging system, use a clothes airer, or simply hang your stems from a coat hanger if space is limited. The main tip to note is that you want to allow air circulation between the stems, so hanging stems individually is important.
Secondly, we applied the silica gel method. As a desiccant, silica gel quickly absorbs all the moisture from the bloom. So, for this method all you need is an air-tight container and enough silica to entirely encase the flower head. Due to container size, you will likely need to trim your stems according to the space allowance.
We were pleasantly surprised by the results of each method. Although remarkably different, both the hang drying method and silica method achieved an aesthetically pleasing dried bloom. Although it was necessary to trim the stems short, the silica method maintained the flower shape and retained more of the original colour. Whereas the hang drying system allowed us to keep the stems long, the result was a more shrunken bloom that was rustic in appearance.
One of the key considerations is time, both preparation time and drying time. There is no doubt that hang drying involves the least amount of preparation as it can be simply described as ‘hung and done’. Drying time, however, was a different story. In Australia, chrysanthemum becomes seasonally available in Autumn and continues into Winter. Drying flowers during the cooler seasons typically takes longer, but this process is only exacerbated further by flowers and foliage that are known for their hardiness and water retention. So, while relatively quick and painless to prepare, the chrysanthemums that were hung to dry took roughly eight weeks to completely dry out. On the other hand, the silica gel method requires more preparation: sourcing a container, adding silica, and layering blooms. Silica gel can be a notoriously messy product to use and can involve its own series of preparations if you happen to be reusing silica gel. By contrast, the drying time was greatly reduced. According to the package instructions, silica gel should achieve the desired results in approximately three days. To be on the safe side, we left our chrysanthemum blooms in silica for two weeks and the result was perfection.
Time considerations aside, the other note to be mindful of is the intention for the flowers themselves. The long stems on the air-dried chrysanthemums keeps them more versatile, whereas the short stems on the silica-dried chrysanthemums makes them more limited for use in design.
Our efforts drying chrysanthemum has shown us that it seems possible to dry any flower (within reason). If you embrace the spirit of trial and error, there are countless lessons to learn and delights to discover. We hope you enjoyed our insight into drying the classic chrysanthemum and, can say from experience, that it’s worth the effort. Find out for yourself and let us know what you think.
Tess xxDid you know that bespoke dried floral designs are our specialty? We would love to create a one-of-a-kind design just for you. Click here to browse our current range of bespoke designs.