What if I told you that you could enjoy your hydrangeas in your home for months to come? Here are a few simple ideas for how to dry hydrangeas for your fall home decor. Check out these easy methods to dry your garden hydrangeas so you’ll be decorating for fall with beautiful dried hydrangeas in no time.
Hydrangeas are beautiful flowers that make a stunning statement, whether they are in the garden or indoors.
But what I like best about hydrangeas is how their blooms take on an entirely different look towards the end of their growing season as they dramatically change colors and start to dry out.
I love hydrangeas more towards the end of the season when they take on more of a vintage vibe. There are many hydrangea varieties available and their old-fashioned appearance fits right in with any cottage-style decor.
When Should You Pick Hydrangeas for Drying?
When you start the drying process for your hydrangeas, timing is everything.
The ideal time to cut hydrangeas to dry is the end of the growing season, from August (late summer) to October (early fall), depending on your location and the variety of the flower. Here in the Pacific Northwest in garden zone 8b, I usually harvest hydrangeas in late summer.
Look for when the larger petals are starting to change color and start feeling papery. If the blooms are white, or a bright, vibrant color like pink or blue, they are most likely too soon to cut and dry.
If you cut hydrangea blooms too soon, they will still be holding too much moisture and will shrivel up. Make sure you don’t cut hydrangeas if there is morning dew on them, or if it has rained on them.
How to Dry Hydrangeas and Keep Their Color
Drying hydrangeas is a wonderful way to preserve their beauty and add a touch of charm to your fall home decor.
First off, like I said earlier in the post, it’s essential to pick the right time for cutting. Wait until the blooms have reached their peak color and are starting to feel slightly papery. Once you’ve got the perfect blooms, strip off any excess leaves and cut the stems at an angle.
As for the drying part, patience is key.
Remember, the secret to keeping those colors intact is gentle handling and providing the right conditions for drying.
3 Easy Ways to Dry Hydrangeas
How to Start the Drying Process for Every Method
Wait to start all the drying methods until the hydrangea blooms are mature, but not completely dried out. The best time to do this is usually towards the end of the growing season, typically in late summer or early autumn.
Gently examine the blooms and choose the ones that:
Depending on where you live and the type of hydrangea you have in the garden, the timeline for drying can be anywhere from late summer to early autumn.
1. Drying Hydrangeas in a Vase or Container of Water
This drying method is a combination of drying naturally on the bush, and then indoors, in a vase with water. You want to let the water evaporate naturally.
Step 1: Cut the hydrangea flower heads in the morning when it’s cooler. Use sharp shears or pruners to cut the stems at an angle. Strip off the leaves because they are huge water drinkers, and will steal hydration from the bloom.
Step 2: Add the hydrangeas to a vase or container with 2-3 inches of fresh water and leave them there for about 2-3 weeks.
To make sure that all the stems are not overcrowding one another, stagger the stem heights so that each flower head gets good circulation.
Step 3: If necessary, add water to the vase:
As the hydrangeas are drying, keep them out of direct sunlight to help decrease the fading. The process is complete when the heads are dry and stiff.
When using this method to dry hydrangeas, the colors tend to be more vibrant and the flower is less fragile than drying without water. By putting the hydrangeas in water, their color is better preserved.
2. Drying Hydrangeas Indoors Without Water and Upside Down
Step 1: Choose the hydrangeas that feel slightly dry to the touch and have started to change color.
Step 2: Using sharp pruning shears, cut the flowers from the bush, leaving a longer length of stem (12-18″) attached to each bloom to hang them. Make clean cuts to avoid damaging the stem.
Step 3: Once you’ve harvested the hydrangea blooms, remove any excess foliage and gather them into small bunches.
Step 4: Tie the stems together with a string or rubber band, and then hang the bunches upside down in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. Make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight to avoid fading.
Step 5: Allow the hydrangeas to air-dry until they feel papery and the petals have stiffened. Drying time is generally about two to three weeks.
Step 6: After a few weeks, check the blooms to ensure they are fully dry. The petals should be crispy to the touch, and the stems should be firm. If the hydrangeas still feel slightly soft, give them more time to dry.
