Herbal wreaths are so beautiful, and summer is the perfect time not only to be making them, but collecting materials to dry for future wreaths. In part 2 of Making an Herbal Wreath, I discuss how to dry and store what you want to save for later projects, and give you a list of suggested herbs, flowers, and plants.
There are many plants—herbs, flowers, “weeds”—that grow in our gardens or in fields, empty lots, woods, that are perfect for including in wreaths. Below is a list of some suggested plants. Don’t be limited by what is on there. If there is something you think might be pretty or dry well, try it! If it doesn’t work out, don’t let that discourage you, try something else next time. Experiment and have fun! Or just use what you already know will work.
Methods for Drying Plants, Flowers, etc. for Wreaths
There are a number of ways to dry to plants, flowers, and herbs for wreath-making. I will cover a few of them that are quick and simple, though I know there are others.
Hanging Your Bunches
The quickest, simplest way to dry plants, in my opinion, is to hang them in bunches. Simply pick whatever you are going to dry with at least 4 “ stems, tie them together with a piece of string with a loop at one end or put a rubber band tightly around them, and hang. Use just a few stems per bunch; if you make it too thick, things may not dry adequately.
They can be hung from pegs on a peg board, as I do, or pegs on any sort of coat-rack or board with pegs. If you have something with slats that you can hang from the ceiling, you can use unbent paper clips as hooks for hanging the bunches. If you don’t have anything else, you can use a coat hanger and unbend paper clips to use as hooks to hang the plant bunch on the hanger.
Be aware that the petals of your flowers will all point down or in the same direction, as they are being hung upside down. That means that if you want a flower with the petals spread out you will have to dry it by a different method, which I go over below. Flowers can look lovely with the shape they take from being hung to dry, but it may not be what you were expecting.
Laying Things Flat to Dry
If you have a window screen or, even better, a door screen that you can lay flat, you can simply place your plant material on the screen, remembering to place it in a position that will look good when it is dry. Remember not crowd your plants or allow them to cover each other, or they won’t dry well.
If you have a large enough basket, then that will also serve as a good service on which to lay your plant material to dry, and it will give adequate air circulation for good drying.
Other Methods of Drying
To have the petals of a flower spreading out from the center of the flower when it is dry, there are 2 things you can do.
You can take a bottle, such as a water or wine bottle, and put one flower into it so that the head of the flower rests against the mouth of the bottle. This way the petals will dry spreading away from the center. However, if they are long, they will then be pointing backwards from the center, so be aware of that.
You can also take a tray from a nursery that has a criss-crossed or hatched bottom. Many nurseries have these for customers to use in taking their plants home. The many small openings make it possible to stick a stem through the opening while the head of the flower cannot go through. Spread out the petals to dry and they will then be in a lovely circle around the center of the flower. You must prop the tray up on something so that there is room for the stems to hang down and dry. You can do a number of flowers on one tray this way.
Storing Your Dried Flowers and Plant Material
When you have dried your flowers and other plant material, such as seed pods, that you will be using later on, you will need to store it.
I like to use shoe boxes that I can label with the contents. If I have enough plant material I will sort it by colors and types.
A covered basket also works well for storing your plant material.
Plants to use in Wreaths
Here is list of plants and flowers to use in wreaths. Some can be used either fresh or dried, and some are better just used fresh. I have indicated whether the plants can be used fresh, dried, or both.
These are herbs, flowers, and other plants that can be grown in your garden or foraged/wild-crafted.
Legend: f=fresh d=dried
Baby’s breath (gypsophila)-f,d
Cornflowers or bachelor’s buttons-f,d
Dusty miller flowers-f,d
Flowers of artemisias, mugwort, wormwood, southernwood-f
Lamb’s ears flowers-f,d
Mint flowers (all varieties)-f,d
Queen Anne’s lace-f,d
Yarrow (all colors; cultivated and wild)-f,d
Artemisias-silver king and queen, silver mound, Powis Castle-f
Opal or purple basils-f
Sage (regular green sage is best, purple dries brown)-f
Hibiscus, hollyhock, some mallows
Rose of Sharon
If you love herbal wreaths but aren’t able to make your own, I make beautiful wreaths and would be happy to make you one, or have you select from a few that I have already made.