Last updated on October 22nd, 2023 at 12:05 pm
Roses bloom in perfusion in the summer months, gracing us with an amazing aromatic fragrance when in full bloom. These fabulous flowers are also easy to dry, and the rose petals can be used in many different ways once dried. Learn how to dry rose petals, and preserve some of your fresh blooms for future use.
This year I pruned my climbing rose, and as a result had prolific blooms on the plant.
It was a perfect time to harvest these fabulous flowers, and to make dried rose petals to use throughout the year.
Dried rose petals are a wonderful natural and organic product right from the garden, and have many versatile uses once dried.
Roses are edible flowers, and dried petals can be used in the kitchen to decorate your baking projects. The petals are the perfect finishing touch on iced cakes and cookies, especially those made for a romantic occasion.
Use them in crafting, and as an ingredient in potpourri.
They can also be used to make confetti, which is a personal favorite.
Before discussing the various ways for drying, let’s first have a look at harvesting the roses to obtain the petals for drying.
When To Harvest Rose Petals For Drying
As with all cut flowers harvested for drying, harvest in the morning hours on a dry day, after the morning dew has evaporated from the blooms. This is the time when flowers are in their most hydrated form.
Even though the flowers will be dried eventually, it’s best to start the process with petals that are in top notch condition.
Consider harvesting rose blooms for drying from the freshest roses on the bush or cane.
The freshest blooms are those that have just opened up, and are still plump and healthy in appearance.
As the blooms age they begin to fade. They generally will fade in color, and in texture, and will open more fully as they mature.
The more mature blooms will likely turn brown at the edges. Then eventually they begin to drop their petals, as the flower finishes blooming.
You will usually find flowers in different stages on the plant. Chose the freshest blooms to harvest for drying.
Another point to consider is to chose blooms for drying that are free from pesticides, and that have been grown organically. This is especially important if you will be using your dried petals to decorate food, or using them in tea.
Do not use store bought roses for drying, unless they are certified organic.
Many roses bought at the florist or big box stores are imported, and are often treated with chemicals.
Best to be safe and choose organic blooms.
How To Dry Rose Petals
There are many different methods for drying flower petals, and we will review some of these methods for drying roses. Most methods are generally very easy, and take no time at all.
I omitted covering the silica gel method in this post, as this method should not be used if you plan to consume the rose petals. Silica gel is great for drying roses, although only if using them in non culinary projects.
If you are looking to dry rose petals or roses in general with silica gel, check out this post on HOW TO DRY FLOWERS WITH SILICA GEL.
1. Air Dry Method
Drying rose petals with the air-drying method is probably one of the easiest ways of drying them. It will take just a few days longer than some of the other methods in which heat and forced air are applied.
If you are not in a hurry, this method will work very well. It’s also a great method for drying lots of petals at once.
To Air Dry Rose Petals:
- Separate the rose petals from each bloom by holding the stem firmly at the base of the rose petals, and pulling the complete flower away from the base of the stem. The petals should easily pull away from the stem into your hand.
- Alternatively, you can also pull the petals off one at a time, from the outside of the bloom, starting with the outermost petals first.
- Lay the petals out in a single layer on top of a baking sheet covered with paper towel. The paper helps to wick away any moisture from the petals, as they are still full of moisture at this point, even if they feel dry to the touch.
- Place the baking sheet with the layer of petals in a dark place, and in a warm area with good air circulation, away from direct sunlight.
- Within several days the petals should be dry and crispy.
- This is my preferred method, as I found that the petals retained more of their original color as they gradually dried.
2. Dry In A Dehydrator
Drying rose petals in the food dehydrator is quick and easy.
To Dehydrate Rose Petals:
- Remove the petals from the roses, using the same process as described.
- Place the rose petals in a single layer on the dehydrator racks.
- Set the temperature on the dehydrator to 135°F, similar to the temperature required for dehydrating fruits and herbs. The roses will blow around inside the dehydrator, especially when they become dry.
- Just make sure to get all the bits of petals as you empty the dehydrator.
- Remove them from the unit as soon as they are done, and allow the petals to cool to air temperature.
- Depending on the size of your rose petals, the blooms can be completely dry using this method in approximately one hour.
- If there is still some moisture in the flowers, you will be able to tell by the texture of the petals. If there is still some pliability in the petals, more drying is required.
- The petals are dried when they are crispy and firm.
3. Oven Dry Method
The oven drying method using a conventional oven is another quick and easy technique for drying rose petals.
It’s a bit quicker than with the dehydrator method, as the oven temperature setting will be slightly higher.
To Oven Dry Rose Petals:
- Place the rose petals in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Set the oven to the lowest temperature possible on the dial. My oven goes down to 170°F.
- Preheat the oven before drying the rose petals.
- When the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet with rose petals into the oven on the middle rack.
- Keep an eye on the drying process, since the petals will brown if they become burned.
- Heat the petals for approximately 10 minutes, then continue drying, checking at five minute intervals until the petals are completely dry. Remove from the oven when you have dry and crisp petals.
