Caring for Your Cut Hydrangea Flowers

Caring for Your Cut Hydrangea Flowers

Jun 29, 2021

We all know and love the time of year where our Hydrangea shrubs begin to blossom beautiful and vibrant flowers. Their distinct shape and large size make them show-stopping garden plants that everyone enjoys. However, have you ever wanted to take those beautiful flowers indoors? Hydrangea flowers make beautiful cut flower arrangements or additions to small flower cut arrangements by adding dimension.

The one thing that can be tricky when handling cut Hydrangea flowers is keeping them from wilting. Unfortunately, Hydrangea flowers can wilt easily, but there are a few steps you can take to avoid this! Learn how to properly cut, care for, and revive your cut hydrangea flowers and enjoy them in your home or an event.

How-To: Preserve Cut Hydrangea Flowers

Choose the Right Time to Cut Your Flowers

pink hydrangea with morning sun and green foliage

  1. Cutting during their growing season is much different than cutting at the end of their growing season when the flowers are mature and don't need much water to stay beautiful. When they are at the end of their growing season, you will notice the flowers look more papery than fresh, as new blooms do.
  2. Cut your hydrangea flowers in the morning. Also, the only cut flowers that are most mature are the ones that will look papery. Choosing these flowers is smart because they are the most developed and are not as sensitive as new growth would.

Water is Crucial to Success 

pink hydrangea flowers in a clear vase with water and blurred background

  1. Bring a container of water with you to your garden when cutting your hydrangea flowers. Have a container of water prepared so you can immediately place the cuttings into water.
  2. Use clean, room temperature water for your cut flowers. Also, use clean and sharp pruning shears to cut your flowers. 
  3. Always cut your plant's stems at an angle so that they can absorb as much moisture as they require. Make sure you are replacing the water every day because that will keep the flowers fresher longer. 
  4. Feel free to add flower food to the water to help boost nutrients for your cuttings. 

Prepare Cuttings for Happy Growth

hands with a bracelet cutting ivory hydrangea flowers with shears

  1. Once you bring your cuttings inside, be sure to remove all the leaves off your hydrangea's stems. The leaves love to drink up all the water and will steal it from the blooms on your cuttings. 
  2. If you cannot remove all the leaves, that is okay; however, make sure you remove all the leaves below the waterline (they can wilt and rot). Otherwise, you can keep a few leaves on the stem. 
  3. Another way for your cutting to absorb enough water is to cut and smash the bottom of the stems. Use a tool like a wooden meat mallet or something comparable to crush the ends of your cuttings. 
  4. If you do not want to smash your flower cutting's stems, you can make a cut up the stem instead. Doing so will give you the same effect as smashing the ends would. 

 Lose the Sap 

wilting white hydrangea with white background

  1. Hydrangeas produce sap that clogs their stems and blocks water from reaching their flowers, which in turn will cause your cut flowers to wilt quickly. 
  2. You can fix this by dipping the end of each stem into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Immediately after that 30 second-interval is over, place your cuttings in room temperature water. 

I followed the Steps, but My Cut Hydrangeas are Wilting, Help! 

blue and white hydrangea flower heads in water

Even if you follow the steps above word for word, you could still run into your cut flowers wilting. Don't panic, we have the solution! As soon as you notice they're wilting, you can submerge the flower heads into a "bath" of water. Leave the flowers dunked in the water for about 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes are up, you should repeat some of the care steps listed above, like: 

  1. Recut the stems at an angle.
  2. Place the stems into boiling water for 30 seconds.
  3. Immediately place your cuttings back into a vase of fresh, room temperature water. 

You will see your flowers revive and look brand new in just a few short hours. It is crucial to know that they will not live for much longer, but you should expect them to stay alive for another 1 to 5 days. You can also mist the blossoms once a day to help keep them moist and happy. 

How Do I Dry My Cut Hydrangea Flowers?

dried blue hydrangea flowers

Have you ever wanted to enjoy your beautiful hydrangea flowers long after the bloom? Well, we have just the solution, and that is drying the flowers. Hydrangea flowers are extremely easy to preserve and take little to no effort to do so! These flowers take about 2 to 3 weeks to dry and can last upwards of a year.

There are several ways to preserve hydrangea flowers, but we will show you how to do so by the water-drying method. In our opinion, this is the easiest and most effective method because it helps retain the color of the flowers and lasts the longest.

What You Will Need 

  • Vase

  • Pruning shears or sharp scissors 

  • Mature and healthy hydrangea flowers

Step-by-Step: Drying Hydrangea Flowers

red pruning shears, clear vase, pink hydrangea with green stem all on white background

  1. Prep Your Flowers: Allow your flowers to dry out slowly; it is crucial not to speed this process up. Allowing the flowers to desiccate slowly will help them retain their shape and, most importantly, their color. 
  2. Make the Cut: Use a clean and sharp pair of pruning shears to cut the stems at an angle. Be sure to make the stems between 12 and 18 inches long. Once you have made the cut, remove all the leaves from the stem. 
  3. Place the Cutting in Water: Have a vase ready with water filled about halfway up and place the cutting in the vase. Always make sure the cutting is kept in a cool spot out of any direct sunlight.
  4. Allow for Natural Evaporation: This process will take about 2 to 3 weeks to complete, and in that time, do not add any more water to the vase. Once your flowers are dry to the touch and the stem can snap off, they are ready to use.
  5. Use for Decoration: There are an endless amount of ways to display your beautiful dried hydrangeas. You can keep them in a vase as a dried floral arraignment. You can also clip off the stems and use the flowers as additives to seasonal wreaths. If you are getting married in the fall, around the time you would be drying your flowers, you can use the dried hydrangea blossoms as a modern twist to a typical wedding floral arrangement.

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