Decorative plants

How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips?

Ulla Rothschuh Osorio
By Ulla Rothschuh Osorio, Biologist. February 26, 2024
How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips?

Renowned for their vibrant colors and diverse shapes and sizes, tulips are beloved ornamental plants. Gracing gardens and adorning homes as cut flowers, these stunning blooms offer a fleeting beauty. Fortunately, drying allows us to capture their essence and enjoy them beyond their natural lifespan.

In this article from thedailyECO, we explore six methods for drying and preserving tulips.

You may also be interested in: How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements


  1. Dry tulips hanging upside down
  2. Dry tulips with silica beads
  3. Dry tulips with an iron
  4. Dry tulips inside books
  5. Dry tulips in the microwave
  6. Dry tulips in an oven
  7. How to preserve dried tulips

Dry tulips hanging upside down

This technique stands out as the ultimate choice for drying tulips. It effectively maintains their distinctive cup shape and lush blooms.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Sharp scissors or pruners
  • Kraft paper
  • String or ribbon (optional)

And here are the steps:

  1. Choose healthy, fully opened tulips.

  2. Carefully remove the leaves from the stem.

  3. Using sharp pruners, cut the stem diagonally at a 45-degree angle, leaving it about 2-3 centimeters long. This allows for easy hanging and maintains stability.

  4. Gently wrap each tulip head with Kraft paper, resembling a bouquet. You can fit multiple flowers within the paper, but avoid overcrowding to prevent mold growth.

  5. Tie a loop with the remaining stem or use a piece of string or ribbon to create a hanging point.

  6. Find a cool, dark location away from direct sunlight. While light exposure can speed up drying, it may also lead to significant color fading. A dimly lit closet or room is ideal.

  7. Hang the tulips upside down and let them dry for several weeks. Be patient, as the process takes time.

By following these steps, you can ensure your tulips retain their iconic cup shape, enhancing the elegance of your home decor. However, it's important to note that while this drying method preserves the shape, some natural color fading may still occur. Also, improper drying conditions can lead to mold growth.

Ever wondered what the symbolism behind red tulips is? Discover its true meaning in this other article.

How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips? - Dry tulips hanging upside down

Dry tulips with silica beads

Silica beads are a popular and effective way to dry tulips while preserving their shape and color. This method requires minimal supplies and is relatively simple, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced crafters. They have the ability to absorb moisture from the environment, making them suitable for drying tulips.

You'll need:

  • Tulips
  • Silica gel beads
  • Lidded container large enough to hold the tulips
  • Soft brush for removing beads

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a lidded container large enough to comfortably hold your tulip.

  2. Place the tulip inside and completely encase it with silica gel beads, ensuring even coverage above and below the flower.

  3. Allow the tulips to dry for 3 days, checking on them periodically. If they still feel moist, extend the drying time by increments of 3 days.

  4. To prevent the beads from absorbing moisture from the air, only open the container to check on the drying progress and remove the flowers once fully dried.

  5. Brush off any remaining beads with a soft brush.

If the silica beads turn pink, they need to be recharged. You can reactivate them by spreading them out on a baking sheet and placing them in a preheated oven at the lowest temperature setting for 2-3 hours. Allow them to cool completely before using them again.

Dry tulips with an iron

Looking to quickly preserve your tulips? This method employs an iron to expedite the drying process.

You'll need:

  • Tulips
  • Parchment paper
  • Iron

To do it, simply follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the tulip is fully intact, including the leaves, which offer additional protection during drying.

  2. Place the tulip between two sheets of parchment paper to prevent burning. Iron on low heat setting for 10-second intervals, lifting the paper to check the drying progress after each interval.

  3. Start with low heat and short intervals. You can always increase them gradually if needed.

  4. Once the tulip feels rigid and completely dry, cease ironing.

While pressing flowers between sheets of paper to dry them is a common method, it's important to note that using an iron for this purpose can vary in effectiveness and may not always yield the desired results. Keep in mind that success with this method can depend on factors such as the type of paper used, the heat settings of the iron, and the moisture content of the flower. It's recommended to experiment cautiously and be prepared for some trial and error.

