There are a few different ways in which you can dry hibiscus flowers. If you want to use them for crafts, the easiest way to dry them is with silica gel. However, if you want the hibiscus flowers to still be edible, you should dry them on a rack or in a food dehydrator.
Hibiscus flowers are just as beautiful when they are dry as they are when they’re in bloom. When these flowers are dried, they have many uses. On this page, we’re going to discuss how you can dry hibiscus flowers on your own. It’s a lot easier than you may think. Keep reading to learn how.
The Best Ways to Dry Hibiscus Flowers
The most common methods for drying hibiscus flowers are with silica gel or a food dehydrator. Additionally, if you are patient enough, you can also place them on drying racks in the sun. Many people prefer to use the food dehydrator because it is faster, less messy, easy to use, and can dry a large batch at once.
Silica gel is a great option to use if you don’t have a food dehydrator. However, the main issue with using silica gel to dry out the hibiscus flowers is that you will only be able to use them to decorate. The silica gel is toxic, so these flowers will not be suitable for making tea with.
- Best for Culinary Uses = Food Dehydrator or Air Dryer
- Best for Bulk Drying for Crafts = Silica Gel
- Best Low Tech Method = Hang Drying
- Best for Pressed Flowers + Absolute Fastest Method = Drying in the Microwave
How to Harvest Hibiscus Flowers for Drying
When it comes to picking the hibiscus flowers, there are a few things you should look out for. Generally speaking, the best time to pick a hibiscus flower is in the morning when it has just finished blooming and after the dew dries.
If you pick them too late in the day, it can affect their flavor, antioxidants, how well they dry, and will also lower their quality. You should also make sure to only pick fully bloomed flowers and not any that are still closed.
When you are ready to pick your hibiscus flowers, there are a few steps you need to take before you begin. First of all, you need to be very careful not to bruise or damage the flower in any way.
While you don’t need to be super delicate with them, be aware of sharp objects around you that could potentially cut or tear into your flower. This is more important if you want to use them for crafting than if you’re just going to be using them for tea, of course.
Next, always remember that wet leaves and stems can damage your hibiscus flowers and will make them rot much faster than usual. This is why it is so important that the flowers are dry (meaning they’re not wet from rain or dew) before beginning the drying process!
Once you’re ready to harvest the flowers, decide how you want to cut them.
If you’re intending to use them for tea, cut them as close to the base of the flower as you can to get as little stem as possible. If you want to use them for crafting, you may want to cut more stem and strip the leaves as necessary to get the final look you want the flower to have.
If you need more stem, it may mean sacrificing other flower buds. Here as i view of the back of a hibiscus flower so you can see what I mean:
Store them somewhere that has good air circulation and where they won’t get damaged until they’re ready to be dehydrated.
How to Dry Hibiscus Flowers in a Food Dehydrator
If you are interested in drying flowers and herbs to make your own homemade tea blends, investing in a food dehydrator is worth it. This is the easiest method for drying larger batches of hibiscus and it has many other uses as well.
One tip we have for drying hibiscus flowers in the food dehydrator is to pick the flowers after the morning dew has dried. It’s also advised to cut the stems close to the flowers. Once you have your flowers ready, here is what you need to do:
- Place the hibiscus flowers in the food dehydrator. Arrange them flat on the tray so that they aren’t touching each other. Depending on how many trays your food dehydrator has, you will likely be able to dry about 4-6 large hibiscus flowers per tray. If you have smaller flowers, you will likely be able to fit more onto each tray.
- If it has a temperature controller, set the temperature of your food dehydrator to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).
- Set the timer based on the size of flowers and how many you have put in the food dehydrator. This can be anywhere from 4 to 12 hours.
- Check on your flowers every few hours or so after they have been in there for about 6 hours or so. Depending on how much moisture is left in your flower and how humid it is outside, they may or may not require the full 12 hours to dry out fully.
- Be careful when removing the dried hibiscus because the flowers will be very brittle.
A good alternative to a food dehydrator (if you don’t have one) is to throw them in your air fryer or oven on its lowest temperature setting and cook them. It should take between 15 minutes and 2 hours depending on the method used to dry them.
How To Dry Hibiscus Flowers in Silica Gel
The silica gel method for drying flowers is a good choice for crafts only, and if you have a small amount of flowers to dry. Since silica is toxic, you should always wear gloves and a mask while working with it.
