Silica Gel For Drying Flowers

Silica Gel For Drying Flowers
Published On:June 22, 2020 Revised On:August 12, 2023

Flowers, with their vibrant colours and delicate petals, symbolize love, friendship, and many emotions, as tangible connections to cherished moments and memories. Preserving these nature’s beauty has been a cherished art for centuries. Among the various methods available, drying flowers with silica gel is a reliable and efficient technique that captures the essence of the blooms. In this article, we will explore the process of drying flowers with silica gel and learn how to create long-lasting floral arrangements.

The Art of Drying Flowers

Preserving flowers is a delicate and cherished tradition from ancient civilizations. From Egyptians who adorned tombs with dried blooms to the Victorians who crafted intricate floral arrangements as tokens of sentiment, this practice encapsulates moments of joy, celebration, and remembrance within the petals of a single blossom.

While various methods exist for preserving flowers, each with its unique charm and effectiveness, the use of silica gel has numerous advantages. Silica gel, a versatile desiccant, offers a precise and controlled approach to drying flowers that preserves their natural form and vibrant colours, all while minimizing the risks of decay and deterioration.

Their gentle drying process ensures that the delicate structure of the flowers remains intact. Unlike pressing methods, which can flatten and distort petals, silica gel allows the blooms to maintain their original three-dimensional beauty. The desiccant also can retain the vivid colours of fresh flowers. The gradual dehydration prevents rapid colour fading, allowing dried flowers to retain the same captivating hues that once graced the garden.

Understanding Silica Gel

Silica gel is composed of silicon dioxide, a compound found abundantly in nature as quartz. These granules have an incredibly high surface area due to their porous structure, making them exceptionally effective at capturing and holding water molecules.

It consists of orange beads or blue and white crystals that act as a desiccant, absorbing nearby moisture. The orange or blue crystals work as an indicator, turning pink or green when the mixture has reached maximum absorption. Upon saturation, the desiccant needs replacing or recharging for reuse.

The drying process with silica gel is a controlled form of desiccation. When fresh flowers are placed in contact with silica gel, the gel begins to extract moisture from the petals while maintaining their shape and colour. This method ensures that the flowers gradually lose moisture without undergoing the rapid and often damaging effects of air-drying or pressing.

Silica gel creates a microenvironment within its granules, where the humidity is significantly lower than the environment surrounding the flowers. As a result, moisture migrates from the flower petals to the gel to balance the humidity levels. This controlled exchange of moisture prevents the flowers from wilting or shrivelling and aids in retaining their original form.

Selecting the Right Flowers

It’s essential to choose the right flowers that withstand drying and retain their beauty and charm. This section explores the art of selecting the ideal flowers for silica gel drying and the key considerations.

Best Flower Types for Drying

While a wide range of flowers can be preserved, certain varieties are particularly well-suited to this method due to their durability and aesthetic appeal:

  • Roses: Renowned for their enduring beauty, roses are popular. Their sturdy petals and rich colours are excellent candidates for preserving romantic sentiments and cherished memories.
  • Lavender: With its delicate blossoms and soothing fragrance, lavender holds its charm even in dried form. The slim stalks and small flowers make them ideal.
  • Carnations: Carnations possess robust petals that hold up well during drying. Their diverse colours and lasting quality make them an excellent choice for floral arrangements.
  • Baby’s Breath: This delicate, cloud-like flower complements other blooms beautifully and retains its dainty appearance when dried.
  • Daisies: While delicate, they can be preserved with care. Their intricate petals and bright colours make them a captivating addition to dried arrangements.
  • Zinnias: Known for their vibrant colours and striking appearance, zinnias dry well, allowing the capture of their beauty.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Flowers for Drying

Select flowers for drying when their colours are at their peak. This ensures vibrant hues are captured from the outset. Applying colour fixatives can help lock in the natural colours of flowers. When selecting flowers for silica gel drying, several factors come into play to ensure a successful preservation process:

  1. Petal Structure: Flowers with robust and sturdy petals tend to fare better during drying. Blooms with petals that can withstand manipulation without easily tearing or breaking are preferable.
  2. Moisture Content: Flowers with lower moisture content are preferable. Harvesting blooms in the morning when the moisture levels are lower can help optimize the preservation process.
  3. Size and Shape: Flowers that are neither too small nor too large are ideal. Opt for flowers that fit comfortably within the chosen drying container without excessive crowding or overlapping.
  4. Colourfastness: Some flowers may experience colour fading during the drying process. Consider selecting blooms known for retaining colour vibrancy, especially if maintaining the original hues is important.

