Want to grow some everlasting flowers of your own? These varieties are easy to grow and dry: celosia, globe amaranth, yarrow, strawflower, salvia and German statice. Although you can grow these flowers from seed, you may want to begin with young plants for faster starts.
Plant everlastings in well-drained soil. To encourage air circulation, place annuals such as salvia 12 inches apart and perennials such as yarrow 18 inches apart. All need full sun. Check plant labels for watering and fertilizing directions.
Growing and Harvesting Tips:
Celosia -- Some varieties have a dominant center head, which you should cut out by the end of July to en-courage branching and the growth of smaller flowers.
Globe amaranth -- Pick flowers before the heads start to elongate and before fall, when their color deteriorates.
Yarrow -- Flower heads need to be firm and tight so they'll dry well. The heads deteriorate quickly, so check their progress often.
Strawflower -- Pick blossoms once a week, as soon as the bottom row of petals opens. Place at the back of your garden, since the plant isn't pretty.
Salvia -- Pick the heads every 10 days just as they start to open, snapping them off with your fingers at a node where leaves meet the stem.
German statice -- Pick when the buds are almost open, usually in early July. If you see browning in the crotches of the branches, be sure to remove all of the growth above it.
Bind the flower stems together with rubber bands, then hang the flowers upside down in a dry place with little light and good air circulation. Avoid garages, bathrooms and basements, which tend to be too damp, and stay away from windows. Sunlight may fade the color. Closets or dry attics work fine. You can speed the drying process by directing a fan at the flowers. Display dried-flower arrangements away from direct sunlight, too.
To Make Arrangements:
1. For most arrangements, fill a container with Sahara foam, sold at crafts and floral supply stores. Let the foam extend 1 to 1-1/2 inches above the top of the container. Secure the foam with green or clear floral tape on the inside of the container. Cover with Spanish moss.
2. Place dried materials such as leaves or ferns at the base to create a framework and cover the foam. Add either the tallest flowers or the flowers with the most mass, establishing the overall shape of the arrangement. For balance, keep heavier and more massive flowers lower and deeper.
3. Finish by filling in with lighter, more delicate blooms to add texture and interest.
4. To use dried strawflowers, pop the heads from the stems. Make a tiny hook at the end of a very fine floral wire and insert the wire down through each blossom, creating a wire stem. Or you can glue the flowers in place.
5. For wreaths, establish the shape with a base of greens or grasses such as ivy leaves, wheat or Sweet Annie. Using a hot-glue gun (high temperature), glue dominant flowers in place. Fill with secondary flowers (usually a smaller variety) and finish with filler flowers.