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Drying Limelight Hydrangeas

Drying Limelight Hydrangeas: the best way to harvest and dry limelight hydrangeas for arrangements, a dried limelight hydrangea wreath, or fall decor.

hydrangeas in silver urn

Several weeks ago I shared what I have learned about growing limelight hydrangeas. I have just three bushes that are two years old. They have produced the loveliest and most abundant blooms of anything I have ever grown. Growing limelights is easy, but drying limelight hydrangeas is even easier.

Drying Limelight Hydrangeas

My best advice is to let Mother Nature do all the work. Let the blooms dry right on the bushes. They may weigh the branches down a bit, but as long as they are not lying on the ground, they are OK. Mine survived through high winds and very hard rain. It’s best to wait until the blooms have darkened to green and have a paper-like appearance. The longer you wait, the better. I harvested mine a few days ago and here is my first project. 

drying limelight hydrangeas supplies

I used my twin silver urns to make dried hydrangea arrangements. You can use this method with any sort of container. Bowls, pitchers, pots…anything will work. The first thing I did was quickly and naturally clean the urns.

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To assemble an arrangement with limelight hydrangeas, here is what you need:

how to dry limelight hydrangeas

Floral styrofoam comes in all shapes and sizes. I bought these squares because they were the right height. I used a serrated knife to shave off the corners so they would fit snugly in the urns. It’s perfectly fine for the styrofoam to stick out of your container. The flowers will cover it up. Next is adding the blooms.

drying limelight hydrangeas process

The stems of the limelight hydrangeas are sturdy, but it’s still hard to push them into the styrofoam. Use the hole punch first to make the job easier. Simply poke it into the styrofoam and then insert the trimmed stem of the bloom. 

Make your arrangement big and fluffy or a little more controlled. If you put a stem in and and don’t like it, just take it out and put it someplace else. I promise you cannot mess this up!

limelight hydrangeas in silver urn

I hope you aren’t tired of wreaths because I really want to see if I can make one with dried hydrangeas. If it turns out OK I will share it. I’ll be back this weekend with more of my living room refreshed for Fall. Thank you for stopping by…see you soon!

Click the images below for more on limelights!

Growing Limelight Hydrangeas | Tips and tricks for amazing blooms!

Dried Hydrangea Wreath Tutorial | easy directions with photos from On Sutton Place

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51 Comments

  1. Pingback: All About Hydrangeas: How to Plant, Preserve, and Care for Hydrangeas
  2. So wait until fall? How do they hold up in water for an arrangement or on a weddding canopy?

  3. Hi Ann, love the arrangement. I still have my last year’s limelight’s in a vase. They look beautiful! I was wondering if you have any advice regarding ugly brown spots on endless summer hydrangeas. It started last month and I did spray them with, I forgot the name of the product. It didn’t get any better, it got worse. I was wondering if I cut it all the way down and hope for the best. I just don’t know. I hate looking at them. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  4. Thanks Ann! I’ve been watching my hydrangeas change color and slowly dry, waiting for the perfect time to cut them for autumn arrangements. Your post comes just at the right time!

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  7. Another good idea tobtry,if you want different colored hydrangeas,wait till almost dry on bush,cut stems to length you need. Put them in different containers of water with food coloring added. TheY will drink it up and dye them beautifully. Let dry until water evaporates!

  8. Ann your wreath looks lovely. I can just imagine the mess making it! . I put a small hydrangea plant in a barrel in May & it is now full. The blooms have gone a deep pink. Here in England we are told to leave them on the plant to protect it from frost. But I think I will cut them & bring indoors. I only have a small yard here with container plants.. I had a proper garden in my last home & had a huge hydrangea bush which was much admired. I was devastated to see that it had been completely dug up. Another ex neighbour told me to let it go that it was no longer my house. But I was upset & still can’t understand why they did it!

  9. A beautiful wreath it is!! I bought my first Hydrangea plant this summer and the flowers were a beautiful blue. I hope it survives the winter and returns to me in the spring!! Thank you for all your advice on such a beautiful plant!

  10. I also love my limelight hydrangeas, Ann. I learned the hard way not to cut the flowers too soon. You are right about waiting for them to dry on the bush. Your arrangement is lovely :)

  11. Pam @ The Birch Cottage says:

    So, I’ve added “Limelight Hydrangeas” to my mother’s day list for 2016. I’ve been wanting to plant/grow hydrangeas and now that I’ve seen how lovely they are dried, I’m sold. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Ann Causey says:

    I am so excited about this website and find myself waiting anxiously for each new post. The ideas are
    pretty, practical,, and easy to follow.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much Ann! Welcome to On Sutton Place…I am so glad you found me. :)

  13. Well now I’m embarrassed I just re-read the blog and there’s the instructions for drying them. Sorry.

  14. Do you have a link for drying hydrangeas

  15. I love hydrangeas but I haven’t had any luck growing them! I have to try again I love them! Thanks for the drying tips!

  16. Love this arrangement. I have 2 very large bushes of the limelight and I have been meaning to do an arrangement with them, you have encouraged me to get busy and do it. Thank you so much, I love your site.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You still have time depending on where you live…if you are in the south you should harvest soon. If a cooler zone you probably have a few more weeks!

