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Marie Iannotti

Gardening Question of the Week: Whatís the Best Way to Dry Hydrangea Flowers?

By July 31, 2008

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Anne emailed me about drying hydrangeas. ďWhatís the best way to dry hydrangea flowers so the color will keep. I hope itís not too late already. Thanks.Ē

No, itís not too late. Hydrangeas donít usually hold all of their color as they dry and the color saturation will vary with varieties. Iíve had the best luck with the water drying method. This sounds contradictory, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Here are several ways to dry hydrangea blossoms, from drying in water, to simply leaving them on the shrub.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.

Comments

July 31, 2008 at 11:39 am
(1) Allison says:

Good advice, maybe now I can part with some of my blooms in the garden. It’s hard to cut them off, though.

July 31, 2008 at 4:29 pm
(2) gardening says:

Be brave. If you cut them now, you’ll have them all winter.

August 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm
(3) Mary G Anderson says:

I have 3 large hydrangeas. I have kept them watered, but they stay wilted. They look like they are struggling to stay alive. I think the gardener may have gotten weed killer on them several months. Are they a lost cause or should I cut them back or prune them? Thanks for your help. Mary

August 2, 2008 at 11:37 pm
(4) wanda peck says:

I have been drying hydrangeas for years and got my tip from martha stewart. If you wait until sept 1 or later they won’t wilt. the best way is to boil water and also put cold water not iced in the container your putting them in about an inch high. As soon as they are picked dip in hot , place in cold and when the water is gone the flowers will be dry and firm.

August 4, 2008 at 8:19 am
(5) gardening says:

Mary, if you think it’s herbicide damage, there’s not much to do at this point but to keep them watered and be patient. If it was sprayed on, they need time to get it out of their systems. This could take a couple of seasons, before they’re looking lush again. Pruning will just stressed them more.

I’m not sure about giving them some type of fertilizer. It’s late in the season to be encouraging new growth, but spraying the leaves with compost tea might give them a boost.

If the herbicide was used in the soil, you could try incorporating some activated charcoal (1 to 2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft., to a depth of about 6″), to absorb whatever residual is left.

August 4, 2008 at 8:21 am
(6) gardening says:

Wanda, have you tried this method any earlier than Sept. 1st? Some of my hydrangeas bloom very early and don’t look to pristine come September. I’ll give it a try next summer.

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