- My petals took 20 minutes to dry in the oven.
- Drying time will be dependent on the size and thickness of the rose petals.
I found that the oven drying method tends to mute the color of the petals, more so than when compared with all the other methods.
The petals dried with this method were more ivory in color, and lost the shades of pink from the fresh blooms.
They were however, just as beautiful.
4. Dry In The Microwave
Drying rose petals in the microwave is also quick and easy.
To Dry Rose Petals In The Microwave:
- For the microwave method you will need some paper towels and a microwave-safe plate.
- Cover the plate with a piece of paper towel.
- Place the rose petals in a single layer on top of the paper towel.
- Microwave the petals in increments of 30 seconds, until the flower petals become crispy and dry. Generally the petals will be done in about two minutes.
- Once you know how long it will take for the petals to dry in your own microwave oven, you can dry the next batch without increments.
- Microwave drying times can vary with different brands of microwaves, so it’s best to start slowly at first to make sure that the petals don’t burn.
- The size and thickness of the rose petals will also affect the drying time.
5. Dry In A Flower Press
Drying in a flower press is a fun technique.
Rose petals will be dried by compression, and will become completely flat. The petals will retain much of their beauty with this drying process.
Pressing whole roses and halved rose buds is also possible, to add to your collection of rose petals.
The process of pressing flowers is discussed in more detail in this post, HOW TO PRESS FLOWERS – 5 WAYS TO PRESS EVERLASTINGS.
To Dry Rose Petals In A Flower Press:
- When pressing whole flowers, open them up to expose the centre of the flower.
- Place the blooms face first on the press, and dry them pressed down in this position.
- When pressing rose petals and flowers in a press, sandwich the blooms and petals between two pieces of paper, which are then sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard.
- This unit is then pressed between two pieces of wood, and compressed further by tightening a set of bolts and wing nuts to flatten the flowers.
- This method will take more time than some of the others. Allow up to two weeks of pressing time to dry the petals completely.
I use a store bought wooden flower press, as well as a larger diy flower press for pressing roses and other garden blooms.
6. Dry In An Old Book
Drying rose petals and rose buds in an old book is a traditional way of drying flowers. This method of drying also involves pressing.
If you have lots of rose petals to dry, consider using an old phone book or catalogue.
To Dry Rose Petals In A Book:
- Place rose petals between pieces of paper towel, and place between the pages of the book. If you have a large phone book you will have lots of space and pages into which to put your rose petals.
- Place the book under a heavy object and allow the petals to dry for several weeks.
How Long Do Dried Rose Petals Last?
Dried rose petals can last up to several years, and even longer depending on how they are stored, and their planned usage.
If using for culinary purposes, use the petals within one year.
If using for confetti or other dried flower projects, you can keep the petals as long as they remain intact.
Over time they will eventually break down, especially if they are very brittle.
The important thing to know is that you can keep making more every gardening season, when the roses are in bloom.
How To Store Dried Rose Petals
Store the dried rose petals in an airtight container. I like to use glass jars, such as mason jars, which are great for displaying the dried petals as well.
Proper storage will help the petals last longer.
Keep the jars stored in a cool, dark and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Sunlight will fade the colors of dried flowers, including roses.
It’s always a good idea to label the jar with the date that the petals were stored, so that you will know how long to keep them.
How To Use Dried Rose Petals
There are many uses for dried rose petals.
The petals are edible so can be used in the kitchen.
Use them to decorate cakes and cookies. They are a beautiful garnish and finishing touch for your baking.
Use them to make a delicious herbal tea with floral undertones. Take a scoop of dried petals, and steep in boiling water for a homemade floral tea.
Dried rose petals can also be used in many different craft projects.
Add the dried petals to other dried flowers to make a beautiful organic potpourri.
The rose petals look beautiful in bath bombs and add an artistic quality to the bath. Once the bomb has melted, the petals will remain floating in the bath water.
Dried rose petals will lose their rose scent during the drying process, however just add a few drops of rose oil to replace the fragrance. You can also add other essential oils as well.
Another fabulous use for dried rose petals is using them as a romantic confetti. Lavish your loved ones with homemade rose petal confetti made with flowers from your garden.
Making dried rose petals is so much fun, and it is certainly a quick and easy project.
Depending on the method used for drying, some methods will take a bit longer for the petals to dry than others.
The fresh flowers smell divine with an intoxicating fragrance during the harvest and preparation, adding to the sweetness of this simple activity.
Keep in mind, once dried, the floral fragrance significantly reduces. The dried petals still have a slight floral scent, however no longer have the strong scent of the rose.
The original color of the petals will also change with the drying process. The amount of fading is dependent on the drying method chosen, as well as exposure to light.
Air drying seems to preserve the color better than the other methods.
Regardless, the muted color of the dried petals is still beautiful and romantic.
The wonderful thing about drying rose petals is that they are so versatile, and can be used in so many ways.
Enjoy the petals throughout the year, long after the roses have gone from the garden.
Have you ever tried to dry rose petals? Be sure to leave a comment below to share your experience!