How to Dry Hydrangeas So You Can Enjoy Them Year-Round

It's easier than you think!

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We’ve been enjoying all the pretty pinks, blues, pale greens and creamy whites of hydrangeas all summer long. Sure, there are some bumps, like your hydrangeas not blooming, but we’ll put in the effort for these gorgeous flowers. After the blooming season ends, however, we still want to enjoy their beauty, so we’ve started looking into how to dry hydrangeas. Turns out, it’s pretty simple!

There are many types of hydrangeas and you can dry their blooms with a method called “vase drying.” The dried arrangements can last for a year—or more.

Discover 3 easy ways to dry flowers for everlasting beauty.

When to Dry Hydrangeas

You’ve been precise in taking care of your hydrangeas all summer, so it’s important to be as careful while drying them. Take a look at the hydrangea blooms as they start their transition into the fall season. You’ll notice that the mophead blooms are in various stages of starting to dry out on the stems. There’s a difference between the older flowers, which have colors that are a bit faded, and more recent blooms.

The hydrangea flowers start a natural drying process at the end of the season. This cycle is what you want to take advantage of when drying flowers for indoor displays.

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How to Dry Hydrangeas

Beautiful Hortensia Flowers In Vase Indoors CloseupLIUDMILA CHERNETSKA/GETTY IMAGES

Step 1: Cut the Blooms

Cut the hydrangea flowers in the morning. This is a good general rule for cutting flowers for arrangements and it holds true for hydrangeas. Allow the morning dew to evaporate from the leaves and flowers before cutting. Fans of dried arrangements will tell you to be picky and choose the best blooms for drying, as you are preserving the flower in the state it is when it is cut.

Editors Tip: Make sure to make a clean cut. Use good sharp pruning shears to cut the stems at an angle and leave about 12 to 18 inches of stem. Have a bucket of water with you as you move around the garden to immediately immerse the cut flowers in water and keep them hydrated until you are ready to work with them indoors.

Here’s how to prune hydrangeas in the garden.

Step 2: Prepare a Vase with Clean Water

It may seem like preparing a vase is an odd way to dry hydrangeas. But the water in the vase will help capture the current color of the hydrangea blooms and start the preserving process. Select a glass vase that will be tall enough to support your blooms. Fill the vase with several inches of clean water.

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Step 3: Arrange the Blooms

Strip the leaves from the stems and place cuttings in the vase to submerge them in the water. Don’t overcrowd the vase. The hydrangeas need to have enough space around them to allow for good air circulation and keep the shape of the flower. You can vary the heights of the cuttings in the vase or limit the number of hydrangea blooms in the arrangement.

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Step 4: Set the Vase in a Safe Place

Select a location to dry the hydrangeas out of direct sunlight. A direct source of sun through a window will be too harsh for the blooms to cycle through their natural drying out process. Be sure and place the vase somewhere you will be able to enjoy them as they dry.

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Step 5: Add Water as Needed

Hydrangea Wreath, how to dry flowersKenWiedemann/Getty Images
A wreath made from dried hydrangea flowers

The water in the vase will begin to evaporate and help to dry the hydrangeas. As time passes, the flowers naturally dry and the colors take on muted hues. You can add more water to the vase if you notice that the water has evaporated but the flowers themselves haven’t completely dried out yet.

The arrangement can take a few weeks to complete the drying out process.

The dried hydrangeas can remain in the vase or you can move them to another container for display. Use the dried hydrangeas in decorations around the home mixed with other evergreen stems or in a wreath for the front door with dried sprigs of lavender and eucalyptus.

Next, learn how to grow a cutting garden for beautiful bouquets.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Alice Knisley Matthias
Alice Knisley Matthias writes about food, garden, family and education. Her byline has appeared in Birds & Blooms, The New York Times, Allrecipes, Taste of Home, TIME for Kids, Food Network, Washington Post, Delish, EatingWell, The Kitchn, Family Handyman, Birds & Blooms, Woman's Day, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, an America's Test Kitchen cookbook, Kids Discover, Boys' Life and Parade. She is the author of the book Tasty Snacks in a Snap!