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How to dry hydrangeas and preserve the color of flowers? The best methods with instructions

  • DIY

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowers for the garden and decorate it from July to September, depending on the variety. If you want to enjoy the stunning flowers even longer, you can dry some hydrangeas and admire their beauty all year round. What methods are possible and how to do it properly to preserve the color of flowers, we reveal in the article!

When and how to cut hydrangeas for drying

When and how to cut hydrangea for drying

The hardest part about drying hydrangeas is cutting the blooms at the right time. While it’s tempting to cut hydrangeas when they’re in full bloom, they’ll have too much moisture in them to dry quickly enough to retain their shape and beauty. If you cut them too late, however, they will only turn brown. The best time to cut is when you notice a change in the color of the flowers and the petals feel papery. Depending on the hydrangea variety, this may be between July and October. You may find brown spots on the flowers at this time, but you can remove these before or after drying.

You should make sure when choosing flowers that they are mature and their color is still intense. Be careful when pruning so as not to damage the delicate flowers.

Cut hydrangeas in the morning after the dew has dried from the petals. Using sharp scissors or pruning shears, cut the stems at an angle so they are 30 to 45 inches long. Pull off the leaves and place the inflorescences in a bucket of water. Be selective when cutting – drying highlights the imperfections of the flowers. Select the best blooms to dry and let the rest grace the garden.

How do you dry hydrangeas? The methods at a glance

How to dry hydrangea without color loss

To preserve the beautiful hydrangea blooms, there are a few tried and true methods:

  • Dry hydrangeas in a vase with water.
  • Put them in a solution of glycerin and water
  • Use the hairspray method to preserve the flowers
  • Use silica gel for intensely colored blooms
  • Hang upside down in an airy place
  • Dry hydrangeas on the bush

Regardless of the method you choose, you will not get the same vibrant color as the plant growing in the garden. The color you can achieve with dried hydrangeas is more of a muted mix of greens, grays, blues, pinks and purples that look beautiful together.

Hydrangea flowers dried in the vase

Dry the flowers in a vase with water.

This is one of the best ways to dry hydrangea flowers. Uncomplicated and without special means, it always promises good results.

It may seem counterproductive, but drying hydrangeas in vases with water helps preserve their color. Place the stems in vases or other transparent containers and fill them with water until the stem is submerged a few inches. Don’t fill the vases too full. Each flower needs good air circulation to dry and space to maintain a good shape. If you are drying multiple flower heads in a vase, try to stagger the length of the stems so that each flower has enough room.

Place the vase somewhere in the apartment where you can enjoy the flowers as they dry. Just make sure they are not exposed to direct sunlight. Let the water evaporate naturally as the flowers dry. The entire process can take two or more weeks. If the water has evaporated before the flowers are dry, you can refill the vase.

The dried flowers are ready for use when the petals feel stiff and the stem snaps off slightly.

Drying hydrangea with glycerin instructions tips


Drying hydrangeas with glycerine

If you want to preserve the beautiful flowers of hydrangeas without loss of color, then the method with glycerin is perfect. This will preserve not only the color, but also the softness of the petals. Glycerin can be found in any pharmacy or drugstore.

To preserve the flowers using this method, you should first make a glycerin solution of glycerin and water in a ratio of 1:2 (for example, 100 ml of glycerin to 200 ml of water). Then place the stem, cut at an angle, in the solution and wait for the flowers to absorb it completely. After the water evaporates, only the glycerin remains and the flowers are successfully preserved, without any loss of color.

Drying hydrangeas with hairspray

Dried hydrangeas in vases as decoration

Another simple method of drying hydrangeas, is spraying the petals with hairspray – a tool that many people have at home. Instead, use an aerosol and spray the hydrangea flowers generously with the spray. Tie the stems of the flowers into a bouquet and place them in a dry place, such as a closet, until the flowers and stems are dry and crisp to the touch.

Tip: If you want to keep the color of your hydrangeas as true as possible, try using a dry hair spray. To dry the flower balls quickly, use hairspray with extra strong hold.

Silica gel for color-fast flowers

How to dry hydrangea flowers with silica gel


If you want to try to preserve the vibrant colors of hydrangeas that are typically found in mid-summer, you should use silica gel to dry them. You can buy silica gel or silica gel – a type of natural mineral – in powder form at most craft or hobby stores, as well as garden centers. You will still need an airtight container large enough to hold the flower ball.

This method requires a gentle touch. Add a layer of silica gel to the bottom of the container and gently place the flower on top. Then carefully fill more powder around the flower and between each petal, enclosing the entire ball. Be sure to maintain the shape of the flower while you fill the powder, and avoid pressing the flower against the container. It may take about 4 days for the hydrangea to dry with the silica gel. Then you can take it out and empty the container. This method is the best choice to preserve the colors of the flowers in their full glory.

Tip: You can achieve similar results using washing powder or kitty litter instead of silica gel.

Hang hydrangeas and air dry them.

You can also air dry your blooms by hanging the individual stems upside down in a cool, dry place. Air-dried hydrangeas tend to be a bit more brittle than their water-dried counterparts, but they are still beautiful.

Hang hydrangeas upside down and let them air dry

Can hydrangeas be left to dry on the bush?

If you want to have beautiful dried hydrangea flowers without any effort, you can not cut off the faded inflorescences in late summer and leave them on the bush over the winter. All you have to do now is wait. By spring, the hydrangeas should be dried right on the bush, but the color will not be preserved. A pale beige color would be expected. Nevertheless, the winter cold can successfully dry the hydrangeas, so you can use them for decoration and crafts.

Use dried hydrangea on the bush for decoration