The Secrets to Long Lasting Cut Hydrangeas
Love hydrangeas? Learn the secrets to long lasting cut hydrangeas! These simple tips will keep your hydrangeas fresh and beautiful for a week or longer.
Nothing makes your home decor feel more alive than one or two arrangements of fresh, beautiful flowers. Every once in a while, I pick up a few grocery store bouquets of flowers just to lift my spirits. This week, my Kroger had the prettiest hydrangeas, and since my limelight hydrangeas aren’t blooming yet, I couldn’t resist. It also gave me the opportunity to share with all of you a few secrets for making lasting arrangements with hydrangeas. These five secrets to long lasting cut hydrangeas will keep them from wilting and they should last up to a week…maybe longer.
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The Secrets to Long Lasting Cut Hydrangeas
Tip #1: Cut off all lower leaves.
The first thing to do is snip off all the leaves below the bloom. Leaves are moisture suckers, and they muddy the water in your container.
Tip #2: Cut stems at an angle with a sharp knife or scissors.
In order to get the maximum amount of water to the bloom, the stems need a sharp, long cut. Use a knife or very sharp scissors, and cut the stem at an angle (not a straight cut) that is as long as you can make it. Hold the stem down firmly with a few fingers to make the cutting easier if you are using a knife. It’s important to have a sharp knife because hydrangea stems are quite tough. I use these shears, and can achieve a clean, angled cut. This method works just as well on garden hydrangeas as long as they are mature. It’s hard to get a good slice on a thin, young hydrangea stem.
Tip #3: Dip the cut stem in a jar of Alum.
The easiest thing to do is to pick up a jar of alum at the grocery store (in the spice aisle) and keep it on hand for your cut hydrangeas. As you cut the stems, dip them quickly into the alum jar and then plunge them into a vase or pitcher filled with water. Once you dip a stem in the jar, clearly you can’t use it for anything else!
Related: The Complete Guide to Arranging Garden Flowers + Herbs
Tip #4: Change the water after a few days.
After you have enjoyed your hydrangea arrangement for a few days, dump out the old water and fill your vessel with fresh, cool water. At the same time, give the stems a fresh cut. This will prolong the life of your blooms, and your enjoyment.
Tip #5: Dunk wilted blooms in cool water.
Sometimes, even when you do everything right, hydrangea blooms will wilt. A revival process you can try to save them is to fill your kitchen sink with cool water. Plunge the blooms into the water, and let them sit for 30 minutes. I promise they will be OK! When finished, shake off the excess water and follow tip #4. Hydrangeas absorb water not only through the stem, but through the petals as well.
When it comes to arranging hydrangeas, I believe that most of the time they can stand alone in a vessel. The hydrangeas I purchased for this post are on the small side, and even though I had six, they looked a little skimpy in the pitcher. I had also picked up some eucalyptus, so I used it as a base for the small hydrangea blooms. Problem solved!
Related: The Story of My Annabelle Hydrangea and Some Encouragement
UPDATE: I received a few questions so I wanted to add some additional information and tips from readers!
- What does the alum do? I have no idea how it actually works, but the alum keeps the end of the hydrangea stem open so it will take in as much water as possible. Sometimes when hydrangeas are cut, a sticky substance comes out which blocks the water. Alum eliminates this, so the stem stays open.
- Will this method work on other flowers? Generally speaking, this method will work on stems that are woody. In other words, it’s worth a try on stems that are cut from perennials or shrubs that do not die down in the fall. Some examples are roses, dogwood, lilacs, etc.
- A bit off the subject, but I had a reader recommend a fertilizer called Jack’s. It’s a 20-20-20 mixture and can be found at nurseries or by clicking HERE. She said it worked wonders on her hydrangea plants and that her blooms were spectacular.
- From a reader: another trick that will keep cut hydrangeas looking beautiful is to immediately plunge the freshly cut, stripped stems into very hot water and allow the water to cool before arranging in fresh water. The stems can be recut and the hot water treatment repeated if the blooms start to look wilty.
- The blue striped pitcher: The pitcher was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter and I love it! She got it a few years ago and unfortunately it is no longer available. You can check out my Amazon Shop for some similar options.
If you are lucky enough to have hydrangeas blooming in your garden, I hope you cut a few and try out this method. If not, treat yourself to fresh cut flowers the next time you are at the grocery. You definitely deserve it.
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