Bachelor Buttons, or centaurea cyanus, are sweet little button shaped flowers that are grown in the annual cutting garden. These blooms are perfect for drying and will keep their colour well if dried using the right techniques. Learn how to dry Bachelor Buttons, and preserve these bright and cheerful blooms.
Can You Dry Bachelor Buttons?
You can easily dry Bachelor Buttons from the annual garden. The flowers can be dried in a few different ways, and are great for preserving for multiple uses. Use the dried blooms in potpourri, craft projects, and also in the kitchen, because annual bachelor buttons are edible flowers.
Bachelor’s Buttons are also known by their common name “cornflower”. They received this name due to the fact that they have been known to grow wild and self seed in open meadows and corn fields.
The beautiful flowers start blooming in early summer, and continue to bloom all season long, right up until the first frost and beyond.
These annual plants are easy to grow, and are perfect for colder climates.
We grow Bachelor buttons as cut flowers, and use them in flower arrangements and market bouquets. They make great cut flowers, and are also easy to dry.
When I first dried Bachelor Buttons, I was pleasantly surprised by the perfect shape of the dried and pressed blooms.
The flowers are an excellent size for pressing, and not too large or too small. The blooms also maintain their colour very well, so the final product is quite exquisite.
These dried petals can actually darken in color, intensifying the blue and burgundy colors of the flowers.
The shape of the blooms and pinched flower edging add to the texture of the flowers, giving an extra special touch.
I did another post on how to dry flowers using seven different methods, which you can read all about here:
Of these seven methods, I found that the best methods for drying Bachelor Buttons were air drying, pressing and drying the flowers using silica gel. I also dried the flowers in the dehydrator.
Just make sure that if you are drying edible flowers in silica gel, that they are not used for culinary purposes. Save the blooms dried in silica for craft projects and decorating.
Do Bachelor Buttons Make Good Dried Flowers?
Bachelor Buttons make great dried flowers, without a doubt. The brilliant blue flowers and dark purple double flowers hold their color well when dried, especially when dried quickly in the dehydrator.
You can dry the flowers whole, with the stem attached, or dry only the flowers themselves, with the stems removed.
You can also dry flowers and stems separately, and attach them after the drying process is complete. This can be done if you plan to use them in a framed display, and allows for more flexibility of the stem placement.
You can also dry the petals separately, and pull them out of the flowers for drying. I find that once the bachelor button flowers are dry and crispy, the petals are easy to pull from the bloom.
How To Dry Bachelor Buttons
It’s important to dry flowers in their freshest state. This means that the blooms should be dried immediately after conditioning post harvest, rather than after displaying them in a vase for several days.
In doing so, you will have the best results for your drying efforts.
Many people choose to dry their flowers after they have spent a week in the vase. This is not ideal, and will generally result in poor condition of the dried blooms, since the blooms will not be fresh.
So let’s discuss harvesting the flowers as the first step to drying Bachelor buttons.
Harvesting the Blooms For Drying
When To Harvest
Whenever harvesting flowers from the bachelor’s button plants, consider doing this task early in the day while the flowers are still hydrated, and after the morning dew has evaporated from the blooms.
Harvest on a dry day, rather than a rainy or misty day.
If by some chance your flowers are harvested wet, make sure to set them aside in a fresh container of water to allow all parts to dry out completely before pressing or drying in silica gel.
The air drying method will not matter if the blooms are wet, as they will be air dried anyway.
Stage To Harvest
Harvest the newest and freshest of the blooms from the plant. You can easily distinguish this if you look closely at the flowers. Older flowers tend to fade in color as they age. Some will even begin to lose some petals.
The fading is quite dramatic on bachelor buttons, as they go from a bright tone to almost a white.
If you harvest older blooms for drying, they tend to fade out quickly during the drying process, especially when air drying. They will continue to age while drying, and some will even turn white.
The freshest blooms tend to maintain their color during the drying process, if kept away from the light.
How To Harvest
Bachelor buttons is a tall plant with long stems.
Harvest the stems by cutting deeply, along the main stem of the plant. You may even choose to cut the main stem itself and take the entire plant, which will have multiple stems attached for a large and complete bunch for drying.
If harvesting flower heads, just cut the bloom off at the top of the stem. The good thing about this type of harvest is that there will be a new flush of blooms on the way, right after the pruning.
