If replenishing your lovely display of fresh flowers is proving tricky or hard to justify during the lockdown, it might be time to consider trying dried flowers.
Dried flowers are trending in interiors – handmade marketplace Etsy UK has reported a 93 per cent increase in searches for dried flowers in the last six months – meaning there is a bigger online range to choose from than ever before.
There are many reasons to consider investing in a bunch of dried blooms. They are environmentally friendly, thanks to their low carbon footprint, long shelf life and biodegradability, and low maintenance – keep them away from direct sunlight and don’t put them in water – that’s it!
They should last for at least a year with care, which is good news for your bank balance. If they get dusty, clean them using a hairdryer on a low, cool setting.
Dried flowers and grasses have been proving popular with brides who want a wedding bouquet they can keep for longer, but you don’t need a ring on your finger to enjoy them.
They are sold in pre-arranged bunches, as rustic wreaths and as individual stems for minimalists or hobby flower arrangers.
The downside is that dried flowers become brittle when dry, making them delicate to handle. For this reason, sellers must be especially careful when packaging the product to ensure it arrives in the best condition possible.
If you don’t trust your dried flowers to arrive undamaged, look into preserved flowers. These blooms have had their natural sap replaced with a sugary plant-based liquid that keeps them soft, colourful and looking fresh for a year or more. Or, try drying your own by hanging posies upside down on a string in a dry, shady room.
To bring you our curation of the best dried flowers on the market, we tried and tested blooms from a wide selection of brands, noting the originality of style, strength of any colour, overall value for money and, crucially, how well they fared in the post.
You can trust our independent roundups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
We have previously praised the plentiful bouquets of fresh flowers that this floristry studio sells, so we were thrilled to discover a dried arrangement among the range.
Brimming with earthy tones, the dried flower bouquet “embraces the elements of nature” in line with this florist’s overarching – and bang on trend – wild, asymmetric style. It is perfect for interiors lovers who are looking for a neutral bunch of blooms that will bring the outside in and add texture to any room.
Expect a unique combo of pampas grass, calendula, pussy willow, dried thyme and honesty, all arranged and hand-tied to order. Our sample arrived in a box clearly marked as fragile, which we opened to find an undamaged product that had been carefully wrapped in kraft and tissue paper.
Make a statement with this bouquet by popping it into an artisan vase and positioning it in front of a moody navy wall. Choose from three sizes: small, £35; medium, £50; and large, £65, with the medium size shown in the photo.
The founder of this Clerkenwell floral design studio and shop, Jess Runciman, came to floristry after a 12-year career in fashion. She sources most of her dry flowers from New Covent Garden Market and dries and spray paints others herself.
Jess sent us the rainbow dry DIY box, featuring flowers, foliage and grasses alongside a pink envelope containing twine and colourful ribbon. These mixed boxes, which also come in pinks and neutrals, are for people to get creative and make their own dried flower arrangement at home. It’s the ideal lockdown activity that we found fun and relaxing. If you need a bit of guidance, Jess includes an A4 sheet of her expert tips.
Our flowers arrived without having dropped a petal – impressive for fragile dried flowers. There’s no single-use plastic to be seen and we appreciated the little note that Jess popped inside our recyclable box, reassuring us that she works in an isolated studio and cleans her tools and workbenches before and after making each order. If you’d prefer a ready-made dry bouquet, there are plenty of those to choose from too, including the wittily named “baby I would dry for you” and “live fast, dry young” bouquets.
The Great British Florist vintage country dried flower wreath: From £45, The Great British Florist
Wreaths aren’t just for Christmas. They make stunning centrepieces for dinner tables and look beautiful hanging from hooks around your home or on your front door. Best of all, dried wreaths last for ages. The Great British Florist, based on a Herefordshire farm, has some of the most wow-inducing wreaths we have ever seen in a variety of colours and textures.
Our favourite is the vintage country wreath, with its abundance of purples, oranges and yellows. The florist makes it clear that the flowers you receive may differ to those shown but our sample looked the same as the photo and, if anything, more plentiful.
