How to Dry Calendula Flowers: A Comprehensive Guide

by Jennifer

Calendula, also known as marigold, is a versatile and vibrant flower that has been cherished for centuries for its medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic properties. One of the most common practices involving calendula is drying the flowers for various uses such as teas, potpourri, skincare products, and herbal remedies. Proper drying and preservation methods are crucial to maintain the quality and potency of calendula flowers. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the selection of flowers, methods of drying, and post-drying preservation techniques to ensure optimal results.


Selecting Calendula Flowers

Before diving into the drying process, it’s essential to start with high-quality calendula flowers. Selecting the right flowers will contribute to the overall quality of the dried product. Here are some tips for selecting calendula flowers:

1. Choose Fresh, Healthy Flowers: Look for calendula flowers that are freshly bloomed with vibrant petals and a healthy appearance. Avoid flowers that are wilted, discolored, or showing signs of pest damage.

2. Harvest at the Right Time: Harvest calendula flowers when they are fully open and at their peak freshness. Early morning is typically the best time for harvesting when the flowers are dew-free and their fragrance is most potent.

3. Select Organic or Chemical-Free Flowers: If possible, opt for organically grown calendula flowers to avoid exposure to pesticides and chemicals. Alternatively, you can grow calendula in your own garden using organic methods.

4. Check for Maturity: Ensure that the calendula flowers are fully mature before harvesting. Mature flowers will have developed petals with a rich color and firm texture.

By selecting high-quality calendula flowers, you lay the foundation for successful drying and preservation.

Methods of Drying Calendula Flowers

Once you have selected the finest calendula flowers, the next step is to dry them properly to preserve their color, aroma, and medicinal properties. There are several methods for drying calendula flowers, each offering unique advantages. Below are some popular drying methods:

1. Air Drying:

Air drying is one of the simplest and most traditional methods for drying calendula flowers. Follow these steps for air drying:

  • Gather the calendula flowers into small bunches, tying them together with twine or rubber bands.
  • Hang the bunches upside down in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. A dry and airy room is ideal for air drying.
  • Allow the flowers to dry completely, which may take anywhere from one to two weeks depending on humidity levels.

Air drying preserves the natural color and fragrance of calendula flowers while allowing them to retain their medicinal properties.

2. Oven Drying:

Oven drying is a quicker method compared to air drying and is suitable for individuals who need their calendula flowers dried faster. Here’s how to oven dry calendula flowers:

  • Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting, typically around 100-120°F (38-49°C).
  • Spread the calendula flowers in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.
  • Check the flowers regularly and remove them once they are dry and crisp, which usually takes about 2-4 hours.

Oven drying is a convenient option for those who need dried calendula flowers quickly and can’t wait for the extended drying time required by air drying.

3. Dehydrator Drying:

Using a food dehydrator is another efficient method for drying calendula flowers. Follow these steps for dehydrator drying:

  • Spread the calendula flowers in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, making sure they are not overlapping.
  • Set the dehydrator to a low temperature, ideally around 95-105°F (35-41°C).
  • Allow the flowers to dry for approximately 4-6 hours, checking periodically for dryness.
  • Once the flowers are thoroughly dried and crisp, remove them from the dehydrator.

Dehydrator drying offers precise temperature control and uniform drying, resulting in evenly dried calendula flowers with minimal effort.

Post-Drying Preservation Techniques

After drying the calendula flowers using your preferred method, it’s essential to store them properly to maintain their quality over time. Proper storage conditions will prevent moisture absorption, mold growth, and degradation of the flowers’ color and aroma. Here are some post-drying preservation techniques:

1. Cooling Period:

Allow the dried calendula flowers to cool completely before storing them. This prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could lead to mold growth.

2. Storage Containers:

Transfer the dried calendula flowers to clean, airtight containers such as glass jars or metal tins. Make sure the containers are completely dry before adding the flowers to prevent moisture buildup.

3. Dark, Cool Location:

Store the sealed containers of dried calendula flowers in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can degrade the quality of the flowers over time.

4. Desiccant Packs:

Consider adding desiccant packs or silica gel packets to the storage containers to absorb any remaining moisture and maintain the dryness of the flowers.

5. Labeling and Dating:

Label the containers with the date of drying and the type of calendula flowers contained within. Proper labeling helps you keep track of the freshness and potency of your dried calendula supply.

By following these post-drying preservation techniques, you can prolong the shelf life of your dried calendula flowers and ensure they remain potent and flavorful for future use.


Drying calendula flowers is a simple yet rewarding process that allows you to preserve the beauty, fragrance, and medicinal properties of this versatile botanical. By carefully selecting high-quality flowers, employing suitable drying methods, and practicing proper post-drying preservation techniques, you can enjoy the benefits of dried calendula flowers in various culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal applications. Whether you prefer air drying, oven drying, or using a dehydrator, the key is to maintain optimal drying conditions and store the dried flowers correctly to maximize their shelf life and potency. With the information provided in this guide, you can confidently embark on your calendula drying journey and reap the rewards of this timeless botanical treasure.


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