Conditioning The Blooms Before Drying
After harvesting, it’s always a good idea to condition your flowers by allowing them to spend time in a container of fresh water.
This will help to hydrate them one last time before the drying process. You will be drying healthy and hydrated blooms for a better dried flower.
If you have a holding solution, you can use this instead of plain water, to hydrate and condition the flowers before drying.
Allow the stems to sit in the water or holding solution for at least two to four hours before drying them.
Methods For Drying Bachelor Button Blooms
There are a number of different ways to dry Bachelor buttons, and the following methods are by no means the only ways to dry the flowers.
These are however the easiest methods that I have found for drying Bachelor buttons, so I am including them here.
Air Drying Bachelor Buttons
There are a number of ways to air dry Bachelor button blooms.
When air drying choose a dark warm location with good air circulation. Darkness helps to prevent fading of the blooms, and a dry location helps to prevent moulding.
The key to successfully air drying is to dry fresh flowers. Older flowers will tend to fade as they are drying.
Dry the flowers until they are completely dry, lightweight and crispy.
Hang To Dry
- Make small bunches of the fresh cut flowers to hang to dry.
- To do this, gather a bunch of Bachelor button stems, and pull them together using a rubber band to secure them at the base of the stems. This band helps to keep the stems from falling out of the bunches as they dry.
- Suspend the bunches of flowers, hanging them upside down to dry. You can hang the bunches from knobs or hooks, and even a drying rack.
- Bachelor button stems have quite a bit of volume, as they are multi-branched and can be slightly awkward to handle in a bunch. It is still doable however, and a viable option for drying.
- Hang about five stems in a bunch, which will make them manageable, and allow for good air circulation.
- Hanging to dry will take about two weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity in the air.
Dry Upright In A Vase
- Another option for air drying is to dry upright in a vase.
- Place the freshly harvested stems into a vase containing about an inch of water. Allow the stems to take up the water, and then remain in the vase to dry naturally.
- If you find that the stems are beginning to wilt, which sometimes happens with unopened flower buds, you can always flip the bunch upside down, and continue to dry by hanging.
- This drying process will take about two weeks.
Dry Individual Flower Heads
- Air dry individual flower heads by removing them from the stems, and placing in a single layer in a cardboard box.
- You can also use a metal cooling rack over a cookie sheet, which will allow for good air circulation.
- A paper towel on top of a plate is also an option. The paper towel will help to wick away moisture as the flowers dry.
- Place the air drying flower heads in a warm, dark, and dry location until the flower heads are dry and crispy.
- This will usually take about two weeks.
Dehydrating Bachelor Buttons In A Dehydrator
- Using a vegetable dehydrator is one of the quickest ways to dry Bachelor button flowers.
- Place the flowers on the racks of the dehydrator, in a single layer.
- Set the temperature to 135°F.
- Dehydrate the flowers for approximately 2 hours, until they are dry and crisp.
- Keep in mind some dehydrator units will dry more quickly that others, so check out the drying time in your own unit to be on the safe side.
- You can dry in increments of thirty minutes after you have reached the one hour mark, checking on the flowers after each thirty minute set. This will help to get the right time for drying in your own unit.
Pressing Bachelor Buttons
Pressing flowers is a great way to dry them, offering a creative way to preserve the blooms.
This is my favourite way to dry these sweet flowers. I love the look of pressed Bachelor button blooms.
Press In A Flower Press
- Cut flowers from the main stem.
- Place the blooms face down on the flower press.
- You can also press leaves and buds, as well as individual petals.
- These pieces of flowers and leaves will be sandwiched between pieces of paper and cardboard, and then again sandwiched between the wooden outside pieces of the press.
- To compress the flowers in the press, tighten the screws and wing nuts of the press.
- Flowers will be dry within two weeks to a month.
- I use both a diy flower press and a store bought press to dry blooms.
Press In A Book
- Pressing in an old book always works well if you only want to press a few flowers.
- If pressing in larger amounts, consider using an old phone book or catalogue with larger pages.
- Make sure that the book will have some pressure on both sides to compress the flowers flat.
- To achieve this, just place under a stack of books or a heavy object.
- You can place multiple flowers between multiple pages of a book with this technique.
- Pressing between paper towels sandwiched inside the pages of a book will also work, however just be aware that the paper towel pattern may transfer to the pressed flowers.