We also tried the more muted cottage garden wreath – it’s pretty but we found it lacked the depth of colours pictured on the website, which may disappoint. Both wreaths arrived in a fit for purpose box with minimal shedding – impressive considering how many blooms they pack into these wreaths.
They’re available in three sizes: standard, £45; large, £60; and extra-large, £75, with the large size shown in the photo. The Great British Florist also sells dried letterbox flowers, posies and garlands for hanging over fireplaces.
shida preserved flowers Loulou: £29, shida preserved flowers
If you’re looking for a gift to send through the post to a friend or family member you’re missing during the lockdown, then this is it. These preserved flowers from London florist shida arrive carefully laid out in a slim box that fits through the letterbox, ready for recipients to arrange themselves. It’s the ideal lockdown pick-me-up that’ll last longer than this surreal situation.
Florist Katherine Whitchurch preserves her blooms for a year or more by replacing their sap with natural glycerine and dyes to maintain the cell structure, meaning they stay soft and colourful for ages. We recommend the loulou for loved ones who favour natural textures and neutral tones. Great value at under £30, it’s packed with eucalyptus, gypsophila, pale pink rice flower, pampas grass and the newly added poppy seed heads. You can also buy individual stems from this florist and sign up for gift subscriptions. We love her range of vases too.
Bae Garden Norfolk bouquet: £35.99, Etsy
Wares from East Sussex florist Bae Garden can be found on Etsy, where the owner sells dried bunches made from natural flowers that are mostly grown in her garden.
We tried the richly coloured Norfolk bouquet, which features dried purple English roses, lavender, South African protea, jute and wild grasses. It will appeal to flower lovers who are looking for deeper tones and looks striking when lying nonchalantly on a bookshelf or mantlepiece.
Ours arrived tied with organza ribbon and wrapped in kraft and tissue paper in a box secured with “fragile” tape. There was a small amount of petal debris in the box, but the product was still in good condition and looked just like the marketing photo. Bae Garden puts flowers together after they have dried, meaning they don’t tangle up and it’s easy for you to take the bunch apart to rearrange or split it up.
Cox & Cox dried pussy willow bunch: £15.50, Cox & Cox
The homeware store has recently added three dried bunches to its range – plumes, grasses and our favourite, pussy willow. The soft feel of the creamy fluffy buds contrast with the dark brown stems – it’s hard to resist stroking them!
These stalks are sure to appeal to fans of Scandi-inspired interiors and they will pair beautifully with other dried flowers and seed heads if you fancy experimenting.
You get around 10 stems per order and a big pro when it comes to delivery is that pussy willow isn’t as fragile as dried petals. For a natural arrangement that’ll last years, we think this new arrival is a steal for the price. Cox & Cox’s dried range is currently out of stock, but we have been assured that it will be replenished in the next week or so.
Dot and the Dandelion Juliet in a can: £35, Dot and the Dandelion
This pretty dried posy from Bristol-based florist Dot and the Dandelion arrived in good condition through the post, with only a few petals dropping off the daintiest of flowers. In the box, you’ll find a generous bunch of setaria, strawflowers and rodanthe that looks like it’s been freshly picked from the hedgerows and an old tin can decorated with a replica vintage label (though not necessarily the one in the photo), which fans of quickly retro interiors will enjoy.
Both parts come separately wrapped in peach tissue paper, with the flowers already arranged and tied with a hessian ribbon for minimum faff. They’d make stylish centrepieces for a rustic summer wedding and will brighten up an empty shelf at home. Best of all, they’re guaranteed to last longer than the lockdown.
article dried posy, pink: £24, article
Based in the Somerset market town of Castle Cary, article, an artisan homewares store, has been selling dried flowers for the past decade. Florist Lucy Simon puts her own bouquets together, as well as drying many of the flowers herself. Her contemporary style is natural, wild and a world away from the Eighties trend for formal, rigidly arranged dried flowers.
Our pick is the pink dried posy, which currently features pink spray roses, raspberry amaranthus, nigella seed heads and phalaris grass, though the varieties may change with the seasons. It comes wrapped in kraft paper, tied with a pink ribbon, and we found only a tiny sprinkling of petal debris in the box.
