Love hydrangeas? Learn all 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 buckets of the prettiest hydrangeas, and 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 6 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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Cut off all lower leaves.
The first thing to do is snip off most of the leaves below the bloom. Leaves are moisture suckers, and they muddy the water in your container. It’s fine to leave a few leaves for interest, but make sure they are as close to the bloom as possible.
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. First, decide on your desired length for the stems. Using a knife or very sharp scissors, cut the stem at an angle (not a straight cut) that is as long as you can make it. If you use a knife, hold the stem down firmly with a few fingers to make the diagonal cut easier. 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.
Dip the cut stem in a jar of Alum powder.
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 container of room temperature water. Once you dip a stem in the jar, clearly you can’t use it for anything else!
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.
Keep the cut hydrangea flowers out of direct sunlight.
Place your vase of hydrangeas in a spot that does not receive direct sunlight. The sunlight dries out the blooms, and they tend to wilt faster
Dunk wilted blooms in cool water.
Sometimes, even when you do everything right, hydrangea blooms will wilt. A revival process that may save them begins with filling 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 start arranging. Hydrangeas absorb water not only through the stem, but through the petals as well.
Tips & Advice
- When it comes to arranging a hydrangea bouquet, 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!
- A bit off the subject, but I had a reader recommend a fertilizer called Jack’s. It’s a 20-20-20 mixture and should be applied to the hydrangea plant roots in the spring. She said it worked wonders for her, and that her hydrangea blooms were spectacular.
- Another trick from a reader that will keep cut hydrangeas looking beautiful is to immediately plunge the freshly cut, stripped stems into very hot, but not boiling 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 begin to wilt.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 similar to sap comes out, which blocks the water. Alum eliminates this, so the stem stays open.
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.
To dry hydrangeas, place the cut stems in a vase or pitcher with no water. Make sure they are not too crowded, and will get plenty of air-flow. They should dry naturally in a few weeks. If you have hydrangea bushes, it’s best to let the blooms dry outdoors, right on the stems. Wait until the blooms have darkened, and have a paper-like appearance. Cut as low on the stem as possible.
The pitcher was a Mother’s Day gift several years ago from my daughter, and I love it! 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. No one deserves it more than you.
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More Flower Inspiration
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Limelight Hydrangeas
- The Complete Guide to Arranging Garden Flowers + Herbs
- The Story of My Annabelle Hydrangea and Some Encouragement