I’ve been drying rose petals all wrong! I had a friend turn me on to this method over the weekend, and I went crazy over it. If you want to know how to dry rose petals in less than 2 minutes, stick around!
Last summer, I wrote a blog post about the best ways to dry all your summer flowers. If you want to know how to preserve roses whole, check out that post. I found all kinds of great ways to dry whole flowers, but all the methods I tested didn’t do great with single flower petals. WAY too messy!
This petal drying method is not at all messy or complicated, and that’s a win-win!
The quick cheat method for drying rose petals
So the trick to drying rose petals is the microwave. Once you learn how to preserve flower petals this way you might find yourself hanging out by the microwave more often.
I tried the microwave method when I was testing the best practices for drying whole flowers. The silica gel method in the microwave was by far the best way to dry full flowers, but it wasn’t great for single rose petals. It turns out there is an easy trick for drying rose petals, and it doesn’t require silica gel, a flower press, or patience. (bonus on the patience)
It does take a bit of time to separate your rose petals, and if you need a lot of petals, it will take several batches to get it done, but honestly, it’s so easy to do that none of that matters. It all goes so quickly that you could have a massive pile of dried rose petals in a short amount of time.
The paper towel and microwave method is too easy. It makes perfectly dried rose petals in 2 minutes flat. They are dry and stiff, but not crumbly. You can crumble them, but they don’t just shatter when you touch them. This method makes the dried rose petals that are perfect for projects like potpourri or rose water.
What are the best types of roses to use for drying petals?
The type of roses doesn’t matter. You can use flowers you purchased or fresh roses from your summer garden. The one thing that you do need to have is fresh flowers.
If your flowers are wilted or starting to brown, they will dry, but they will not be vibrant or pretty.
Best to start with fresh flowers.
Some tutorials will tell you to use flowers that have just begun to open, but that is not necessary at all. I used flower buds, and simply twisted off the base and picked the petals away.
So use your favorite roses, any color, any kind!
Related: See our post on how to keep your cut roses fresh for as long as possible. Or, if you want to dry your bouquet, see ways to keep your dried flowers looking their best.
Tools and materials required
- Paper towels
It doesn’t get any easier than this!
STEP 1 – Prepare the Rose Petals
Gently pluck the rose petals away from the flower head and place them on a piece of paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Be careful that you have no overlapping petals and that the petals are arranged in a single layer.
Keep only the petals that are fresh-looking, with no wilted ends, or dry brown bits.
Make sure when placing your rose petals onto the paper towel that the petals do not at all overlap. If they do overlap, they may stick to one another.
STEP 2: Place the Plate of Rose Petals In the Microwave Oven For Two Minutes
Place the plate into a microwave and set the timer for 2 minutes.
Microwaves vary significantly in wattage, so I am going to tell you to watch that first batch closely to make sure 2 minutes is not too much time. Since I have no way of knowing the power of your microwave, 2 minutes may be too little or too much, so gauge that first batch by watching it closely.
After two minutes, check to see if the rose petals are dry. If you started with really fresh or dew-covered roses, you might need to add 30 seconds. I found for my rose petals were perfectly dry at the two-minute mark.
You may find the outermost petals dry before the petals in the middle of the plate. Check them at the two-minute mark and remove any crisp petals and continue to dry the rest.
Be careful with the plate; it will be hot.
STEP 3: Allow the Rose Petals To Cool
Set up a small drying area for your petals. As you remove them from the microwave, you can place them on the second piece of paper towel to cool down.
After a few minutes, they are ready to use in all your craft projects. No need to wait 24 hours, seven days, or 30 days pressed in a book. You can start using your dried rose petals immediately for any of your craft projects.
Two things to note, the scent will not hold. You may end up with a bit of a residual smell, but most of the rose scent will vanish after drying.
Your flower petals might also change color. My bright pink roses turned a beautiful lilac when dried. My deep red roses remained red but dried to a gorgeous shade of red.
