Crocosmia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora), also known as copper tip or falling stars, is a low-maintenance perennial that will add color and beauty to the summer flower bed. Although the blooms are beautiful in flower beds or borders, crocosmia blooms also make gorgeous dried flowers and can be enjoyed long after summer has passed. Silica gel or a mixture of borax and cornmeal make excellent drying agents. Silica gel, which can be purchased in craft shops, is more expensive, but will dry the crocosmia quickly. The borax mixture will work just as well but will take several days longer.
Cut crocosmia blooms in the cool of the day, shortly after any moisture has evaporated. Crocosmia should be cut when the buds have just barely opened, as the blooms will continue to open after the flowers are picked. Choose the best blooms in the garden, free of disease or insect damage. Any flaws will show up more once the crocosmia blooms are dried. Leave a few inches of stem attached to the bloom.
Place 1 to 2 inches of silica gel in the bottom of an airtight plastic container. Lay the crocosmia flowers face up on top of the silica gel, with the blooms not touching. If you choose, you can use a combination of half borax and half white cornmeal instead of silica gel. The process is identical, except that when drying crocosmia in the borax mixture, a cardboard box should be used instead of a plastic container.
Sift the silica gel or borax mixture around the flower petals and stems until the flowers are completely covered. Make sure the petals are in a natural position, and supported by the silica gel or borax mixture. Jiggle or tap the box gently to settle the flowers, and if necessary, add more of the silica gel or borax mixture.
Put the lid securely on the plastic container. If you use a borax mixture, the cardboard box should remain open. Place the crocosmia in a warm, dry place.
Check the crocosmia regularly, as crocosmia can take three to seven days to dry in silica gel and 14 to 21 days in a borax mixture. The crocosmia should be completely dry, but not brittle.
Remove the crocosmia carefully from the silica gel or borax mixture by lifting the flowers carefully with your hands. Shake off the excess silica gel or borax mixture carefully, then brush off what still remains with a soft paintbrush.
Spread a layer of white tissue paper in a cardboard box or a plastic container. Place the dry crocosmia blooms on the tissue paper, and arrange the crocosmia so the flowers aren't touching. Place another layer of tissue paper over the top. If desired, add a second layer of crocosmia, covered by tissue paper, but don't store the crocosmia more than two layers deep. Cover the container, and store the container in a cool, dry room.