Step-by-Step: Drying Hydrangea Flowers
By drying the blooms, you can enjoy their classic beauty year-round. Two main methods are used to dry hydrangea flowers: vase drying and silica drying. Vase drying is easier and cheaper, while silica drying produces more vibrant color. Let’s keep things simple and use the vase-drying method, which produces blossoms in vintage hues.
1. Timing is Everything
Knowing when to cut hydrangea blooms for drying is secret to success. While you may be tempted to snip blossoms right at peak color, it is important to allow flowers to begin drying on the plant. After the blooms have graced your garden for several weeks the petals will start to feel papery and shift in color. Oakleaf hydrangeas like Tara™ take on hints of coral or rose, while big-leaf hydrangeas like Dear Dolores™ pick up hints of purple, burgundy or aqua, depending on location and soil pH. When you see colors shift and petals lose their suppleness it is time to grab the pruners.
2. Making the Cut
Cut stems in the morning after the dew has dried from the petals. Using sharp shears or pruners cut stems at an angle, allowing for 12 to 18 inches of stem. Strip the leaves and place cuttings into a bucket of water. Be picky while cutting – drying emphasizes imperfections in the blossoms. Pick the best flowers to dry and leave the rest to enjoy in the garden.
3. Arrange in Vases of Water
Wait, we use water to dry flowers? It may seem counterproductive, but drying hydrangeas in vases of water helps preserve their color. Place cuttings in vases or other clear containers and fill with water until several inches of the stem are submerged. Do not overcrowd the vases. Each bloom needs good air circulation to dry and room to maintain an open form. Try staggering stem lengths to allow each flower ample space.
4. Allow to Dry
Place containers throughout your home where you can enjoy them as they dry. Just be sure to keep the flowers out of direct sunlight. Allow the water to evaporate naturally from the containers as the flowers dry. Blooms may take two or more weeks to dry. You can add more water to the vase if it has evaporated but flowers are not yet dried.
The dried blossoms are ready for use when the petals feel stiff and stem snaps easily. Dried hydrangeas look lovely in simple vases, mixed into dried wreaths or woven among evergreen stems to decorate window boxes. They are also perfect for our versatile Golden Rings tabletop arrangement.