Peony flowers are an old-time hardy plant, able to withstand some of the harshest winters, and yet still come back year after year, often lasting for decades. Blooms begin appearing in early spring and last through the summer, with 6- to 8-inch-wide flowers in red, pink or white. As beautiful and long-lasting as these flowers are in the garden, preserving peony flowers by drying them allows that beauty to be enjoyed for years to come. Learn how to dry your garden fresh peony flowers using two drying methods.
Cut the peony flowers in mid-morning before the late morning sun causes the flowers to open up too much. The best flowers to use have blooms that are not completely mature or opened up all the way.
Cut the stems to about six inches in length and remove all the leaves from the stems. Place four to six flowers together and secure them with a rubber band wrapped around the ends of the stems.
Hang the peony flowers upside down in a dark, cool room such as a closet or basement. To hang the flowers, loop a piece of twine or string through the rubber band on the end of the stems and tie them to a hanger or nail. Let them dry for one to two weeks.
Remove the dried peony flowers from the hanger or nail and carefully cut off the rubber band from the stems. Place the dried flowers in a vase to display or tie the stems together with twine and lay them on a shelf for decoration.
Cut the peony flowers mid-morning before the blooms open too wide later in the day. Remove all the leaves and and cut the stems to three inches long. If the petals are wet, dry them gently with a paper towel.
Mix one part borax with five parts cornmeal or sand. Place a 1-inch layer of the mixture into a deep plastic container.
Put the peony flowers upside down on top of the borax mixture in the container. Gently pour more of the mixture over the flowers, covering the flowers completely. Set the container in a dark, cool place such as a closet, basement or bedroom.
Check on the flowers after one week to see if they are dried completely. Feel the petals and if soft and moist, they need to dry longer. Check in one to two more weeks and if the petals feel dry they are ready to be removed.
Remove the peony flowers from the borax mixture, gently lifting them out and shaking off any excess mixture. Use a soft paint brush to carefully brush off any remaining mixture. The dried flowers can be displayed in a vase.