Ahh, the hydrangea. Every Alabamian either grows them, or has a Mawmaw that had a yard full of them. There is something about the southern climate and/or soil that allows them to flourish here.
I was gifted this lovely hydrangea bush by the previous owner of my house. Every spring when it starts to bloom, someone always asks me how I grow such beautiful hydrangeas. I always have to hang my head and say “I don’t know. It just grows”.
A few years back, I attempted to prune the beautiful blooms, bring them inside, and put them in a vase. Unfortunately, they would always wilt the next day, even with water in the vase. I LOVE the look of beautifully dried hydrangeas, and I know it is possible to dry them, I just COULD NOT find the right formula. Raise your hand if you have cut your hydrangea blooms and tried the following:
- Putting them in the trunk of your car.
- Putting them in the back window of your car.
- Hanging them upside down.
- Putting them in a vase with water and just leaving them there until the water evaporated.
- Putting them in a vase with no water.
- Spraying them with hairspray.
- Purchased flower drying art silica gel (this did not work, but I linked it here so you can see what I am talking about)
Friend, I have tried all of this. Let me just tell you, as beautiful as hydrangeas are, they do NOT have a pleasant smell when dried….especially if you try #2….in a hot car…..in Alabama….PEEEUUWWW! And #6? What was I thinking?
I FINALLY found the right combination for my hydrangea bush. I hope it works for you too. Here is what I do…are you ready…
I LEAVE THEM ALONE.
WHAT??? Are you serious??
I discovered that if you leave them alone on the hydrangea bush until they just start to dry, you can them cut them, and then bring them in to finish drying. Cut them when the you can feel that the blooms still have a little bit of moisture in them, but you can feel that the petals are starting to dry out. (Check out my YouTube video on how I judge the moisture level.)
I cut between 6 and 10 inches down on the stem, then I bring them inside, and lay them over the lip of my bathtub. You can put them in a vase at this point and they will dry, but some of the stems will bend under the weight of the bloom during the drying process. That is why I lay them down. However, if you lay them on a flat surface, the bloom will flatten on one side. That is why I place them over the lip of my tub.
The color in my hydrangeas will last about 6-9 months in a vase, or if you keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place, they will last longer. I had so many one year, I put some in a Rubbermaid container in my basement and they kept their color really nicely.
I hope this helps you preserve your hydrangeas. I put my video below, in case you want to see how I dry mine.