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Dried Banksia

Fresh flowers

After grading, put the flowers into buckets containing clean water and a biocide and place them in a coolroom before packing or shipment.


Dried flowers

Flowers are hung or placed on racks in a dry, well-ventilated shed until thoroughly dried. Avoid overcrowding the flowers and remove excess foliage before drying. Many species are marketed with all the foliage removed. The flowers fade to a soft grey. Sulphuring or dyeing gives stronger colours.


Sulphuring is used, as in fruit drying, to prevent enzymatic colour changes. Traditionally, sulphur granules have been burnt for about two hours in a closed chamber. However, sulphur dioxide is very toxic and this practice can be extremely dangerous and presents a potential fire hazard. When using any hazardous chemical, always check relevant safety instructions.


The dried flowers of several banksia species are dipped in aniline dyes to change the natural colour. Although disliked by many growers, the new colours are appreciated by overseas customers. Anionic-uptake dyes can be added to glycerine to modify the leaf colour of treated flowers.


Glycerine is widely used on flower and foliage material. Treated plants remain soft and flexible when dried and retain a slight glistening appearance. Place fresh banksias in one part glycerine to 10 parts water for 24 hours. If left longer, the flower, stem and leaves will continue to take up glycerine, but with no additional benefit. After drying, the flowers can be dip-dyed as described above. If not dyed, the flowers become dark grey.


Most growers sell their flowers directly to a wholesaler or exporter. Depending on the exporter's operation, some or all of the above post-handling operations may be done on farm. Generally, most of the sulphuring, dyeing and glycerining is done by wholesalers or exporters.


Banksias flowers gives a special value to your dried arrangement. Their unique shape adds a wild beauty and a desert aroma.




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