How to Preserve Flowers

Preserving flowers can be a great way to keep special memories. After selecting the flowers, follow these steps to ensure a successful and rewarding preservation endeavour:

Trim Stems and Pat Flowers

The first step in drying flowers is to trim the stems and pat the flowers dry. Use pruners or scissors to cut the flower’s stem at an angle about 1 inch above the blossom. After trimming the stems, gently pat the delicate flower petals with a clean cloth to remove any surface moisture. Let the flowers sit for a few hours for them to start drying.

Use an Airtight Container

Select an airtight container that accommodates the chosen flowers. The container should provide ample space for the flowers without overcrowding.  Use a glass, plastic, or metal container, as these materials are more moisture-resistant than paper or cardboard containers.

Next, spread a layer of silica gel about 1.5 inches thick into the container at the container’s base, creating a bed at least one inch deep. Ensure the silica gel forms an even surface to facilitate consistent drying. Before placing flowers in silica gel, remove excess moisture by gently blotting them with a paper towel.

Avoid overcrowding; proper spacing between flowers within the container prevents trapped moisture’s buildup and minimises the mould growth risk. Lightly mist the flowers before gently placing them on the silica gel bed. Ensure the flowers don’t touch each other or the container’s sides. This arrangement prevents petals from sticking together and maintains the intended shape. Add more desiccants in and around the petals until fully covered but not submerged.

Finally, seal the lid closed when done and set the container in a dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Ensure that the plastic container containing the desiccant beads and flower is airtight so that no additional moisture can enter and affect the drying process. Some wooden flowers may require soaking in a glass of water before adding them to the container with the desiccant, as this will help prevent cracking or discolouration during the drying process.

Allow the flowers to Dry Completely

Place the sealed container in a cool, dry, and undisturbed area. Drying takes one to seven days, depending on the flower and moisture content. Periodically check progress by gently pressing a petal. If petals feel dry and crisp, the flowers are ready. Thicker flowers may require longer drying, while delicate blooms may be ready sooner. Patience during this phase yields optimal results.

Allowing the flowers to be in a dry environment away from direct sunlight or heat sources will help speed up the process. To ensure all moisture is removed, check on the flowers every few days by lightly touching the petals and checking for any signs of dampness. Once completely dry, gently brush the petals before removing them from the container. Keep preserved flowers away from direct sunlight and harsh artificial light, which can cause colour fading over time.

Mistakes to Avoid

The art of drying flowers with silica gel is a delicate endeavour that requires attention to detail and careful execution. While the goal is to remove moisture from the flowers, over-drying can result in brittle, fragile petals that lose their natural beauty. Regularly monitor the drying progress by gently touching petals.

Once they feel dry and papery, promptly remove the flowers from the silica gel. Avoid leaving flowers in silica gel for excessive periods. Adhere to recommended drying times to strike a balance between preservation and over-drying. After drying, allow flowers to cool before handling or displaying them. Rushing this step can cause delicate petals to break or crumble.


Create stunning dried arrangements that mirror the rich tapestry of life’s experiences. Preserving flowers becomes a labour of love, a meaningful gesture that bridges the gap between past and present, and a tangible way to cherish the beauty surrounding us. Experience quality moisture control with our silica gel desiccants. Purchase is available direct from our online store. Our ISO 9001-certified QA lab ensures the highest level of testing excellence. For large orders, specialized dimensions, or printing requirements, feel free to reach out to us.