- Drying time for pressing in a book is similar to a flower press, at about two weeks to a month for completely pressed and dried blooms.
Drying Bachelor Buttons In Silica Gel
- Drying Bachelor Buttons in silica gel is simple and easy. The flowers hold their shape well, as long as they are not over dried.
- Place the flowers in a container that has approximately an inch of silica gel on the bottom. Cover the flowers with more silica gel crystals, covering the blooms completely.
- Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap, to keep the moisture in the air away from the silica.
- Dry for about one day in silica gel. If the flowers are not quite dry, add more time as needed.
- If you find that there are lots of petals coming off after drying, reduce the drying time for the next batch.
- You can still use all the petals that have fallen off in your projects.
Make sure that you do not use flowers dried in silica gel for eating, as they are not safe to eat after using this drying technique.
Storing Dried Bachelor Buttons
Store dried bachelor buttons in an air tight container, in a dry place and cool location.
Keep the container in a dark spot away from direct sunlight, which will fade the blooms.
Label the container with the storage date for safe keeping.
Whole flowers can be stored in mason jars or the glass jars. You can even keep them in a kraft paper bag. Pressed flowers can be stored in layers of tissue paper inside an airtight container.
Dried stems can be wrapped in tissue paper.
The flowers can last for a few years if properly stored. If using for culinary purposes, use within a year of drying.
The flowers will fade with long-term storage, so try to dry a few blooms every season to ensure that you have some on hand.
What Can I Do With Dried Bachelor Buttons?
When using dried flowers, it’s always good to get creative and use the flowers in ways to enhance the beauty of the blooms.
Sometimes a simple display can really make the flowers pop, and adds to the depth of the beauty of the blooms. An example of a simple display is to place a few pressed flowers between two pieces of glass.
In contrast, a grouping of these flowers en masse can also make quite a statement. An example of this is a bowl filled with potpourri, containing many Bachelor Button blooms along with other dried flowers and aromatic spices.
Make Dried Flower Potpourri
Add dried Bachelor buttons to a bowl pf potpourri. Consider multiple bright colors for a pretty display.
Bachelor buttons can be blue, pink, purple, and burgundy. All colours will blend nicely with each other, depending on which varieties you have grown in your garden.
Press The Blooms Between Glass
Once the Bachelor button blooms are completely dry and pressed flat, you will be able to create projects behind glass.
Dried flowers pressed between glass look very beautiful and organic, and are wonderful gifts from the garden.
The glass creations can be displayed on a wall, in a window, and even on the Christmas tree.
Make Cards With Pressed Flowers
When the flowers are flattened from pressing, consider making cards for gift giving using the dried Bachelor button blooms.
These dried flowers on card stock are like works of art. Create a simple collage using the stems and the pressed flowers.
Use The Edible Dried Blooms In The Kitchen
Make sure that you are not using silica gel dried flowers for edibles.
Any edible dried flowers should be organic and not be exposed to any chemicals.
Bachelor button blooms are edible, and can be used in the fresh or dried forms for decorating.
If using the dried flowers for decorating your baking, consider the fluffy air dried blooms rather than the pressed, which will be too hard for eating.
The bright coloration of the bachelor button blooms make a statement on your baking.
Add the dried flowers to salads.
The colorful petals of dried bachelor buttons makes an interesting garnish for your salads. Include only the petals, and remove any green stem parts.
Dried Bachelor button petals can also be added to tea, such as in this recipe for Blue Moon Herbal Tea.
Bachelor buttons make excellent cut flowers, and are also excellent candidates for drying.
Consider growing them in your garden, for using both in their fresh and dried forms. Bachelor buttons require little care when planted in the garden, and are a very low maintenance flower.
You can harvest the seeds at the end of the season, and have them to plant in your garden year after year.
Florist blue boys are brilliant blue, and are a favorite flower. Their bright blue color makes a statement in both the fresh and dried forms.
If dried quickly the intense blue color is preserved. Longer drying methods will tend to fade the color of the blooms.
Dried Bachelor button blooms are just as cute as the fresh version, and once dried they will last much longer.
Store them for up to a year for culinary use, and dry more from the garden for next season. That way you will always be sure to have a batch on hand any time you want to use them.
Have you ever tried to dry Bachelor Buttons? Be sure to leave a comment below to share your experience!