A few years ago I started to make my own fresh Christmas arrangements using items from my garden (check out my tutorials for Christmas wreaths, porch pots & garlands). It’s definitely a labor of love, but it is completely worth it once you see the finished project. Plus, you can’t beat that making your own arrangements is essentially free once you already have the base materials. All you really need from your garden is evergreen cuttings, but your garden is also full of plants that can help spruce up said evergreens in your holiday arrangements. One of my favorite additions is dried celosia flowers. I plant them every year in the spring, so they’re ripe for the picking in the fall once this time of year rolls right on in. All you need to do is dry them & they’ll be ready to pop into your wreaths, porch pots & garlands. Read on to find out how to dry celosia flowers.
- Celosia flowers
- Pruners or scissors
- Find celosia flowers that haven’t started to die off. Clip them at the base of the plant.
- Gather small bunches of flowers & tie the stems together tightly with twine. Make sure to make a few knots to make sure the bundle is secure.
- Tie the ends of the twine together to create a loop.
- Hang the celosia bundles upside down by the loop in a dry area with good ventilation.
- Leave to dry for a few weeks. Check up on them periodically & re-tie the bundles if necessary.
- Celosia flowers that have already started to die will not dry pretty, instead, they will end up turning brown instead of the vivid colors the fresh flowers sport. This happened to me last year, so my Christmas arrangements had to go without celosias.
- Try to leave the longest stems possible when cutting. It’s easier to use the flowers in arrangements when they have long stems.
- Tie the bundles very tightly since the stems will shrink during the drying process.
I grew my celosias this year from seeds that I harvested from my 2019 celosia flowers. Like I said above, I harvested the flowers in order to dry them for arrangements, but I ended up getting to them too late & they dried brown instead of red. I left them hanging in my garage & stumbled upon them in the spring when I was in the midst of my growing from seed frenzy. I looked up how to harvest celosia seeds & ended up with a bunch of the tiniest seeds you ever did see. I saved the seeds & planted them a couple of months later, all the while not being sure if they would actually sprout. To my surprise, they sprouted & grew strong!
So, I repeated the harvesting process again this fall & made sure to harvest the vividly colored celosia flowers that had yet to die out. Also, I clipped the ones that were already starting to fade & hung those to dry as well in order to harvest their seeds later since I know those will go brown eventually. My grown from seed celosia flowers make me so proud! I can’t wait to use them in my Christmas arrangements. Making your own wreaths/porch pots/garlands is a treat, but making them using plants that you grew from seed is a whole different level. In addition, I can’t wait to see how many seeds I’ll be able to harvest. Hopefully, I’ll never have to buy celosias ever again & I can just continue to grow them from seeds that I harvest!
I also harvested allium seed heads & berry branches from my garden so I can use them in said holiday arrangements. I saw them for sale last year at my local garden center for about $5 per branch & I was kicking myself for not harvesting them from my garden sooner. At that point, my alliums had pretty much fallen apart & all the birds had already feasted on my berries. I made it a point this year to get to them early & let them dry in the garage. My plan is to spray paint half of the alliums red & the other half gold. They are destined to have prime spots in my porch pots. Whereas, the berry branches currently await their Christmas wreath fate. It’s always nice to have little pops of red berries in a sea of evergreens whenever you make a wreath.
Hopefully, this tutorial inspired you to take a walk around your garden to see what you could use in your own Christmas arrangements. Make sure to harvest them now, while you still can, & use them in the upcoming weeks. There’s just something so special about creating your own decorations using plants that you have grown yourself. Especially since most of those plants wouldn’t have a use in the winter otherwise. The process is a lot easier than you would think too. Go out & harvest! Happy gardening, everyone!