How to dry hydrangeas – our easy guide to preserving flowers at home


If you already know when to plant hydrangeas, chances are you've watched them grow in your garden and observed longingly as the brightly petalled flowers fade away, wishing you could preserve them somehow.

The good news is that although the color of hydrangeas changes to a more muted shade once dried, you'll still have a beautifully full flower blossom that remains.

The most popular method of drying hydrangeas is with water – although that might sound a little counterintuitive. Jo Lambell, founder of Beards and Daisies, explains the process:

– Whether you grow hydrangeas in pots or in the ground, cut your hydrangeas at an angle so there's at least 12in (30cm) or so of the stem. – Remove the leaves from the stems and place them in a vase of water, covering about half of the stems. Though it may seem counterproductive, using water actually helps to slow down the drying process, otherwise, the flowers can turn brown. – Keep your vase somewhere cool, and out of direct sunlight as this will damage the petals. – As the water evaporates, the flowers will begin to dry out. By the time all the water has disappeared (usually in a week or two), your hydrangeas will be perfectly dried and ready to use for whatever purpose you'd like.


If you don't fancy the water drying method detailed above, it's certainly possible to learn how to dry flowers like hydrangeas using just the air – but these can become a little more brittle than their water-dried counterparts. For this method, hang each individual stem upside down and secure to a line with a clothes peg or some twine. Choose a spot that's cool and doesn't receive direct sunlight, then wait a few weeks.

Bear in mind that it's not necessary to hang them upside down though – only if you think the stems are thin enough that they might break under the weight of the flower bloom during the drying process. A top tip to test their readiness is to try snapping the dried stem. If it's easy to snap then your hydrangeas are fully dried out.


If you're planning to dry your favorite hydrangea varieties, it's best to leave the blooms on the plant until they've gone slightly past their prime. That way, their natural tendency to start drying at the end of the season works in your favor. Late summer is usually your best bet. There's a sweet spot, though. Picking them too early will result in their leaves shrivelling up, while leaving them too late will cause the blooms to turn brown, which won't look particularly nice when dried. Check-in on your flowers about six weeks after they've opened. Jo Lambell tells us, 'You'll want to cut your stems when your hydrangea is just past its peak – wait until it has fully bloomed and you can see some of the petals becoming thinner and more papery. This is your time!'

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