Dried plants produce excellent outdoor decorations. One advantage of decorating with dried flowers and leaf is they don’t need to be replaced as frequently as freshly cut flowers and ornamental grasses. You may dry plants in a number of different ways, such as letting them air heat, heat up them and preserving them with glycerin.
Evergreen Branches and Cones
Dried tree branches and pine cones from botanical trees are great for outdoor decorations because of their durability. Branches can be shaped into winter wreaths, and cones can decorate these wreaths or go into ornamental baskets with additional dried plants or fall squashes. To keep cones in great condition outside, horticulturists in the University of Florida recommend spraying them with hairspray or lacquer. It’s also valuable to spray any decorative baskets using shellac or paint to help preserve them outside.
Vines and Leaves
Use dried grapevines or dried hop vines to make fall wreaths or garlands. You may add extra leaves, grasses, fruits or other dried plants to include more color to a vine wreath. If you don’t develop grapevines yourself, craft shops commonly market the dried vines for fall craft projects.
Grasses and Herbs
Dried grasses, especially ornamental sprigs of wheat, make beautiful accents on a fall vine wreath. Dried grasses and herbs, like cattails, fennel and reeds, also look good in basket structures or large flower vases sitting beyond the door. A shellac spray helps preserve dried grasses and herbs for outdoor use. They’re highly flammable when dried, so keep them away from possible outdoor fire hazards, like grills, tiki torches and Christmas lights.
Fruits and Berries
Dried fruits or berries add shade to outdoor ornamental wreaths, garlands, swags or basket arrangements. You may dry fruits whole or in slices. Meanwhile, the University of Vermont recommends drying sliced fruit from the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six hours. American beautyberry and laland Firethorn both have vibrant berries for drying. Avoid using poisonous berries in dried structures near pets and kids, because the berries may fall away as they dry. Red chili peppers tied to a wire and hung by their stems make an appealing exterior decorations, which you may use for cooking after.
Dried flowers can be used to accent wreaths, or made in their own arrangements in vases or baskets. Hydrangea blooms make an attractive outdoor garland, and you may add dried fruit or spray paint to give them additional shade. Many flowers dry well if you just hang them upside down and let them air dry, such as roses, tansies, thistles and baby’s breath. To make them much more durable for outdoor usage, spray them with a transparent wood finish, like lacquer or shellac. Placing cut flowers in a solution of one part glycerin and two parts water will even preserve them and provide them a more supple feel than regular air-dried flowers. Oleander, holly and magnolia plants do especially well when preserved in glycerin.