Caring for Your Cut Hydrangea Flowers

It is that 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 for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wanted to take those beautiful flowers indoors? Hydrangea flowers make beautiful cut flower arrangements or additions to small flower 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

blue hydrangea in the sunlight

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 flowers that are most mature are the ones that will look papery; those are the ones you want to cut. Choosing these flowers is smart because they are the most developed and are not as sensitive as new growth would.

Water is Essential for Success

white hydrangea in a vase with blue wood 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.

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 Healthy Growth

womans hands cutting bundle of white hydrangea with blurred background

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.

Get Rid of the Sap

wilting pink hydrangea flower petals up close

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 hydrangea flower heads in water

Even if you follow the steps above, there is still a chance your Hydrangea flowers could wilt. 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 fully submerged in the water for about 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes are up, you should repeat a few of the care steps listed above, like:

  • Replace the stems at an angle.
  • Place the stems into boiling water for 3o seconds.
  • Immediately place the cutting back into a vase of fresh, room temperature water.

You will see the 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 hydrangeas

Have you ever wanted to enjoy your beautiful hydrangea flowers long after the bloom? We have just the solution; drying Hydrangea flower heads. 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 u to a year.

There are several ways to preserve hydrangea flowers, but we will show you how to do 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

shears, glass vase, pink hydrangea flower on a stem with white background

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.

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.

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.

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.

Use for Decoration

There are an endless amount of ways to display your dried hydrangeas. You can keep them in a vase as a dried floral arraignment. You can 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.

Come into Patuxent Nursery today to shop our huge selection of Hydrangeas! Our plant experts will help you find the perfect shrub that will fit in beautifully with your existing garden or give you advice on how to cut your Hydrangea flowers when their growing season is almost over. Our options are endless, and we are certain you will find what you are looking for here at Patuxent.