Tips for Drying Blue Hydrangea Flowers

Tips for Drying Blue Hydrangea Flowers

If you’ve cut blue hydrangeas earlier in the summer intending to dry them, you’ve no doubt been disappointed. But take heart…late August and early September is the time when these big blooms can be successfully cut, provided you choose the right flowers. Here are the tips for success.

  1. Don’t choose the fresh, light blue flowers. The newest blooms will wilt instead of drying, so leave these on the plant. See photos below.
  2. Pick the flowers that have started to turn shades of lavender and have petals that look a bit “papery.”
  3. Cut the flowers in the morning if possible. For drying flowers for a vase cut about 12″ of stem below the flowers. If you only remove up to six flowers per shrub this won’t affect the flowering of next year’s shrub too much.
  4. Remove the leaves immediately.
  5. Some people hang their flowers upside down in a dark area for a week to dry them, but this isn’t necessary. Others put the stems in a vase containing a couple inches of water, and then when the water is gone they don’t refill the vase. This too isn’t really necessary. Neither of these methods is harmful, but if the flowers are cut when they are mature they will dry if you place them in a vase without water.
  6. Keep dried blue hydrangeas away from windows or lights that are on for extended periods; this helps them stay blue and colorful all the way through the winter.

    When the flowers are fresh and a clear blue color the flowers won’t dry well. If the flowers are a clear, true blue, they will wilt.

    See how these flowers are starting to turn lavender and even a greenish-blue color? Those are flowers that are ready to dry.

    Here are some Endless Summer flowers in a shaded spot in August. Because they’ve been protected from the mid-day sun they haven’t turned brown. And because the flowers are mature they are getting that papery quality that allows them to dry well.

    Many people think that the variety of colors these plants take on in the fall is more attractive than when they are all a clear blue. In any case, we can enjoy that true-blue color on the shrub all summer and the range of blues, purples, pinks and more on the dried flowers in the fall.

    The pinkish panicle hydrangeas, and the green smooth hydrangeas can be dried as well. Choose flowers that haven’t turned brown, although dark petals here and there can be cut out of an otherwise pretty flower using scissors.

    Other articles you might be interested in are our post about cutting off brown hydrangea flowers in the fall, and our printable handout on how to prune mophead and lacecap hydrangeas.

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