Preserving the Beauty of Hydrangeas by Drying Them
I love hydrangeas – the varying shades of blue, pink and lavender. Now, there is a way to preserve these lovely blooms and use them indoors.
You can easily create an indoor “laboratory” to dry these beautiful blooms.
This will usually start in mid-summer. The hydrangea blooms are ready to harvest for drying six to seven weeks after the flower opens. If you’re in an extremely hot region or your plants are in the sun for several hours a day, your flowers might be ready earlier. The blooms are ready when they feel a bit papery and the stems are not as supple as they were earlier in the spring or summer.
You’ll want to cut the blooms when it’s cool, preferably early in the morning. And, prepare a bucket of water to place them in. Collect the flower heads, looking for nice flowers with no dead petals, etc. Cut the stems at an angle, strip the leaves from the stem and place the cutting in the bucket. Select and cut a variety of lengths so you’ll have a nice selection of blooms in varying heights to work with later.
Next, bring them inside and recut the stems (at a slant) if necessary to achieve the height you desire. Place them in glass jars with four to five inches of water in each jar. You’ll want about six stems per jar, with varying heights so the air can circulate around each bloom which will hasten the drying process. Then, place your jars in various locations in your home, keeping them out of direct sunlight or bright light. (I frequently use one of my guest bathrooms just for the purpose of drying flowers.) Usually the drying process takes one to two weeks but if they’re still not dry after that length of time, simply add more water and give them a little more drying time.
The dried hydrangea flower will fade to a beautiful muted hue of its original bright color. Once they are completely dry, you can use them in dry flower arrangements, wreaths, topiaries or just arrange in a vase for a simple but beautiful look. Providing you display them away from direct sunlight and humidity, your preserved hydrangea blooms will last indefinitely.
I especially like to use the dried hydrangea flowers in spring and Easter bouquets and arrangements. I wrap a few stems of varying lengths and hang them upside down in one of my bedroom closets. I use a lightweight plastic bag (the type you get from the dry cleaners) to keep them dust free until I’m ready to use them. I can then store them in their vases, etc. until the next year, again “wrapping” them in these lightweight bags.