If you’ve never ordered dried bouquets online, then you may be wondering—what’s all the fuss about? Dried flowers can be a great alternative to fresh ones for a number of reasons, especially if you’re looking for a maintenance-free approach to decorating with florals.
While fresh blooms may require pruning and swapping out water, dried ones don’t—and they’ll also last a long longer, as in, several months to a year. Because of their lifespan (and generally higher price tag), it’s essential to choose the right preserved bouquet for your space.
After reviewing the best places to order dried flowers online, I learned a thing or two about the process of ordering and caring for preserved flowers. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your preserved bouquet, and how to pick the right flowers for your home.
1. Choose the right style
This might sound obvious, but there are a lot of styles to choose from when it comes to finding the perfect preserved bouquet for your space. Just like fresh blooms, dried bouquets come in all shapes and sizes, as well as a surprisingly wide color palette. Since it can be harder to trim down dried bouquets without damaging them, it’s a good idea to make sure the height and width of your chosen arrangement will work.
When it comes to colors and styles, keep in mind that dried bouquets can vary nearly as much as fresh ones. While many dried bouquets are all-natural, others contain flowers and grasses that have been dyed or treated. Some of these colors may be the exact opposite of a “natural” look (think: bright pink grasses), while others might just be slightly tinted or embellished. Be sure to look at pictures and read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re ordering.
It’s also a good idea to start by thinking about where you might like to put your dried blooms and ordering a bouquet that will work well in that specific space.
2. Be aware of fragrance
Another aesthetic detail that isn’t always apparent until after you’ve received your preserved bouquets? That some dried bouquets actually have a smell, while others don’t. Although some of the flowers I reviewed seemed to have an initial “gassing off smell” (much like furniture), others retained their scent even days and weeks after the fact.
This comes down to two things: The natural smell of the flowers and what they’ve been treated with. Some flowers (like lavender and eucalyptus) naturally have a strong smell, so you should plan on putting bouquets that contain those plants in a larger space where the smell won’t be overwhelming (like in a hallway opposed to your dining room table).
Even if you haven’t purchased an entire eucalyptus bunch, it only takes a few stems of these kinds of plants to create a strong smell that will overwhelm a sensitive nose or tiny kitchen. After you’ve found a bouquet you like, be sure to read about the plants that are in it, and make sure you’re choosing something with a fragrance you like and one that will work in the space you’re decorating.
3. Plan for a mess
There’s no way around it, dried bouquets are messy. And if you’re a Type A person who can’t stand even a small mess, you’ll want to carefully consider what kind of dried flowers you get and where you put them.
Some flowers are of course messier than others. These include things like feathery grasses or anything with a dried fluffy seed pod (like Goldenrod). While some of these plants will shed no matter what, there are a few best practice rules you can follow to mitigate the mess.
The first of these is to keep your arrangements in a high, sturdy vase on a low-traffic surface. This will prevent them from getting knocked around unnecessarily. Another way to preserve your flowers is to treat them with something—like hairspray or a similar lacquer that will keep the blooms from falling off. Last but certainly not least, you can avoid quite a bit of the mess just by being strategic in how and where you open your dried bouquets. Which brings me to my next point.
4. Unbox gently
It’s natural to want to fluff up your arrangements after opening them. They’ll likely come tied up with a string and wrapped in some paper or plastic packaging. But the best way to do this (and avoid any unnecessary mess or damage to your flowers) is to unbox your blooms outside or over the packaging they came in.
After several bouquets that landed all over my floors and tables, I finally learned to not only unpackage my blooms over the box they came in, but to also cut the string and even fluff them up and arrange them in their vase over the same box. This made my bouquets display-ready, without any extra cleaning.
5. Keep dried bouquets away from heat
Once your bouquets have arrived, there are a few best practices you’ll want to keep in mind for preserving them for as long as possible. The first of these is to keep them away from heat of any kind. This includes radiators, stoves, and a less obvious one—direct sunlight.
Heat (and especially sunlight) will rapidly degrade your flowers, and may even make their colors fade or cause them to drop more blooms faster than they normally would. While some sunlight can’t be avoided in most homes, try to avoid placing your flowers in the sunniest part of your house and opt instead for a cooler, darker corner where they won’t soak in hours of sunlight each day.
6. Avoid damp and water too
Much like avoiding heat, you’ll also want to avoid getting your dried bouquet wet or placing it in a damp environment. Although it probably goes without saying, dried flowers should not be placed in water, or in areas of high condensation or moisture. This might include a very steamy bathroom, or even next to the compost bucket or a bowl of fresh fruit.
Since most dried bouquets still contain some organic material, you’ll want to avoid keeping them directly next to anything that might cause them to mold or rot. The best environment for dried bouquets is one that’s dry and cool. By storing them in a place that fits that description, you’ll be able to keep them and enjoy their fresh-out-of-the-box aesthetic a lot longer.
7. Be aware of what’s pet-friendly (and what isn’t)
For anyone who keeps house with a four-legged friend, it’s important to always consider what kinds of plants you bring into the home and whether they’re pet friendly or not. A number of flowers maintain their toxicity even when dried (like lilies or poinsettias), and others might become toxic due to the chemicals they’re treated with.
Be sure to place your dried bouquet out of reach from pets and small kids, or be sure the plants included in the arrangement won’t be dangerous if they do accidentally make it into someone’s mouth.
8. Consider any allergens
Another final thought to consider before bringing dried bouquets into your home? Allergies. Some flowers can be especially irritating to those with sensitive noses (or allergies), so it’s good to double check what will be included in your bouquet before you finalize your order.
Just because it’s dried, doesn’t mean it can’t be potent, so check in with your spouse or roomie before inviting a potentially sneeze-worthy arrangement into your shared space.
The bottom line
Dried flowers can be just as beautiful as fresh ones, especially if you pay attention to the kind of bouquet you’re getting and where you choose to display it. Follow these tips to get the most out of your dried bouquets, and you’ll be able to enjoy them in your home for many months or even years to come!
How long do dried bouquets last?
Dried bouquets generally last several months up to one year. If properly cared for, it’s possible to keep them for even longer, although after one year they tend to fade and lose some of their fresh vibrant appearance.
Are dried bouquets worth it?
Yes! Although they can be pricey, dried bouquets are a long-lasting investment that will add fresh color and texture to your home for up to one year (and sometimes even longer). You can buy dried bouquets online or even cut and dry your own flowers to create preserved arrangements.
Do dried bouquets go bad?
All organic things will eventually need to be composted (or thrown away), but generally speaking, most well-preserved bouquets can last up to a year before they start looking a little worse for wear and need to be swapped out.
What are preserved flowers made of?
Unless specifically stated otherwise, most preserved flowers are actually just fresh flowers that have gone through a drying process. This might involve using a drying rack or simply hanging them upside-down in a cool, dry area away from sunlight until they’re completely dry. Additional treatments afterward might include things like treating the flowers with colors or preservatives to create a certain aesthetic and make them last longer.
Larissa is a writer, gardener, and herbalist living in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. Her writing has been widely published in lifestyle and personal finance publications all over the country, and she's also the creator of the weekly newsletter @rootedintribe.
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