We also love article’s unusual dried stems, including billy buttons, alium seed heads, pink peppercorns and cotton. It also sells dried flower kits for you to make your own arrangement at home.
The Happy Blossoms the vanilla fudge dried flower bunch: From £26, The Happy Blossoms
Dorset florist The Happy Blossoms recently launched its first “baked blossoms” range in response to the growing demand for dried flowers. These bunches of flowers and grasses are dried, preserved, painted or bleached.
Personally, we prefer our dried blooms to be left untouched, but others will welcome the pick-me-up pop of colour, especially at this worrying time, and they will at least last a long time before landfill calls.
The new spring/summer collection features four bold designs but our favourite is the “vanilla fudge”, a neutral bunch with touches of blue and calming lavender. The florist is donating £1 from every sale of this bouquet to the mental health charity Mind to support anyone who needs help with their mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Happy Blossoms wraps its flowers in kraft paper and ties them with a raffia bow before carefully securing them in a recyclable box. Our sample arrived entirely unharmed and we were impressed with the eco-friendly packaging and included care guide. There are three sizes available: small, £26; medium, £36; and large, £46, with the medium size shown in the photo.
Little Deer dried natural poppy seed head bunch: £12.50, Little Deer
It’s hard not to be instantly struck by the organic beauty of these dried poppy seed heads from Brighton homeware studio Little Deer. You get ten stems per bunch, with beautiful natural diversity in the size, shape and texture of each one. They’re delivered in a sturdy box, wrapped in brown kraft paper and bubble wrap, so don’t worry about them being ruined en route.
Little Deer also stocks a hugely popular range of dried pampas grass, as well as some exotic dried palm leaves. Make a strong minimalist statement by grouping one species together or mix and match for a bigger, more in-your-face bouquet. In fact, if you love muted tones and Copenhagen-inspired interiors, you’ll want to buy everything on this website – don’t say we didn’t warn you…
The Magic Flower Company woodland: From £44.95, The Magic Flower Company
This small Suffolk-based florist “magically” makes its flowers live for a year by preserving them with a non-toxic glycerine solution and enhancing the colour of the petals with organic dyes. This sculptural arrangement of foliage in shades of green and grey stood out to us as a timeless choice that’ll match any decor. Keep the eucalyptus and solidago sprays together for a classy, pared-back vibe (they look dramatic against a pale wall) or mix them with dried or preserved flowers for added texture. Individual stems and custom bouquets are also available if you fancy getting creative.
It ships every bunch on a premium fragile service – ours arrived looking flawless – and you can expect them to last for a good nine months before they start drying out. Preserved flowers will rot in water but if you pop them into an opaque vase, nobody will ever know they aren’t fresh.
Botanical Tales everlasting dried flower wreath: £65, Botanical Tale
Floral artist Bex Partridge is a nature-loving creative and forager who loves the benefits that nature has on our wellbeing. Based in the Surrey town of Farnham, she works with dried flowers throughout their entire lifecycle, from seed to harvest and from drying to creating one of her wreaths, bouquets or pressed flower artworks. Her shop opens seasonally in spring, autumn and towards the end of the year. Her book about dried flowers, Everlastings, comes out in May.
Our wreath arrived unharmed with barely any petal debris in the box. It featured pretty pink and yellow flowers woven among wheat, tied around dark brown twigs with yellow yarn in a stunning summery display. You can specify your colour preferences in the comment box when you order and Bex will do her best to match your wishes based on what she has in her workshop. These wreaths are approximately 30cm in diameter. They are expensive but will last for years if kept dry and out of direct sunlight, making them worthwhile luxury buys.
The verdict: Dried flowers
For a classic bunch of natural dried flowers and grasses that will see you through any interiors colour changes, it’s The Country Garden Florist’s dried bouquet that we’d plump for ourselves or buy as a gift. The Great British Florist’s dazzling wreaths are guaranteed to draw compliments if you have more money to splash.