How to Dry Chinese Lanterns

By M.H. Dyer

Chinese lantern, (Physalis), is a warm weather annual with bright red, lantern-shaped husks that enclose small, edible fruits called "tomatillo." It's the puffy, papery husks that make the plant a stand-out in the landscape, and the husk also lends itself perfectly to use in dried flower arrangements. Drying Chinese lanterns isn't difficult or time-consuming, and the dried blooms can add spark to wreaths or dried flower arrangements.

Step 1

Cut the Chinese lantern blooms and the long stems in fall when the blooms are at the peak of their bright, red color. Cut the blooms in the heat of the day when the lanterns are dry. Chinese lantern blooms cut in dewy early mornings will be much more difficult to dry.

Step 2

Strip the leaves from the Chinese lantern stems. Tie several stems together and secure the bottom of the stems with a rubber band.

Step 3

Hang the Chinese lantern blooms in a dark, cool, well-ventilated room. Leave the blooms until they're crisp and brittle. Drying time will vary depending on the temperature and ventilation in the room, but drying should take approximately one to two weeks.

Step 4

Remove the Chinese lantern blooms and store them in a paper bag. You can also layer the blooms in a box between white tissue paper, no more than three layers high.