This method is very easy.
- Set up silica gel in a container. Silica gel is a desiccant that absorbs moisture from objects placed near it and is made of small granules, often found in pouches inside of shoe boxes or vitamin bottles. Spread out an inch of the gel in the bottom of a container with sides that are at least four inches tall and place the flower petals on top of the gel. Add more silica in until the flowers are completely covered.
- Put the lid on the container. The petals need to be kept away from moisture in order to dry out properly, so make sure to keep them covered until you are ready to use them.
- Let them sit for one week. Your hibiscus flowers may or may not be completely dry by this point, but they should at least start to feel a bit firmer than when they were fresh. If they need to be completely dried out before using, repeat steps 1-3 again until they are completely dry. This should take no more than 2-3 weeks total but will depend on your particular climate and how much moisture is in the air.
- Take them out of the silica gel and use them! You can now use your hibiscus flowers as decoration.
Drying hibiscus flowers in silica gel takes a lot longer. You will need to let them rest for one week in order to fully dry out. This method is popular because it helps the flower retain its vibrant colors. When you remove the dried flowers, you may need to use a paintbrush to gently scrape away any bits of gel that are stuck on the flower.
How to Dry Hibiscus Flowers in the Microwave
This is similar to the previous method, but you can fully dry your flowers in under 5 minutes using the microwave.
There are two methods to do this. First is using silica gel.
- To do this, place your flowers in a microwave safe dish and cover them using the silica gel.
- Microwave them for one minute increments until they become fully dry. This should take no more than 3 minutes in most cases.
If you don’t have silica gel, you can press dry them in the microwave.
- To do this, put them between several layers of paper towels in the orientation you want to press them.
- You may want to close them in a large book and stand on it to help flatten them out for this method.
- Then place them in the microwave under a heavy microwave safe bowl or glass pan.
- Microwave them in 30 second increments until they are fully dry.
Again, this should only take a few minutes tops.
How to Dry Hibiscus Flowers on Drying Racks
It is possible to air dry hibiscus flowers on a drying rack, but it’s not the most practical method. I’m not going to go too in depth on this one, because I have a better low tech method coming up next.
To do this, you will need to secure the flowers to a drying rack (like you would use for setting breads or muffins on after baking) so they don’t blow away when a breeze comes through. The hibiscus will take roughly one week to air dry in the sun.
You will need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure the flowers don’t come in contact with rain or moisture. Always bring them indoors once the sunset, and place them outdoors once the morning dew has dried. If your drying process is interrupted by rain, always store the hibiscus indoors in a dry area.
If you’re looking for a low tech method that removes a lot of the worry out of the process, you may want to hang dry your flowers.
How to Air Dry Your Hibiscus Flowers
The best thing about air drying is that you can probably dry more flowers at once using this method than you can using any other method.
If you want to air dry your flowers, you’ll want to make sure you’ve cut them with quite a bit of stem left on them.
You’ll need to get some twine or string for this one. Natural fibers are best for this method.
- Take your hibiscus flowers and tie a string around the bottom of each of your hibiscus stems. (Alternatively, if you don’t care if the flowers bunch up a bit, you can tie several stems together.
- Knot the strings together in a way that makes a loop on one end so that you have something to hang them up by.
- Hang the flowers up in a dark area with low humidity, like a closet. Alternatively, if you have a car, you can hang them up in your car to dry. (The handles above the car doors make perfect places to hang them, especially the one that has the hook on it.)
When using this method, it can take 1-3 weeks to dry. The more hot and less humid it is, the faster they’ll dry.
If you wanted to really increase the number of flowers you could dry at once using this method, you could set up a shower bar either in your closet, in the trunk of your car, or between the rear seats (with the handles above the door folded down under it) and hang bunches of flowers across the bar.
There are a lot of different methods to dry hibiscus flowers. If you don’t want to have to buy anything to dry your flowers, using the hang drying method is the best option.
This method has been used for thousands of years – back as far as ancient Egypt – and it’s still just as effective today.
If you need your flowers to be dried as fast as possible, it may be a better idea to use the microwave or a food dehydrator, depending on whether you want to use them for crafts or food.
You can also just throw them in a pan in the oven to dry them.
Try out a few of these methods and figure out which one works best for you. Have fun!