My Favorite Annual Flowers for Drying

Posted by Sarah Kistner on


It's hard to believe that these bouquets are dried! 

There are so many great flowers to grow for your drying garden!

When planning my dried flower garden, I like to think about what I want to create later. Whether making wreaths or bouquets, I like to have a mixture of colors, shapes, textures and sizes at hand, so I keep that in mind when choosing what flowers to grow. I also want "filler" or background material for my designs, and that's where I love to use grasses and grains.

Let your imagination and style guide you; there are no wrong choices here, so have fun and choose what speaks to you!

Below is a table listing my top flowers for drying and the proper stage to harvest them. Because it's so hard to pick favorites, scroll to the bottom for a bunch more  to try!  

A blooming bed of larkspur, ready to pick for the drying rack! 


Stage of harvest


Pick when flowers look like a belly button! Don’t wait for them to open and show their center- that’s too late! 


Pick when almost fully colored up and just a few florets near the top of the stem are still closed. 


Pick when flowers are completely open and stems are stiff


 Pick when fully open and colored 


Pick when most, but not all, buds are starting to flower on the stem. 

 Winged Everlasting (Ammobium)

Pick selectively, when flowers are half open

 Poppy, breadseed (Papaver somniferum)

 Pick when petals have dropped and pods are fully formed, changing in color from green to slightly grey. If picked green, the pods will shrivel

 Love in a Mist (Nigella)

 Pick when pods are fully formed, a few weeks after flowers have dropped

 Celosia, cockscomb

Pick when fully formed and colored up, but before seeds begin to form. Pinks and reds seem to keep their color the best.

 Apricot Strawflowers

Strawflowers are a must-grow in every dried flower garden. I love the Apricot mix of colors!

Grasses, Grains and Pods:
  • Cress (there are many types, and they all seem to be great for drying)
  • Flax 
  • Wheat, Barley, Rye and Oats
  • Millets
  • Amaranth
  • Bunny Tail grass
  • Feather top grass
  • Sea Oats
  • Okra

The texture of grasses and grains look great in the garden and in a dried bouquet!

More Annuals to try:
  • Marigold
  • Helipterum or Acroclinium (Paper Daisy)
  • Sunflower
  • Feverfew
  • Scabiosa stellata
  • Craspedia (Drumstick flower)
  • Artichoke



The papery, clover-like blooms of Gomphrena, or Globe Amaranth, are great for drying and come in lots of colors!

Millet is a favorite for dried bouquets and wreaths

This fall harvest wreath features mixed cress varieties and red jewel millet.

In this wreath you can see the bright pops of color from dried orange marigold and yellow and orange strawflowers. Also note the sunflowers, with petals removed!

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