How To Dry Hydrangeas? An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Either place the cut stems in a vase with a few inches of water and let them dry gradually over a few weeks, or cover the flowers with silica gel in a container for a quicker drying process that preserves color. Other methods include hanging the flowers upside down or using a dry vase or borax-cornmeal mixture.

Hydrangeas are ornamental shrubs that are usually deciduous or evergreen; these ornamental shrubs have overtime become one of the most popular ornamental plants grown in China, seacoasts, mountain valleys in Japan, North America, and some other places around the globe. 

Famed by its ornamental apparel, many gardeners find ways by which they can preserve hydrangea’s flowers to make their house glow much better and retain that for a long time. This write-up is a step-by-step guide on how to dry hydrangeas and we have simplified it to make it easier to read and digest by everybody.

Drying hydrangeas can be quite simple, easy, and straightforward if you know your way around it; otherwise, you may have a tough time in the process. However, with our simplified guide on the way to dry hydrangeas, it becomes easier to dry the flowers for personal use or commercial sales.

Key Takeaways

  • The best time to cut hydrangeas for drying is towards the end of their growing season, usually between August and October, when the flowers begin to feel papery.
  • Water vase drying is a popular method where cut hydrangeas are placed in a vase with water, allowing them to dry gradually over two to three weeks.
  • Silica gel drying preserves the bloom’s color and involves covering the flowers with desiccant silica gel in a container for a quicker drying process.
  • Other methods for drying hydrangeas include the dry vase method, using a borax-cornmeal mixture, and hanging the flowers upside down.
  • To maintain the quality of dried hydrangeas, consider spraying them with hairspray to reduce petal loss and handle them carefully if making into a wreath.

Why Dry Hydrangeas?

As earlier stated, hydrangea is a popular ornamental shrub in Asia and for this reason, people seek ways to preserve the bright and beautiful bloom of the plant to stick around for a long time. 

How To Dry Hydrangeas
Why dry Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas can liven up the moment when placed on the dining table, glorify your sitting room, inspire your day when placed in the bedroom, be a source of inspiration when placed in an office, or give your visitors a homely welcome when used as a wreath on your door. 

Furthermore, drying hydrangea allows it to be available in and out of the growing season and make it commercially available to other flower lovers who do not have the leisure of planting it.

Having understood the need for dried hydrangeas, then you are probably wondering to know to dry hydrangeas for these purposes? Let’s go on with us.

How to Dry Hydrangeas?

There are several ways to dry hydrangeas, but there are two methods that have been famed for the quality of flowers they provide after drying. These two methods; water vase drying and silica gel drying both give almost the same result after they have been dried, although there is little difference in the two approaches. 

How to Dry Hydrangeas
How to Dry Hydrangeas: Easy Tips

While the water vase drying method is cheaper and easier, the silica gel drying method produces a more vibrant color when dried.

Thinking of which method to go for? Rest your mind as you will be able to decide which method is best for you after you have finished our guides. 

What to Know in Drying Hydrangeas?

Before diving into the full guides, there are a number of things to know in order to properly dry a hydrangea flower. Following these guides will make the process simpler, precise, and give a better result.

1. When to Cut the Flower?

The first thing you need to know is the right time to cut the flower for drying. Timing is everything when drying hydrangea flowers and that extends to the time to cut the flower off from the plant. 

Like every other plant, hydrangeas have their growing season which is between early spring and late summer. This knowledge of the growing and blooming period of hydrangeas have an immense impact on when to cut the flower for drying. 

More so, flowers cut at the peak of growth seasons are not properly dried and eventually wilt, likewise, those that are cut very late may eventually lose their bright color.

The right time to cut a hydrangea flower for drying is towards the end of the growing season when the flower has begun to give a papery feel when touched; this is usually between August and October.

At this period, the flower is fully grown, matured, and is beginning to dry off, this has been proven to aid easy drying of the flower by many horticulturists (people that study and plant ornamental plants) and gardeners.

2. What Tools Are Required to Cut and Dry Hydrangea?

This is another important thing to know when cutting hydrangea flowers for drying. There are some tools and equipment required in cutting and drying the flowers and these tools include a pair of pruning shears, a vase, water, and/or silica gel.

3. When and How to Cut Hydrangea Flower for Drying?

The third and equally important point to note is the time of the day and the proper way to cut the flower for drying. First things first, hydrangea to be prepared for drying is to be cut early in the morning when the early morning dew has dried off the plant, cut at an angle using a pair of pruning shears.

Furthermore, the flower should be cut with a stem of about 12 inches to 18 inches long attached to it and ensure to detach any leaves attached to the stem, this will help to reduce the rate of respiration which may cause the flower to wilt.

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How to Dry Hydrangeas Using Water Vase Method?

As stated earlier, there are two popular methods that have been widely used to answer the topic, and the water vase drying technique is one of them, it is, as a matter of fact, the most popular method.

dried using water vase method
How to Dry Hydrangeas Using Water Vase Method?

The water vase drying method requires a vase to be filled with water where the flowers will be arranged. The idea of using water to dry hydrangea may sound awkward or perhaps counterproductive. 

Nevertheless, to effectively dry hydrangeas, you need to add water to slow down the drying process, which will in turn help to maintain the bloom after drying. Here are the simple steps:

  • Cut the flower to be dried following carefully the instructions given above;
  • Having cut the flowers, arrange the flowers in the vase filled with water, and ensure the water covers several inches of the stem of the flower, we recommend filling quarter to half of the vase, as an alternative to using a vase, you can use clear containers;
  • Importantly, ensure not to overcrowd the container or vase with flowers as these flowers require access to air in order to dry properly and retain their bloom;
  • Having done that, allow the flowers to dry properly while the water evaporates gradually, this may take about two to three weeks;
  • The water may start to produce odor or decolorize, there is no cause for alarm as those are normal occurrences, as a countermeasure, consider changing the water. Meanwhile, we recommend maintaining the same water level when changing the water.
  • Lastly, monitor the drying process, by doing this you will easily notice any sign of rot (if any) in the flower which you should cut off and let the drying process continue.

How to Dry Hydrangeas Using Silica Gel?

The use of the silica gel technique in drying hydrangeas is another popular drying method used in preserving the bloom of the ornamental plant, and it is the second method we will be sharing with you. 

As we have pointed out earlier, this method is quite expensive when compared to the water vase method that only requires water that is naturally abundant. In this method, we will be using desiccant silica gel floral preservative; this could be purchased from a local market. 

How To Dry Hydrangeas
Polymeric Material Polymer Granulate Silica

The benefit of this method over the water vase method is that the bloom is well preserved and it produces a more vibrant color when dried. More so, the powder – desiccant silica gel floral preservative can be dried and re-used to dry another flower. Some ways using the silica gel method:

  • It is assumed that you have cut the flowers to be preserved, so, get a plastic container that can be covered and place the flower in it;
  • Next, cover up the flower with the silica gel, spreading the powder gently over the bloom;
  • Once the flower has been covered by the powder, cover the container and allow it to dry, this process may take two to seven days to properly dry;
  • The blue crystal on the powder will gradually turn pink, this is a sign that the powder has absorbed water from the flower and that signifies that the flower is dried;
  • Remove the flower and place it wherever you desire it to be. To dry the powder for reuse, we recommend you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Other Ways to Dry Hydrangeas

How To Dry Hydrangeas
Other Ways To Dry Hydrangeas

There are several other methods that can be used in drying hydrangeas for long term use and to serve their ornamental purpose better, here are some other methods that can be used to dry hydrangeas:

1. Dry Vase Method

This method imitates the use of water vase which we have talked about above, only that there is no water required in this process, just the flowers arranged in a container or vase and left to dry. However, the quality of the bloom is usually poor when compared to the water vase method.

2. Borax-cornmeal Desiccant

This method equally mimics the use of the silica gel method, except that a mixture of borax and cornmeal powders are used. More so, it is equally less expensive when compared to the silica gel method.

The recommended mixture ratio according to the New York Botanical Gardens, Home Gardening Center is 40% of borax powder to 60% of white cornmeal.

This process only takes two weeks for the flower to completely dry and desiccant can be bought at any local market.

3. Drying by Hanging Upside Down

Bunches of hydrangea flowers can be tied to hang upside down with the aid of a twine.

Although this is a traditional practice used in drying hydrangeas, it has however proven useful in modern-day practice even though the time required for the flower to dry greatly depends on the warmth and dryness of the hanging space.

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Final Thought

Having read carefully and followed the guides in this write-up, you should by now have an understanding of drying hydrangeas without stress. As a takeaway for you and based on professionals’ advice, you can employ spraying the dried blooms with hair spray to help reduce the rate at which the petals of the flower fall off. 

Conclusively, if you are making it into a wreath, it is advisable to remove it when it is almost dried and let it complete the drying process wherever you want to place the wreath.

Also, these methods are great in drying hydrangeas for personal use as well as commercial sales, so, go ahead and choose your preferred method of drying hydrangeas for whatever purpose you are drying them for.

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