A woman holding a bouquet of dried flowers to herself.
Who knew flowers could be more useful dead than alive? (Illustration by June Le, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

There’s a Whole Bouquet of Uses for Your Dried Flowers

How will your petaled beauties live their second life? Here are the many ways to prolong their value to you and your home.

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A woman holding a bouquet of dried flowers to herself.

How will your petaled beauties live their second life? Here are the many ways to prolong their value to you and your home.

Immortality. Does it scare you or intrigue you? How about reviving the dead? It may seem fantastical to us as humans. In the context of plants, the idea seems more feasible but still out of reach. But you can bring your dead, dried flowers back to life … sort of.

The drooping bouquet on the dinner table can prompt smiles once again. The single flower you were gifted by that heart-fluttering crush can wilt while you sleep without guilt or disappointment. The waning garden at season’s end can be accepted and not despised. These flowers can live again in a multitude of ways. Just dry to revive.

Dried flowers are often viewed in a negative light despite their nearly identical benefits to those of fresh flowers. Why are live flowers gorgeous but dried flowers ugly? Don’t shortchange beloved décor just because water no longer courses through its veins. Dried flowers make for a different but no less striking aesthetic. You can furnish your house with dried flowers just the same as with fresh ones.

If the current arrangement of your flowers doesn’t quite fit your style after they dry out, test out new designs with your flowers. Try pressing that bouquet and putting the flat florals in a picture frame. Take that special flower from your significant other and put it in your phone case or scrapbook. Those flowers from your garden can be used to make a “flower wall.” Countless craft ideas use dried flowers and can cater to your aesthetic needs.

Don’t stop at dressing up your walls. Dried flowers are a fun element to add into your wardrobe. Dried flowers aren’t just reserved for the corsage at formal dances (although making your own corsage or boutonniere is a great option for your flowers). A natural dried flower brooch on a vintage sweater is a great way to add in decade pieces to your outfits. Flower crowns don’t have to stop in the summer season when fresh flowers are available. Rock your dried-flower crown well into fall and even winter. Subtler accessories can also add a flare to your current OOTDs.

Jewelry is a pivotal tool in styling. What better way to find that perfect necklace than to make it yourself? Necklace pendants with dried flowers add exquisite details and sentiment to any outfit. A handcrafted bracelet, ring, earring or you-name-it can also be personalized with dried flowers and a bit of creativity. If you find you have a knack for it, there is a market for floral jewelry too.

If stylization isn’t your cup of tea, try actual tea. You’ve probably heard of chamomile tea or hibiscus tea. Those aren’t the only flower teas people can consume. Expand your palate and try rose or jasmine tea. You can veer even less mainstream and make your own tea out of various other edible flowers. Many flowers are safe for consumption and provide nutritional benefits. (Just make sure they are in fact safe for consumption).

You don’t have to stop at teas; dried flowers can also take your cooking skills to the next level. If you’re unsure about cooking with dried flower petals, spice up your Monday night meal with a flower garnish. If you’re ready to experiment with flower dishes, just go for it. It’s not as outlandish as it may seem. Cultures around the world have been capitalizing on floral flavoring in dishes for centuries. Give the vanilla extract in your cabinet a break and opt for a flower-powered dish. Bon Appétit has a wide range of rose water-based recipes to try, or a simple Google search can leave you with your new favorite food.

After enjoying your favorite floral tea and flower-infused meal, move on to your new and improved beauty routine with flower additives. Rose water has long been a staple in the beauty community. Instead of purchasing the coveted item of an expensive brand, make your own rose water. Use it as a toner, makeup remover, face mist or just a general additive to your current products. Adding in rose water, or water from the flower of your choice, will take your beauty routine to the next level.

If designing, wearing, eating and drinking doesn’t fulfill your floral desires, you can also breathe it in. Flowers offer more than just pleasing visuals; their fragrant aromatics are simply breathtaking. Dried flowers hold that same wonderful scent, even if slightly fainter. Placing your dried flowers in a vase or adding them to your products will mix the scent into your home and skin.

However, you can concentrate and spread the smell in items all on their own. Potpourri or sachets are an easy way to infuse that floral scent into your space. Swapping out your chemical air freshener with a homemade spray made from your chosen blend of dried flowers is a healthier alternative to curating your perfect home aroma. Natural perfume DIYs are yet another way to remove unnecessary additives from your life and use your flowers. If you’re fine sacrificing your precious petals, you can make your own sage and give your house a cleansing in a final goodbye to your dried florals.

There are so many ways to give your flowers a full life (or multiple lives) before turning a blind eye to them. Even if that doesn’t mean repurposing them in any of the above ways, maybe place them in a compost rather than chuck them in the trash can. Your dead flowers will create a nutrient-dense compost to help produce more fresh flowers if that’s what you prefer. Just don’t give up on your dead flowers. Get creative and give your flowers a second life.

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