|It is easy to grow dried flowers from seed. Now (May and early June) is a good time to start. Many dried flowers are sown from seed in the late spring. This is because sowing can be done straight into the garden, rather than starting indoors earlier in seed trays. The plants grow quickly in the warm spring sunshine and look great in the summer. They are then harvested for dried flowers that deliver a long-lasting indoor display over winter.
Here are a few to try this year:
Helichrysums or Strawflowers – These are some of the best ‘Everlasting’ flowers to grow from seed. They are available in a wide range of colours. The 'Choice Mixed' variety is good if you are looking for a range of colours for dried flowers. Or choose individual shades for your borders and if you are growing for an event. ‘Silvery Rose’ and ‘White’ are popular varieties for wedding flowers.
A mix of Helichrysums and Limonium flowers
Sea Lavender – Also known as Statice and Limonium. These are slender and ethereal plants with attractive sprays of flowers, often splashed with white. Try Apricot for a warm winter colour. Or Iceberg for wedding flowers.
Poppies – Annual poppies are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. Let the flowers open fully and fade away, as you pick the seedpods for drying rather than the fresh flowers. Poppy ‘Danish Flag’ is a good choice. Or try a paeony poppy called ‘Paeony Scarlet’. Perennial Oriental Poppies and Icelandic Poppies also grow attractive seedpods. ‘Icelandic Mix’ is one of the best poppies to grow in a garden as they have a long flowering period.
Poppy 'Icelandic Mix'
Dried poppy seadheads
Quaking Grass – Grass flowers add movement and drama to a dried flower arrangement. They can also be added to fresh flowers to mix up the colours and textures.
Briza media flowers
The ‘wildflower’ approach: Choose your packets of seeds and mix the seeds together in a bowl. Clear a sunny section or ‘river’ of soil within your garden. Clear the section of weeds and prepare a seedbed. Scatter the seeds into the seedbed, rake over and water. The seeds germinate in 1-3 weeks depending on the air temperature. The colourful mix of flowers can look dazzling, verging on gaudy, so it is a matter of taste and artistic flair. Sow more than you need if you are looking for a strong floral display in your garden, as flowers for drying are picked early, and you leave the excess in the garden to flower on into autumn.
The ‘organised approach’: Flowers grown for picking are traditionally grown in rows in the productive part of a garden. Or they can be sown in individual groups or drifts of colour in your garden - you sow one variety of seed at a time. If using this approach, prepare drills in the soil, or circles or crosses, and sow each packet of seed sparingly into each drill. Cover the seed lightly with soil and water. This approach gives you more control of the timing, colours and quantity of flowers you want to grow. It also helps with weeding as it is easier to distinguish weed from seed when the seedlings are small.
To Pick and Dry
Time the picking of the flowers carefully. Helichrysums are best picked just before opening fully and Sea Lavender when just opened and fresh. Poppies are left on the stems until the pods have turned from green to brown. Quaking grass are best picked once fully formed and before autumn wet sets in. Pick long straight stems, tie them together in small loose bunches and hang upside down in a cool and dry place away from direct sunshine. Avoid direct sun as this causes the colours to fade. The flowers dry over a period of a few weeks.