I was recently asked for tips on drying hydrangea flowers so here is my summary of what I have learnt over the years through trial and error and research.
The first step is to pick the hydrangea flowers at the correct stage. You need to wait until the flower heads start to change from white to slightly coloured. I only have Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in my garden so it is those I am mainly talking about although these methods do apply to other types.
Note that the middle of the bracts (what we usually think of as the flowers) are still intact
Starting to change colour and texture and the middle of each bract is starting to dry and fall off.
If you brush or gently shake them they should not be shedding too many ‘bits’ as these should have fallen off.
Once the flowers are at the correct stage for picking choose a dry day and start after any dew has dried off the flowers. Then strip off any leaves.
I use several of the following methods for drying –
1) Pick and place into a vase with about 3 inches of water and do not top it up. Always cut the stems on an angle so there is a larger surface to take up the water. These can be enjoyed fresh and they will slowly dry out. Useful for straight strong stems.
2) Cut and gather stems together. Use an elastic band or tie them and hang upside down in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.
3) For smaller heads with delicate stems I place them into a basket or box and leave to dry. It is also these smaller ones that I would use fresh to add to a wreath and allow them to dry in place
Here I am weaving fresh thin stem hydrangea on to a vine wreath and leaving them to dry
Do not be disappointed if they don’t all dry well. Some flower heads snap off or some are too delicate and crumble, or they just dry brown. I save all these and nothing goes to waste.
Fallen petals go in to my dried petal confetti, broken heads get used as packaging or in containers when I’m making dried flower arrangements
As you can probably tell… I really love hydrangea!
I hope you have enjoyed this guide to drying hydrangea and will decide to have a go at it yourself. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.