How to dry hydrangeas to use in floral arrangements and centers

When the dazzling color of summer fades on your hydrangeas, it's time to prepare them for a second life in a beautiful dried bouquet.

Beloved by gardeners for their beauty, versatility, and ease of cultivation, hydrangeas are a popular choice for dried arrangements that can be displayed for years.

Once dried, hydrangea blossoms blend beautifully with other dried flowers, can be used in wreaths, or presented as unique, statement pieces. And best of all, the process is easy, even for beginners. You just need to be in tune with your flowers, observe and experiment.

how to dry a hydrangea

How to select and dry hydrangea flowers

Although varieties with more compact pom-pom flowers, such as Endless Summer, dry better, hydrangeas with cone-shaped panicle flowers also work very well. Regardless of the variety, wait until near the end of the season and cut back any flowers that are beginning to dry naturally on the bush.

If you cut them too early, they will wither. Pay particular attention to the leaves, which will begin to feel papery and less crisp, and the petals, which will begin to curl as the colors fade. It is advisable to wait until late summer or even early fall for varieties that bloom later.

Control the color of your dried hydrangeas

Preserved hydrangeas are cut at the peak of their bloom and processed with chemicals to maintain their color. However, during the natural drying process, hydrangeas take on subtle antique shades of green, pink, beige, aquamarine, and lavender.

If your hydrangeas change color throughout their growing season, cut them back to dry when they are in the color range you want for your final bouquet. Most hydrangea flowers start out a certain color, such as green or white, and then change to another color, such as pink or red. Cut the flower when it is the shade of color you want, but before it turns brown.

Processes of how to dry hydrangeas

Results will vary depending on the method you use to dry your hydrangea flowers.

  • Dry hydrangeas by hanging them

Hydrangeas can be air dried in a vase or hung by string. In my experience, I prefer to hang them upside down, as this speeds up the drying process and minimizes crushing of the petals.

To start, cut the hydrangeas with clean, sharp shears, leaving stems 12 to 18 inches in length. Then, use a clothespin to attach the stem to a string, allowing the

flower hang upside down. Be sure to hang the flowers in a dry, dark place. Moisture and cool weather prolong drying time, while excessive direct light can cause colors to fade.

  • Dry hydrangeas in a vase

If you have a smaller number of hydrangeas, you can use a slightly different method. It is not necessary to hang them upside down to dry, unless the stems are very thin and brittle.

Start by cutting the hydrangeas from the bush with clean, sharp shears, leaving stems about 12 to 18 inches in length. Then, remove the leaves from the stems. Arrange the flowers in a vase, either with or without water. After the water evaporates, the hydrangeas will dry out naturally. Drying time will depend on the size and moisture content of the flowers.

  • drying hydrangeas with silica

If you want a brighter, midsummer-like hue in your dried bouquets, you can use silica, a material found in many craft stores. This method allows the flowers to be dried with less discoloration. However, you should keep in mind that silica can be expensive, but it is the best way to preserve the vibrant colors of the flowers.

To dry your hydrangeas with silica, choose a container that is wide and deep enough for the hydrangea flower to fit without touching the sides or bottom, as its shape could be damaged if it rests against the container. Carefully pour the silica around the flower and between each individual petal to suspend it in the crystals. Then, let the hydrangea dry out for about four days. This way, it should keep its original shade.

In short, drying hydrangeas for use in flower arrangements and centerpieces is a fabulous way to extend the beauty of these captivating blooms. Whether you choose to hang them upside down, dry them in a vase, or use silica, the drying process gives you the chance to appreciate their transformation and capture their allure in a splendid dried bouquet.

Whether you want to create a unique statement piece or mix it with other dried flowers , dried hydrangeas will add a touch of elegance and lasting charm to your home. Don't be afraid to experiment with different colors and drying techniques to get the results you want.

So, on your next walk in the garden, don't forget to collect some hydrangeas to dry and enjoy their beauty for a long time. Dare to explore the exciting world of dried flower arrangements with these beautiful flowers!