Mantel Styling Tips

We challenged bloggers to style a mantel in 30 seconds. See what they did and get their smart tips for decorating a mantel.

View Video

Our Innovation Home

Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.

See More

Dream Decorating Decade

From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.

See More

Fab Fall Finds

Get your home ready for fall with these cozy decorative accents!

See More

No-Sew Pillows

No need for a needle and thread with these easy no-sew pillow projects. Use transfer paper, buttons, and beyond to create easy statement pillows without the hassle of sewing.

See More

Room Arranging Made Easy

From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.

See More
Popular in Decorating

Flowers for Drying

Summer never fades when you air-dry garden blooms to preserve them for year-round display.

The best flowers for drying are everlastings, a special group of annuals that can be air-dried without losing their color or form.

Dried flowers are the basic materials for dried wreaths, bouquets, and potpourris. For variety in color, texture, and fragrance, grow a mix of flowers and foliage plants. Following are photographs and descriptions of eight garden flowers that dry beautifully.

Lavender Lady Gomphrena

Despite heat and drought, the cloverlike flowers of gomphrena (globe amaranth) bloom nonstop on stiff, 2-foot-tall stems.

Strawberry Fields Gomphrena

The first true red gomphrena, this hybrid retains its color indefinitely in a bouquet. Also available are yellow, pink, and white varieties; the dwarf purple strain, Buddy; and a deep pink and white bicolor bloom.


Statice comes in a rainbow of hues, including yellow, blue, lavender, red, salmon, white, and rose. Cut blooms when fully open. Flowers dry best hung upside down.

German Statice

Unlike the everblooming annual, perennial statice (Limonium tatarica) blooms only in early summer. But the broad, white flower heads are worth the effort.

Victoria Blue Salvia

Tiny spiked blooms smother 18-inch-tall Salvia farinacea all summer long. Pair it with the variety White Porcelain.

Globe Thistle

A prickly bedfellow for other perennials, globe thistle (Echinops Ritro) is actually more colorful prior to blooming. For drying, cut flowers before the spiny, blue bracts open to reveal a brown hue inside.

Cockscomb Celosia

Cockscomb (or crested) celosias come in many bright colors. Because of high moisture content, dry blooms in a hot, ventilated area to prevent mold growth.

Flamingo Feather Celosia

Plumed celosias come in yellow, cream, orange, red, and pink. These annual blooms last all season; pick just before frost.

Other Everlastings

Amaranthus -- Tassels of red or maroon blooms dangle from amaranthus, giving this 3- to 5-foot-tall annual its nickname, love-lies-bleeding. Pick blooms just before frost. Quick to dry, they hold their color well.

Artemisia annua -- Foliage, not flowers, makes this 5-foot-tall annual (Sweet Annie) popular for drying. Use supple side branches as a silvery foil in wreaths. Crush brittle main stems and use as a fragrant potpourri.

Safflower -- Here's a cute curiosity that sports a tuft of orange "hair" on top. Pick stems of annual safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) as soon as the flower hair fluffs out. After drying, blooms will redden and shrink.

Bells of Ireland -- Named for the green, bell-shape calyxes on its 2- to 3-foot tall stems, this annual adds a tone of its own to bouquets. A lemony-mint aroma remains after drying. Dried bells crumble easily.

Munstead Lavender -- The most fragrant of all lavenders, this dwarf English variety grows 12 to 18 inches tall. A variably hardy perennial, this plant bears deep-purple blooms all summer long.

How to Air-Dry Flowers

Air-drying is the simplest way to preserve everlastings and other garden flowers. This method also works well for many field flowers, such as goldenrod, yarrow, daisy fleabane, and Queen-Anne's-lace.

Pick blooms at their peak when they're fully open at midday, after morning dew has dried. Strip the leaves and gather stems into bunches, securing them with elastic bands. Hang the bunches upside down in a dark, dry, ventilated area, such as an attic or shed, for two to three weeks. Many everlastings have papery blooms even when they're growing. These flowers readily air-dry hung from racks or rafters.

How to Arrange a Bouquet

Any basket, crock, or vase can be used to display dried flowers. For large bouquets, place florist's foam in the bottom of the container to hold stems in place. Insert dried foliage first. This filler material should be about 1-1/2 times the height of the container. Next add taller flowers, then medium and small blooms.

Prolong the beauty of dried flowers by displaying them in a dry room, away from direct sunlight that bleaches the natural dyes of flowers.


Loading... Please wait...