Hydrangeas are a favorite in this neck of the woods. They give the garden such wonderful color each summer, with blossoms of pinks, blues, whites, lavenders and many other hues. And there is no reason you have to stop the enjoyment as the season comes to a close. Dried hydrangeas make for terrific arrangements in your home that can last for seasons to come.
Here are a few easy steps to dry your hydrangeas:
Let the flowers start to dry naturally on the plants. This will start happening soon, usually from later August through October. You’ll know they’re ready when the petals start to look “vintage”, or when they have the color of parchment paper and they may also feel papery.
Don’t cut hydrangeas when the blooms are at their peak, or during a rainy period. The stems and leaves will hold too much water and won’t allow the flowers to dry fast enough to stay beautiful. Cut the flowers on a cool morning. The stems should be cut at an angle, at lengths between 12 to 18 inches. Strip off the leaves and put the stems in a jar of water that covers the stems about halfway up. Don’t overcrowd the flowers. The different lengths of stems will help keep them at different heights, so they get good air flow. Put the jar in a cool spot out of direct/bright light. In about two weeks the dried blooms should be ready. If they don’t look like they are just add a little more water and give them more time.
You can also hang the stems upside down to dry, individually or in small gatherings. Try to keep them in a cool, dry spot out of direct sun.
Dry the blooms with glycerin. You can purchase glycerin from most grocery or drugstores. Snip the stems at an angle and strip off the leaves. Squash the ends of the stems with a mallet. Mix two-parts water to one-part glycerin in a jar and add the flowers. As the stems take up the mixture, the glycerin turns the petals golden brown. They’re ready when the water evaporates. If you like, you can add a drop of dye to the jar for a hint of color.
Enjoy your dried hydrangea flowers in vases, wreaths, bouquets and center pieces. As long as they’re kept out of direct light and humidity, they should last indefinitely.