Preserved flower petals add both a fragrant and decorative touch to potpourri and other craft projects. Most flowers in your garden are suitable for drying, especially if all you want is the petals. Flower petals dry more quickly than whole flowers, as they do not have the fleshy centers or stems to contend with. Air-drying preserves the petals without the cost of expensive desiccants or equipment. Choose flowers when they are at the height of their bloom and before they start wilting to ensure the petals are attractive and aromatic.
Remove the petals from the flower head. Trim off any discolored or damaged areas, or discard the affected petals. Avoid pressing on the petals, as this can cause bruising and discoloration.
Spread the petals out on a screen, such as an old window screen. Place the petals so they are not touching one another and leave enough space between them for the air to circulate freely.
Set the screens in a well-ventilated, warm room to dry. Avoid placing them in an area that receives direct sunlight as this can discolor them. Check the petals every three to five days. Petals are dry when they feel papery and brittle, and do not stick to the screen.
Place the dried petals in a plastic bag or container. Place a small packet of silica gel in the container with the petals to absorb any excess moisture, then seal the container closed.