Can You Dry Dahlias?

Dahlias are large and brilliantly-colored flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers don’t last long, so it makes sense that you would want to preserve the flower somehow, but which method is best? And how do you preserve Dahlias?

Dahlias can be dried in various ways, though air drying or silica gel is best; you can also press them and use Epsom salt, sand, or hairspray to preserve your flower. Always take care when moving around your Dahlias to preserve the petals and take proper precautions to prevent injury to yourself. 

The best method is often silica gel, as it allows you to best preserve the flower and its bright colors. However, if you don’t want to invest so much money into the gel, you can air dry them. If you cut Dahlias before they fully bloom and keep them in a cool and dry place, they can preserve their colors better. 

Are Dahlias Good for Drying?

Dahlias are suitable for drying. You just have to know the proper method with which to dry them. Dahlias are very flexible plants and can handle being dried almost any way. They can be air dried, dehydrated, pressed, put in desiccant, vase dried, and more. 

What’s the Best Way to Dry Dahlias?

Dahlias are not flowers that have a lot of water in their petals. For this reason, they do well with air drying. With this method, you simply pick flowers first thing in the morning, and they will open more as they dry. 

Then, you simply hang the flowers upside-down somewhere. They will have space and good air circulation. You will want to ensure each flower gets its space and that your Dahlias are in a cool, dark place. 

Dahlias will take a few weeks to dry. Usually, the colors will grow duller, with reds changing to browns and bright pinks growing duller. Also, the stem will snap relatively easily, which signifies that they are finished. 

This is the cheapest and most straightforward method for drying Dahlias, but it can lead to weak petals and a loss of color. Additionally, sometimes the flowers die before drying, or the petals fall off, so this isn’t a good method if you don’t have a lot of flowers to use or are worried about losing a flower or two. 

Drying Dahlias With Silica Gel

Silica GelAnother method for drying Dahlias involves silica gel. This is a much faster method, and it keeps the vibrancy of petals, so it looks freshly picked instead of dried out. However, it can be expensive, and this method isn’t necessarily safe to use with food or beauty products. Silica can be hazardous to your health, so you need to take care when handling it. 

To dry your Dahlias with silica gel:

  1. Always remember to wear an air filter mask and gloves when handling silica gel
  2. Like any time you pick flowers, you want to do it first thing in the morning, right after the dew has dried, as this is when flowers are the freshest. 
  3. Since these flowers won’t expand as they are drying, pick flowers that you like how they look right then, such as full-bloomed ones. 
  4. Cut your flower stems about an inch (2.5 cm) from your flower head. 
  5. Place the Dahlia facing down into a container. You’ll want the container to be about 2 inches (5 cm) taller than your flower. 
  6. Pour silica gel over the flowers until the gel fully covers them.
  7. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. 
  8. Set aside for five days or more
  9. Remove your flowers gently, and brush off excess gel with a small paintbrush.

Can You Dry Flowers With Hairspray?

Flowers can be dried with hairspray. Roses do this method very well, but Dahlias can handle it too. It is an easy method, with some tricks making it even easier to perform when needed. 

However, it is a method that needs constant touch-ups, with you having to reapply the hairspray about once every four days. This makes this method a little better for short-term preservation rather than long-term. 

Can You Dry Flowers in Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt isn’t used during the drying process. However, if no water is present, you can use Epsom salt to speed up the drying process. You would use it similarly to silica gel, with the Dahlia flower staying in the Epsom salt for at least three or four days. 

Epsom salt can also be used to make bath bombs and salts with dried flowers.  

How to Dry Flowers Without Chemicals?

Air drying or vase drying is the best way to dry Dahlias without chemicals. We prefer the air drying method, as it is easier and has a little less breakage than the vase method. Plus, hanging a flower upside down helps them to maintain their natural shape, more so than standing straight up in a vase of wood. 

Additionally, airflow is better when the flowers aren’t next to each other and are touching. The air drying method allows the flowers to dry faster, reducing the chances of mold and mildew growing on the plants and ruining your flowers. 

How Do You Dry Flowers Without Losing Their Color?

Cutting flowers without losing their color can be difficult. The best method is to cut them before the flower fully blooms. If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can maximize the colors you are left with by letting them air dry in a cool, dry place. 

Otherwise, silica gel works best. It allows you to keep much more of the color without changing to a dulled and muted color. 

If you just want a bright color on your flowers and don’t mind if it is the original color, you can also look at drying your Dahlia and then dyeing them. This allows you to add bright color to your dried flowers and extends their life span. 

How Long Do Dried Flowers Last?

If properly cared for, dried flowers can last a year. If the utmost care is taken, they can last much longer. Bleaching and dyeing can extend the life of your flower by a little as well. Generally, at most, three years is what you can get out of a dried flower. 

Can Dahlias Be Pressed?

Dahlias can be pressed, but it isn’t as effective as drying out. While this is a traditional method, it only works well for thinner flowers. Instead, a desiccant like silica gel is better for flowers like Dahlias. 

Flowers that do best being pressed are flowers that have a single layer on their flowers, lie flat, and have delicate petals. 

Flowers that work best for pressing are:

  • Hibiscus
  • Pansies
  • Forget-me-nots
  • California poppies
  • Delphiniums
  • Larkspur

How to Press Dahlia Flowers

If you do decide that pressing is the way you want to preserve your Dahlia, there are some steps you can take to make it more effective. First, you want Dahlias that aren’t as condensed. Some Dahlias tend to be thick with petals in the center, also known as pom style. 

These types of Dahlias don’t handle being pressed well. Instead, you want flowers that look more like large dinner plates in size. This is because the petals are often more spread out. However, they will still need a lot of patience and pressure. 

To fully press the flower, you will need something heavy. Something flat but large, like cinder blocks, work well to press your Dahlia fully. Generally, when pressed, they can take about six weeks to dry thoroughly, so it is best not to be in a rush. 


Dahlias can be easily dried. They do best with the air drying method or silica gel, but they can also be pressed if you have enough patience and heavy, flat objects. Always take care to be gentle with your flower. Dahlias aren’t the best flower to be pressed as they are more dense, so try a flower like Hibiscus or Pansy.

Dahlias can be dried in other ways as well, you can use Epsom salt, sand, or even hairspray to preserve your flower. Dried flowers tend to last about a year, but can last up to three years if placed in the exact right conditions.

The easiest, chemical free method is air drying though the color from the flower may start to fade. The most effective method is silica gel, but make sure you use gloves and a mask to reduce any injury from the gel.