How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips? - Dry tulips with an iron

Dry tulips inside books

This method mimics the botanical presses used by scientists, using the weight of a book and blotting paper to preserve your tulips. However, keep in mind that the flowers will be flattened in the process.

What you'll need:

  • Heavy book
  • Scissors
  • Blotting paper

Choose a book you don't mind getting stained, such as old phone directories. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Using scissors, cut away the stem, leaving only the flower head.

  2. Open the book and place two sheets of blotting paper on a facing page.

  3. Gently lay the tulip flower in the center of the blotting paper.

  4. Firmly close the book, pressing the flower flat.

  5. Check every three days. If the blotting paper feels damp, replace both sheets to prevent mold growth.

  6. Allow several weeks for the flower to completely dry.

For a more aesthetically pleasing outcome, try drying individual petals separately using the same method.

Dry tulips in the microwave

This method is the quickest as it involves using an external heat source. However, it is a more aggressive approach. The uneven heat distribution can cause the flowers to burn, scorch, or lose their color entirely. Additionally, the high heat can melt or deform the delicate petals.

You'll need:

  • Tulips
  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Paper napkin or paper towel

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Place the tulip on a plate with a paper napkin underneath to absorb excess moisture.

  2. Put the plate in the microwave.

  3. Set intervals of 30 seconds and monitor the dehydration process of the flower closely. This step is crucial to prevent the flower from burning. After approximately two minutes, the tulip should be completely dry.

For safer and more reliable drying methods, we recommend exploring alternative methods like air-drying or using silica gel. These methods offer better control and prevent potential damage to your flowers.

How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips? - Dry tulips in the microwave

Dry tulips in an oven

This method is similar to the previous one, involving the use of heat to dry tulips.

You'll need:

  • Tulips
  • Tray or baking sheet
  • Blotting paper or paper towels
  • Container of water

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Position the tulip on a tray, ensuring there is blotting paper underneath to absorb excess moisture. Place a container of water nearby to maintain humidity and preserve the colors.

  2. Set the oven temperature to 38°C.

  3. Monitor the drying process every 5 minutes. Once the flowers appear stiff, they are ready to be taken out.

It's important to note that precise temperature control is essential for safe drying. Standard ovens may lack the fine-tuned heating settings required to prevent damage to the flowers. Additionally, be cautious as the heat from the oven can easily scorch, burn, or flatten the delicate petals if not handled with care.

How to preserve dried tulips

Once your tulips are dried, follow these tips to help them last even longer:

  1. Minimize light exposure: sunlight fades pigments, so keep your tulips away from direct light sources to preserve their vibrant colors. Choose a cool, dimly lit location for display.

  2. Store in an airtight container: this keeps out insects looking for a snack. Choose a decorative box or shadowbox to showcase your beautiful creations while keeping them safe from critters.

  3. Apply hairspray: this method works best for flowers with some dimension, like individually pressed petals.
    Apply two light coats of hairspray, letting each dry completely before adding the next. This adds a protective layer and helps the petals hold their shape, making them suitable for arrangements or decorative applications.

  4. Handle with care: dried flowers are fragile. Be gentle when dusting or moving them to prevent damage.

  5. Dust regularly: use a soft brush or compressed air to remove dust buildup, which can dull the colors.

By following these simple aftercare tips, you can enjoy your preserved tulips for years to come. Be sure to read this other article where we explore how to care for tulips in pots.

If you want to read similar articles to How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips?, we recommend you visit our Decorative plants category.

  • Hillier, M., Hilton, C. (1986). The Book of Dried Flowers: A Complete Guide to Growing, Drying and Arranging. United States: Simon and Schuster.
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How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips?