How to Dry Hydrangeas the Easy Way
Let me show you how to dry hydrangeas the easy way because it is really the only way you need to know for drying hydrangeas. No fuss, no muss, and great results every time.
Little Limelight Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers. We had them at our wedding, so I have a sentimental spot for them. And right now, in late summer, my Little Lime Hydrangeas are in my favorite stage of bloom.
I love them when they start turning colors, with just this little bit of pink blush on the petals.
When to Cut Hydrangeas
September in Iowa is about the right time to cut the blooms. You don’t want to cut them from the plant too early, when they’re still white/lime green, or they will wilt when they start to dry out. The ideal time to cut them is when the blooms start to darken a bit, and feel papery.
Do not pick flowers for drying after a rain, or in the morning when dew is still on them. If they have too much moisture in them, they will droop before they dry out.
Cut & Then Remove Stems
I used my garden pruning shears to cut the hydrangeas, leaving a nice long stem attached for easier arrangement. I was selective about which blooms I cut, to leave a nice shape and appearance to the bush. I still want them to look pretty outside too, since these particular hydrangea bushes are right in the front of the house.
Then, just use your fingers to pluck off all the leaves.
Before I brought them in the house, I gave each stem a good shake, to get rid of any loose bits and bugs.
The Water Method
Fill a vase with two or three inches of water and add the hydrangeas. Make sure the stems of the hydrangeas are completely submerged.
I know it seems counter-intuitive to put water in the vase when you’re trying to dry flowers, but allowing the water to slowly evaporate is the key. It ensures the flowers stay full and retain their color.
The blooms will start to dry as the water evaporates. If the water starts to get slimey before evaporating, dump it out and replace it to the same level it had decreased to. The goal is to let the water evaporate slowly.
Smith Phillips Semi Porcelain Urn
I wanted to put my hydrangeas in my office, in this beautiful Smith Phillips antique vase. But because this urn is circa 1920, I didn’t want to put water directly in it. Instead, I filled this plain glass vase with my water, and set it right now inside the urn where you can’t even see it.
This makes it easy to lift it right out and keep an eye on the water level as it evaporates.
My 100-year-old urn also has a hairline crack in it, so the vase-inside-the-vase trick allows me to use the urn, while still protecting it.
While your hydrangeas dry, avoid direct sunlight, so the color doesn’t bleach out. Over time, the heads of the hydrangeas will become dry and crisp, which means they are done. You can then use them in all of your beautiful dried flower arrangements, with no water required from this point forward.
Spray Them With Protector If You Choose
When your hydrangeas are completely dried, they will last for at least a couple of years. One trick I use to prolong their life, and prevent little pieces from falling off, is to spray them with hairspray. Yes, hairpray. An aerosol kind with a fine mist works best. Just spray them lightly–avoid spraying to the point that they become wet.
You can also buy a protector spray (like THIS one) if you want, but I find that hairpsray works just as well, and you likely already have some on hand.
Isn’t the mixture of cream, lime green, and rosey pink so pretty? As the flowers dry, they will get a bit of a sepia color to the edges of the petals.
I have 5 different hydrangea bushes planted around our property, to allow me plenty of flowers to leave on the bushes for outdoor charm, but also for clipping and enjoying inside all year long.
Midsummer hydrangeas can be clipped and brought inside to enjoy when they are in their peek color. Early to mid-fall is ideal for clipping and drying inside, as explained in this post. Plus, allowing them to dry on the bush gives beautiful fall interest to your outside landscaping. Last year, my dried hydrangeas stayed on all winter long, and were so pretty in contrast to the snow, and surrounded by my fresh Christmas greenery.
Be sure to visit THIS POST to see one of my favorite ways to display my dried hydrangeas!
PS. I’d love it if you’d subscribe to The House on Silverado HERE, so you won’t miss a thing!
Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears
My gardening basket was my mom’s, but this one is similar.
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23 thoughts on “How to Dry Hydrangeas”
I am looking at all my limelight hydrangeas right now and I am so excited to try these ideas out on drying them for fall centerpieces! Great post!
I love this idea. Hydrangeas grow so well in our soil and I’m always sad to see them ‘go over’ – now I can save them and enjoy them throughout the autumn and winter too.
I’d like to dry Lace Cap hydrangeas, do I use the water method? I hope also to dry my Incrediball Hydrangeas, any advice?
This slow water evaporation method should work for all of them. I dry hydrangeas each year, and this has always worked for me. Good luck, Evey!
One word of advice– they are very fragile after drying. I keep mine for 2-3 years after drying, but I am very careful about how I store them, so they don’t get bumped or jostled, or else they fall apart. The hairspray helps a little.
I cut my hydranges after they dried completely. I decided to spray paint them all different colors. I kept them in the garage until the paint smell was gone. Finally I sprayed them with air freshener and brought them inside. After a year and a half they are still in a vase in my front room.
Thanks for sharing these great tips, Niky! I never knew about using hairspray as a preservative. Congrats! You’ve been featured this week at Celebrate Your Story! Link Party 🙂
This is so straightforward and helpful! Love the hairspray trick, too. Now, I just need to start growing hydrangeas so I have extra to bring inside…
Thank you, Rachael! 🙂 Hope you are doing well now that school has begun!
I love hydrangeas. They are one of my favorite flowers. And I especially love them dried. I didn’t know the trick about putting them in water. I will have to try that. Thanks for sharing.
The water trick always works so much better for me. The ones I dried for this post still look like the day I cut them!
Hello, this is one of my favorites for Encouraging Hearts and Home, this week! Stop by and say hello, and this post has been pinned!
Thanks so much Melynda! 💜
Hi! I’m new to the Wednesday link up. I also love when hydrangea turn that blush hue! Thanks for the drying tips!
Thanks for stopping by, Marie. Please join us for another link party on Sunday. Sundays on Silverado
These look beautiful! We have hydrangeas too. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from Your Whims Wednesday link up today. 🙂
Thank you for all these great tips on how to try hydrangeas! I have a few hydrangea bushes and I’ll definitely be using these tips to dry the flowers. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Farmhouse Friday!
You’re so welcome, Michelle. I’m glad you found my tips useful. 💜
My hydrangeas are ready to be dried. Because of our rainy summer, the blooms are on the small side but they’ll still look cute in an arrangement. This year I’m going to try the hairspray protection, haven’t done that before. Thanks for the tip!
You’re welcome, Marie. Small or large, ALL hydrangeas are beautiful in my opinion. 🙂
Thank you for the tips! My hydrangeas did not bloom this year!! My husband pruned them in the early spring, and apparently they only bloom on old wood? Yours are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing at Embracing Home and Family! I hope you will continue to join us!
They look so gorgeous! Thanks for the tips and inspiration over at Charming Homes & Gardens!
Great tips! Hydrangeas are my favorites too. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.
I’ve never tried drying hydrangeas before, I think I will try your method. Will they keep the color once dry? I’m hoping so.