      1. Thank you for replying so soon. Going to do this today…love you blog and will visit often. Chris

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you Jean! Your comment completely made me smile. Have a lovely day. :)

  17. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Thanks for the update on the lime hydrangras.
    Are all the containers silver?
    What are the small containers? Are they silver?
    Family pieces? Where should I sear h to find them?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Nan! Yes the containers are silver and are from my husband’s family. I see silver at my antique mall but it’s a bit pricey. The best places to find it are thrift stores and eBay. I see silver at my Goodwill for just a few dollars. It blows my mind. People give it away though because they don’t want to clean it. If you have an eBay acct. just search using the search bar. I just put in “vintage silver pitcher” and over 1000 listings came up. Watch for listings with free shipping. Good luck!

  18. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    How beautiful Ann!

  19. Hi Ann. Does your drying tip apply to all Hydrangeas? I’ve grown my first plants this year and I would love to use some dried blooms. Thanks! Sue

    1. Sue

      I live in MN and have three annabelle plants. Sometimes I cut them when a light golden color sometimes when they are light green. With our weather I dont trust drying them on the branchs. I use a tall wide mouthed vase to put them in once clipped.
      I keep them in my basement until dry. I also have hung them from the ceiling beams in my basement. Hope this helps.

      1. Thanks June! I live in the UK, so I don’t think drying them too much is an issue. Ha ha!

        1. Ann Drake says:

          Sue…June’s advice about a wide mouthed vase is perfect. If you do hang them, don’t bunch them together or they will sort of mold.

  20. Sheryl Danner says:

    Those are absolutely amazing! I have many hydrangeas in my yard, but no Limelight. That will soon change:-)

  21. I bought 3 lime lights myself this year…and they all bloomed. They don’t look as beautiful as yours, but I have hope for next year. I will cut them if they ever turn….they are still white, and make a mini arrangement. Thanks for the tips! ;)

  22. Thanks for this idea. I cannot believe I’ve never thought of using foam to stabilize my hydrangeas! My limelights have done so well since they were put in 3 years ago. This year there were prolific blooms!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sue! Ohio had a banner year for limelights for sure! Thanks for stopping by…Ann

  23. Followed you for about a year now,love all your ideas.I cut mine at different times & dry them by putting in a vase of Water,keep adding water till they dry.Have done this for several years.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you Margie! Thanks for taking the time to comment and for following along!

  24. I let mine dry on the plant but they certainly don’t look as beautiful as yours. The blooms get all shriveled. I’m wondering if it’s because of the climate here in hot, central CA. Mine is a limelight my Mother planted in her yard and when she passed two years ago, I transplanted it to my garden. It had beautiful blooms on it this year.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes Peggy it just might be he heat. I’m not sure but that makes the most sense.

  25. Great post, Ann! I have a question about preparing limelight hydrangeas for winter. If we cut the blooms now, are we trimming branches to the ground? This is my first year having one of these beautiful plants & I don’t want to kill it! How do you leave your hydrangeas over winter? Love your blog!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Karen! To be honest I am not 100% sure. Everything I have read says to cut them back in late fall or very early spring. Last year I did not cut mine back except where I cut blooms. This year my bushes were top heavy because the blooms came out from the top. When I cut these blooms I went as far down to the root as I could. I did what is called a “hard pruning.” I read that this is fine but the following year your blooms might be smaller. Since your bush is on it’s first year perhaps just lightly prune the longest branches and see what happens? Sorry I am not more help but I am learning as I go. Thank you!

  26. They look great Ann! Just cut my Annabella this week too.
    I dried them outside on my porch and they took on the loveliest antique bronze color. Never did it that way before, always dried them up right inside. Therefore they were lime green. But I love the change and plan to use them in my fall front door swag. Can’t wait to see your house decorated for fall !!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thanks Loryl! I so wish I had Annabelles but have not had much luck. I have one that is small but I keep nudging it along!

  27. Teddee Grace says:

    I’ve been making silk floral arrangements for years, but got a tip from a friend who enjoys working with naturals. Switch to wet floral foam and those fragile natural stems won’t break!

  28. We have Endless Summer hydrangeas. I waited till this week to cut and dry them using the water method. I cut last year’s dry hydrangeas’ stems short to fit my dining room’s fall centerpiece on my table. Thank you for sharing your tips on arranging these beauties. I’m anxious to see your wreath.

  29. The limelights are beautiful this year so much so I want to plant some in the spring or when I find a good buy. I have two hydrangeas but mine are blue. I have some hydrangeas from my son’s wedding 3 years ago. I try very hard not to move them too much but I have also sprayed them with hair spray and they seem to be holding together fairly well. Hydrangeas are my favorite flower especially in arrangements. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Beautiful. I have a picture of 3 huge dried hydrangeas from 2 yrs ago that still looks great!!!

  31. Beautiful arrangement. Lovely containers. Your posts are a delight. Thanks for the silver cleaning tips.

  32. Such a beautiful project for the first day of Fall. I look forward to every post from you, always inspiring. Happy Fall Y’All!

  33. Barbara Zuleski says:

    Thank you. What a wonderful suggestion for our limelights. We have a charming champaign bucket and I hope to create your design today…. Now if I can only find the silver cleaner!
    May you have a lovely day full of Grace.

  34. Pam Ecker says:

    Hi Ann,

    You did not mention how you cut the hydrangea off the bush or when. Do I cut them when they are in full bloom or when they are starting to dry out on the plant. If I cut them in full bloom do i put them in water first etc….. Thanks!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Pam…wait until the blooms are drying on the plant. They will turn green with highlights of red. The blooms will look like very thin paper. If you cut in full bloom (late July) you will have to put them in water.

  35. Jeanette Duke says:

    That is exactly how I do mine, Ann. They are really beautiful this year and I have made several arrangements throughout the house. I love yours in the silver container.

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