CAN YOU DRY OTHER TYPES OF FLOWER PETALS?
Peony, sunflower, cosmos, lavatera, daisies; honestly, I would try anything I thought might work.
Whole flowers do not dry thoroughly in the microwave without the assistance of some silica gel, but the petals by themselves do dry quite thoroughly, so my advice is to try them. This method of how to preserve flower petals is so easy that even if it doesn’t work, it’s no big deal.
I don’t know if anyone has checked the price of dried flowers lately or even DIY potpourri!
Dry your own, save some cash and get creative.
Why We Don’t Recommend Air Drying Rose Petals
Rose petals do well when pressed in a book, they come out looking like very thin potato chips but the process takes up to 30 days.
Air-drying or sun-drying rose petals also takes 2-3 weeks, but the petals will brown substantially if allowed to dry this way. The drying process is unpredictable with rose petals and you can end up with moldy petals if your inside humidity is too high.
Direct sunlight will also deteriorate the color more than rapid drying in the microwave. The dried petals will look quite faded.
A few craft ideas for your dried rose petals
So that’s how to dry rose petals quickly and easily. It works SO well. I highly recommend you make a bunch, just for fun.
BUT… consider all the things you could make with your dried rose petals.
If you use organic roses or roses from your garden that you know have not been sprayed with chemicals, you can dry them for homemade teas.
Dried rose petals make excellent potpourri. It is important to note that the scent does not stay, you will need to enhance your potpourri with some essential oils, or artificial fragrance (if that’s your thing).
I like to use the petals as bulk for my potpourri and always use the same oils regardless of the flowers I used. I LOVE grapefruit and bergamot and tend to add those two scent oils to anything I make. It is a glorious scent combination.
You can also use your rose petals in beauty products like body scrubs, or bath bombs.
Or you can add them to homemade papers, to make some lovely floral-themed notebooks or handmade wrapping paper.
So many ideas!
And if you happen to have any other ideas feel free to leave a comment. I have so many dried rose petals right now and would love some fun new ideas.
Are you an aspiring flower gardener? We have some great posts for you!
- Yellow Perennial Flowers; 12 Recommendations to Plant in Your Garden
- Flowers that Grow in the Shade: The 14 Best Options
- 12 Easiest Flowers To Grow From Seed (2022)
- 12 Fastest Growing Flowers to Grow in Your Garden (2022)
- Queen of the Night Plant; How to Care for Epiphyllum Oxypetalum
- 9 Best Flowering Shrubs to Plant for Great Curb Appeal Landscaping
- Petunia Hanging Basket Care; How to Grow Enviable Displays!
Editors Note: This post was originally published on February 9th, 2020, and updated on November 29th, 2022.
- Paper towel
- Separate your petals and place them on a piece of paper towel on a microwave-safe plate.
- Keep only the petals that are fresh-looking, no wilted ends, or brown dry bits.
- Make sure when placing your rose petals onto the paper towel that the petals do not at all overlap. If they do overlap they may stick to one another.
- Place the plate into a microwave and set the timer for 2 minutes.
Microwaves vary greatly in wattage so I am going to tell you to watch that first batch closely to make sure 2 minutes is not too much time. Since I have no way of knowing the power of your microwave, 2 minutes may be too little or too much so gauge that first batch by watching it closely.
- After the two minutes check to see if the rose petals are dry. If you started out with really fresh, or dew-covered roses you may need to add an additional 30 seconds.
- Set up a small drying area for your petals. As you remove them from the microwave you can place them on the second piece of paper towel to cool down.
- After a few minutes, they are ready to use in all your craft projects.
The scent will not hold. You may end up with a bit of a residual scent, but most of the rose scent will vanish after drying.
Your flower petals might also change color. I started with a bright pink flower petals that dried to a beautiful lilac purple color.
Fresh rose petals last only a few days before they wilt. Dried rose petals on the other hand can last 2-3 years if stored in an airtight container.