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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 and used in flower arrangements. One of the best flowers for drying is the hydrangea flower.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2018
Pink Hydrangea Macrophylla
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.
Pink Hydrangea
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. 
Hydrangea Flowers In White Vase
On drying the blooms, they can be used 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.
Pink Hydrangea Flower
A fresh bloom needs to mature and widen in diameter. There is still a lot of natural moisture in them.
Leave them on the plant and let them dry 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. Picking the right time can vary based on the type of hydrangea and the external temperature.
Hydrangea
Try to feel the texture of petals. Fresh blooms are very soft and fine to touch. A papery texture is a sign that it's time to dry them.
The more a hydrangea is left to bloom before drying, the more it gets a rich, long 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
Dried hydrangea plant
This is the most popular method to dry hydrangeas. If you leave the flowers in water for long or put excess or too less water, they may not dry properly.
  • Prune or cut a bloom off the plant with a 10-18 inch long stem.
  • Cut all the leaves off the stems.
  • Place the stems in a vase or cup of fresh water, half dipped, that is, half stem is out of water and half inside water.
  • Try to keep space between the stems, so that they do not touch each other. While drying naturally, 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.
Drying Hydrangea Upside Down
Pink Hydrangea Flowers
It is useful if stems on which blooms grow are weak or thin. Dried blooms are delicate, 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.
Drying 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 the split stems in warm water for few hours or overnight to condition them. For solution, mix 2 parts of very hot water with 1 part glycerin and mix well.
  • Let the mixture cool off and turn warm, then place the stems in the solution.
  • Use a plastic container for the solution and mark the height of the solution, when you first put the stems.
  • At least 2 inch of stem should be covered by the solution. Check the solution and when it starts reducing, add 4 parts water and 1 part glycerin to make up for lost part.
  • The stems should be undisturbed for 1-3 weeks. Keep replacing the solution until there is a decrease in speed of absorption. Once all solution is absorbed, the flowers are dried.
Drying 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.
Dried hydrangea flowers
If you are not displaying dried blooms immediately, keep them in air-tight plastic bags. Do not display hydrangea blooms in sun-lit areas as they fade faster. Dried blooms retain the color, texture for atleast a year, irrespective of the method used to dry them.