You all know how much I love my hydrangeas. And part of the reason I love them is that they are the gift that keeps on giving. All year long.
Pretty on the bush.
Pretty off the bush.
Pretty all shriveled up and dried out (if only people could look as good all shriveled up and dried out).
Guide To Drying Hydrangeas
1. When To Cut
Cut the flowers in the late summer or early fall (generally August or later depending on the area you live). You want to wait until a few weeks AFTER they have fully bloomed and they are on their downward swing. They should feel a bit papery at this point.
Trying to dry freshly bloomed hydrangea will just end in heartache and despair. And a trip to the liquor store. Or in my case, a trip to the convenience store for a bag of Peanut M&M’s.
These ones that I am showing you are being cut too soon, but I wanted to show you how I do it. They are taking one for the team.
2. How To Cut
Cut the stem 12-18″ down from the hydrangea blooms. This will give you enough stem to play with later.
3. Strip Those Leaves
Peel off the leaves from the stems. Leaves don’t dry well and just get in the way when you’re trying to arrange the blooms.
4. Neglect Is The Name Of The Game
Place your newly cut stems in a vase or jar with just a few inches of water.
Set them on a table somewhere and forget about them.
Seriously, just leave them be.
Don’t replace the water after it’s gone, don’t play around with them, don’t tell them how pretty they are. Just let the water evaporate by itself over the next few weeks and the hydrangea blooms should be dried by the time the water is gone.
Presto chango, dried hydrangea blooms and you barely had to lift a finger.
Now, I have been drying hydrangeas like this for over 20 years. No one ever TOLD me how to do it that way, I would just stick them in the jar, admire them and then totally forget about ever watering them again. Next thing you know I would look at them and they’d be all dried.
I’m a natural at this.
One tip I would give you is to dry them in something that you want to keep them in. Once they dry, they sort of “stick” together and tend to crumble when you manhandle them. I like mason jars because I can then just slip the mason jars, blooms and all, in other things (baskets, vases, crates) and give the arrangement a whole new look.
Your dried hydrangeas can last for years. I think the record for mine have been about five years, but honestly at that point they had begun to become a spider breeding ground. Best to throw them away before they get to that point.
If you want to get even lazier, you can leave them on the bush until they dry themselves. It really depends just how lazy you really want to be.
Me? I’m a medium lazy kind of girl.
Edited To Add:
How To Dry Hydrangeas With Hairspray
A lot of people find this article by Googling the question “How To Dry Hydrangeas With Hairspray“. Although it is not a step I normally do, the theory is that if you lightly spray them with an aerosol hairspray after all the blooms are dried, it helps keep the little florets from falling off when you brush up against them.
Again, I do not normally do this, but a lot of people swear by it so there has to be something to the drying hydrangeas with hairspray theory!
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure policy here.)