3. Drying Hydrangeas with Silica Gel
Experts say that using silica gel is a great way to dry fresh blooms or flowers that have just opened and have not had time to naturally dry on the plant.
Step 1: Select fresh hydrangea blooms with sturdy petals.
Step 2: Trim the stems to your desired length and remove any excess leaves.
Step 3: Find a deep container that can accommodate the hydrangea blooms without crowding.
Step 4: Fill the container with silica gel, making sure that it covers the bottom entirely.
Step 5: Carefully place the hydrangea blooms face up in the container and gently cover them with more silica gel, making sure not to crush the petals.
Step 6: Seal the container with a lid and let it sit for about three to five days. The silica gel will slowly absorb the moisture from the hydrangeas, leaving them perfectly dried while maintaining their original colors and form.
Step 7: Once the drying process is complete, carefully remove the blooms from the silica gel.
The silica gel method is a simple and effective way to enjoy the beauty of dried hydrangeas all year round.
Other Tips for Drying Hydrangeas
Drying Hydrangeas Naturally on the Bush is as Easy as It Gets
This method allows the hydrangea blooms to continue to grow more intense in color and become more papery to the touch as they continue to grow on the bush outdoors.
It’s crucial not to leave the hydrangeas on the bush too long before harvesting, or the blooms will eventually turn brown.
How to Dry Hydrangeas with Hairspray
Drying hydrangeas with hairspray is a quick and simple method that helps preserve their colors and prevent them from wilting.
Step 1: Pick mature hydrangea blooms with vibrant colors and free from any moisture.
Step 2: Cut the stems at your desired length and remove any excess foliage.
Step 3: Arrange the blooms in a vase or hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area.
Step 4: Once they are positioned, hold a can of hairspray about 12 inches away from the blooms and give them a light, even coat of hairspray. Make sure to cover all sides of the blooms to protect them thoroughly.
Step 5: Allow the hairspray to dry for a few minutes.
The hairspray creates a protective barrier that helps the hydrangeas retain their colors and prevents them from drying out too quickly. This simple method allows you to enjoy your beautiful dried hydrangeas for an extended period.
What to Do With Dried Hydrangeas
There are many ways you can enjoy your dried hydrangea blooms in your home decor.
Common Questions About Drying Hydrangea Blooms
How Long Do Dried Hydrangeas Last?
The longevity of dried hydrangeas depends on various factors such as the drying method used, the environmental conditions they are exposed to, and how well they are handled and stored.
On average, dried hydrangeas can last anywhere from several months to a few years. Keep dried hydrangea blossoms out of direct light or humidity to keep them lasting longer.
How to Preserve Dried Hydrangeas
To preserve dried hydrangeas, keep them in a dry environment away from direct sunlight to prevent fading. Handle them gently, remove dust regularly, and consider using a floral spray or hairspray for extra protection.
How Do You Dry Hydrangeas So They Keep Their Color?
To dry hydrangeas while preserving their color, cut the blooms at their peak, remove excess foliage, and keep them in a dry, well-ventilated, and cool spot with no bight light for about two to three weeks.
When Should You Pick Hydrangeas for Drying?
You should pick hydrangeas for drying when the blooms have reached their peak color and have started to change slightly, typically towards the end of the growing season, usually in late summer or early autumn.
Should You Spray Dried Flowers with Hairspray?
Yes, you can spray dried flowers with hairspray to help add an extra layer of protection, maintain their shape, and prevent petals from becoming brittle. However, it’s essential to use hairspray sparingly and from a distance to avoid making the blooms appear unnatural or sticky.
Whether you choose air drying, water drying, silica gel, or other methods, the key is to pick the hydrangea blooms at the right time when their colors are at their peak.
By following simple steps like removing excess foliage and providing proper drying conditions, you can retain the vibrant colors and shape of the hydrangeas successfully.
Use one of these simple and easy methods of drying hydrangeas to create fall floral arrangements, a holiday wreath, or to add to your favorite craft projects.
If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these tips useful.
Until next time,
Happy Hydrangea Drying!
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