Different Ways to Dry Hydrangea Flowers

Different Ways to Dry Hydrangea Flowers You Probably Didn't Know

The art of preserving flowers can take place through natural means, involving just water or the usage of artificial materials. Once dried, the flowers can be colored or displayed and used in flower arrangements. One of the best flowers for drying is the hydrangea flower. Scroll below, to learn how to dry such flowers.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2018
There is no prettier sight than a blooming fragrant plant, its branches full of flowers displayed to their best. But blooms will one day fade away and then there's nothing left to do but to snip them off and throw them. However with certain flowering plants, like the Hydrangea species, the blooms can be preserved or dried and then displayed for a long period of time. Hydrangeas are extremely beautiful, vibrantly colored and picturesque flowers, either in a lacecap or mophead flower pattern. On drying the blooms, one can use them to make centerpieces and hyrdrangea flower arrangements and they make a distinctive presence in a vase as well.

When Should Hydrangea Blooms be Dried?

Along with knowing how to dry hydrangea flowers, one must consider the best time for cutting the blooms off the plant. You may be highly tempted to cut and then dry hydrangea blooms, when they are looking their most beautiful and are at the peak of their coloring but this is the worst possible time to dry them. A fresh bloom needs to mature and widen in diameter. Plus there is still a lot of natural moisture in them. Leave them on the plant and let them dry there for some time.

The best time is at the end of summer, at which time the blooms will attain a deep, more uniform color. When the blooms start to turn brown, it's too late to dry them. The rainy season is also a bad time to dry hydrangeas, as the flowers will quickly turn brown. So picking the right time can vary based on the type of hydrangea and the external temperature. Try feeling the texture of the petals. Fresh blooms are very soft and fine to the touch. A papery texture is a sign that it's time to dry them. The more a hydrangea is left to bloom prior to drying, the more the flower attains a richer and longer lasting color. So a paperish, firmer and drier feel to the flower, along with a completely open bloom is needed for a perfectly dried hydrangea.

Ways to Dry Hydrangeas

How to Dry Hydrangeas in Water
This is the most popular and the most easiest method of drying hydrangeas. The only issue with this method is negligence, where if you leave the flowers in the water for a long time or put too much or too little water in the jar, they might not dry properly.
  • Prune or cut a bloom off the plant along with a 10-18 inches long stem.
  • Cut all the leaves off the stems.
  • Place the stems in a vase or cup of fresh water, such that they are half dipped, that is, half the stem is out of the water and half is covered with water.
  • Try to keep some space between the stems, such that they do not touch each other. While drying naturally, the flowers can end up getting squashed together.
  • Do not keep this vase in direct sunlight or very bright light. Rather place the vase in an indoors spot, which is not too cold or hot but is at normal room temperature.
  • The flowers will suck up water as time passes, so the water will evaporate but do not add water to the jar.
  • When the water in the jar is over, the flowers have been dried completely.
The Way to Dry Hydrangeas Upside Down
This method is useful in cases, where the stems on which the blooms grow are weak and very spindly or thin. But the dried blooms are a little more delicate and brittle as compared to water dried hydrangeas.
  • Cut off the blooms with at least 10-18 inches of stem. Trim the leaves off.
  • Using a rubber band or ribbon, tie the stems of the blooms together. Tie up to 6 blooms in a bunch.
  • Hang this bunch of hydrangea blooms upside down in a warm, dry and dark place, which is not humid or moist.
  • The blooms should turn dry and crisp with hard stems in 3-7 weeks.
How to Dry Hydrangeas with Glycerin
The trick with this method is to make the blooms absorb the glycerin in the water and then the blooms will dry up, as glycerin will suck up the moisture from the flowers. Here the blooms must be fresh on the plant itself, so they absorb the glycerin quickly.
  • Cut branches with blooms, such that at least 12-18 inches of stem is retained. Do not use flowers with damaged leaves or stems. Cut the stems at an angle.
  • Cut the lower leaves off the stem. Using a hammer or a knife, cut or smash the stem, to allow for absorption. The stem should be split at least an inch upwards.
  • Leave such split stems in warm water for a few hours or overnight to condition them. For the solution, you must mix 2 parts of very very hot water with 1 part of glycerin and stir well.
  • The glycerin and water should mix well. Let the mixture cool off and turn warm, then place the stems in the solution.
  • Use a plastic container for this solution and mark the height of the solution, when you first put the stems.
  • At least 2 inches of the stem should be covered by the solution. Keep checking the solution and when it starts decreasing, add a solution of 4 parts water and 1 part glycerin to make up for the lost solution.
  • The stems should be left undisturbed for 1-3 weeks. Keep replacing the solution until there is a decrease in the speed of absorption. Once all the solution is absorbed, the flowers are dried.
How to Dry Hydrangeas with Silica Gel
You will need silica gel crystals (available at art-n-crafts stores) and a large plastic container, whose width is 3 inches larger than the amount of blooms, you want to dry. The blooms must be fresh off the plant, like the glycerin method, they must be freshly blooming and opened hydrangeas.
  • Make sure the container is dry and clean, pour silica crystals into it, until a ½ inch thick layer of crystals is formed on the bottom.
  • Cut the bloom off the stem, leave very short stems about 2-3 inches. Remove the leaves.
  • Bunch together the flowers by their stems and hold them over the container. You can also dip one flower at a time.
  • Place the flower into the gel, stem up. Shift the container, such that the gel collects around the flower head and covers it completely. Make sure the silica layer is uniform on top of the petal.
  • If the container is large enough to fit other blooms, do so. Else you will need individual containers per bloom. Leave the bloom in the silica.
  • After 4 days, pour the container's contents on a sheet of newspaper and pluck out the hydrangea bloom. Do not keep blooms for more than 4 days in silica or they will turn very dry. Tap it gently and you can store it in a plastic bag or display them in a vase.
With dried blooms, if you do not want to display them immediately, you can preserve them in sealed, air-tight plastic bags. Do not display hydrangea blooms in sunlight-lit areas, they will fade very fast. Your dried blooms will retain their color and texture for a year at maximum, irrespective of whatever technique is used to dry them.
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