Drying flowers to preserve them in a dehydrator allows you to process a large batch all at once – even more flowers than can be crammed into a conventional oven. But, even though dehydrating flowers is a lot quicker than hang drying flowers, the process will still take many hours longer than preserving them in an oven.
Dehydrating flowers takes about 8 to 10 hours. I typically keep a batch of freshly picked wildflowers in the dehydrator overnight, especially when drying large or dense varieties.
It is best to wait until the flowers have fully bloomed to dehydrate them, especially if they will be used for crafting instead of their wild edible or natural healing properties. The flower heads will lay far more flat, and dry more evenly once the petals are outstretched fully.
Flower Dehydrating Tips
If you are dehydrating flowers for arts and crafts and want to preserve a flower bud or partially unopened flower for aesthetic reasons, that is entirely doable in a typical residential dehydrator.
Expect flower buds to take about 12 hours to completely dry out, perhaps a bit longer or shorter depending upon how large and thick the bud actually is when placed inside the machine.
For even drying it is best to only do a like batches of flowers, either by density or dimension. Always place the flowers (or petals, leaves and stems) onto the dehydrator trays with enough space between them to facilitate adequate air flow.
Always place the most dense flowers on the top of the tray (closest to the machine fan) because they will take the longest to dry. I always rotate my trays a couple of times when dehydrating anything so the contents of each tray gets a turn on the top portion of the machine. Reverse the steps if the fan is in the bottom portion of your dehydrating machine.
If you are dehydrating small flower heads or primarily petals and leaves, use the mesh inserts designed to fit you machine to place them upon.
Because flowers (and anything else you dehydrate) will shrink in dimension as the moisture is pulled from them, items which start small to begin with can fall through the uncovered trays onto the catchment basin at the bottom of the dehydrator.
How to Dehydrate Flowers
- Cut the flower heads from the stems as evenly as possible so they will lay flat on the dehydrator trays or mesh inserts. If preserving just the petals, snip or carefully pluck them from the flower head with scissors – leaves can be removed in the same manner. Stems or roots can be preserved whole (increasing drying time), sliced down the middle or chunked. It will take stems and roots about 12 hours to dry.
- Place the mesh inserts into the tray, if using them.
- Spread the flower parts onto the trays leaving space in between them – do not layer. Flower petals do not require as much spacing as whole flower heads.
- Place the lid onto your dehydrator machine.
- Choose the lowest heat setting or the one designated for herbs, and start the machine.
- Rotate the trays about every two hours – optional but highly recommended.
Store the dehydrated flowers in airtight Mason jars, freezer bags, or vacuum sealed bags. When stored in this type of a container and in a cool dry place, the flowers dried in the dehydrator should remain viable for use for at least 12 months – but in my personal experience, for about 5 years.
I recommend storing in small containers because the more the dried flowers are exposed to air and moisture, the less likely they are to maintain their preserved state and be viable for use – especially in wild flower recipes and home remedies.