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how to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting


    I learned the best secret for keeping hydrangeas from wilting and I can’t wait to share it with you.

    Ryan brought me home these gorgeous white hydrangeas a few weeks ago. I would have been thrilled with roses or tulips or whatever flower he presented, but I love that he chose hydrangeas. They are my favorite.


    The problem is, they never last long. After a day or so of being cut, the blooms begin to wilt. About three days later, they are completely done.


    But guess what I just learned (from an instagram conversation)? Hydrangeas take in water from their PETALS! I had no idea.


    So here’s how to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting:

    1. Cut stems at an angle

    2. Put cut stems in water right away

    3. Once per day, gently mist petals (I use a spray bottle like this but have been eying a pretty one like this)

    4. If the blooms start to wilt, shock them back by dunking the whole flower head in warm water for a few minutes

    The bouquet of white hydrangeas Ryan brought home lasted for just over two weeks when watered this way. For real. This new way of watering the flowers has changed my hydrangea-loving life.


    29 thoughts on “how to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting”

    1. I have a few tips to add that I picked up elsewhere. The minute you cut the hydrangeas outside have a cup of water with you to put them in. Remove leaves. Once inside, take a meat tenderizing mallet and gently tap the bottom of each stem so it’s shredded. This allows much needed water in more easily. You also cut the bottom of the stem vertically a few times. Change base water every few days.

      I am amazed at how well these tips work to prolong the life of my cut hydrangeas!

    2. This works incredibly well. Thanks so much! I bought hydrangeas for a dinner party, and by the time I got them home they had started wilting. I cut a fresh end and placed them in fresh water, but by the next morning, only one stem was even a possibility. I resigned myself to buying more JUST before the guests arrived [not at all convenient!] when I found this posting. I filled the sink with tepid water and dunked them all. Over the course of one hour, with frequent turning since they were so very wilted, every stem regained it’s “fresh-cut” look. It’s amazing and I would never have thought to do this. I do love hydrangeas and now won’t hesitate to buy them again.

    3. Oh my goodness.

      I just tried this after a desperate google search! I received the most beautiful arrangement of white calla lilies and hydrangeas. The hydrangeas started to droop after just one day following delivery of the arrangement. I thought I would have to throw them out, but thanks to Google and your website, I tried dunking them headfirst into a bucket and also cut its stems under water. I then let them dry in a vase on the windowsill where they got quite a bit of sun. After an hour or so, they started to look as good as new and I returned them to the arrangement.

      Wonderful! I’ll never overlook hydrangeas as a cut flower now.

    4. I dried my hydrangeas by cutting off the leaves and putting them in a vase half filled with water until it evaporated. They are beautiful and stayed the same color as when they were alive!!

    5. I work in a florist shop, and whenever we get fresh cut hydrangeas, we flip them upside down and soak the petal end of the flower in a bucket of water for half an hour. Crazy, I know! But after processing them in this way, they last a very long time, just gently lift them out (they get VERY heavy) and let them dry out a bit before designing your arrangement. I don’t know if this trick would work on garden hydrangeas, but it is worth a shot!

    6. I was just complaining to my friend about the hydrangeas from TJ dying in two days. I definitely will try your suggestion…thanks.

    7. Thanks Emily. This just happened with my last purchase of white hydrangeas ( mixed with green for SuperBowl Sunday!). I was too lazy to look up a solution so I appreciate the tip! I am going to share!

    8. So excited to see this post! Moving to our new house soon and we will have hydrangeas next to the house! Can’t wait to enjoy them in the house too :) Thank you for the great tips!

    9. That is interesting. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that before. I bought a bunch of white hydrangeas at Costco recently (because I love them!) and they lasted for a good 3 1/2 weeks. Every time they started to get droopy, I just cut the stems an inch or so shorter (under water) and put them back in the vase. But still, 3 1/2 weeks was amazing to me! Costco flowers seem to last longer than others.

    10. So glad to know this! I’m looking forward to the hydrangeas in our yard blooming, but I was already thinking about how they only look nice for 2 days after I bring them in. Great tip!

    11. Have you had any luck drying them? I don’t use any fake flowers in my house (thanks to Nate Berkus). I have not had much luck getting them to dry out without totally falling apart. Thanks for the tip on keeping them longer. I have two bushes and I love to cut them in the summer.

      1. Rebecca if you look carefully at center of the flower there is a tiny bud. When this starts to open, it’s time to cut your flowers for drying. Put them in a vase but do NOT water them. They will dry beautifully on their own.

    12. I have several plants in my yard but never cut them to bring in because they don’t last :(. What a great tip! Here’s another one I read recently on Pinterest, cut the stems and then immediately dip them in powdered Alum (you’ll find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store) and then into the water in your vase. It is also supposed to help them continue to draw in water.
      Can’t wait for those blooms!

    13. Yay!! So glad it works for you too. Another trick with other cut flower is (unless you live where it isn’t freezing right now) is to put them outside at night. The cool air does wonders.

    14. Adding Alum to the water is also another way to keep hydrangeas last longer. You can find it in your spice isle. (McCormick)

    15. THANK YOU for this! I love hydrangeas as well…but am often left so disappointed when I buy them. I was told once to soak the petals in water but this is a much better method! Can’t wait to try it.

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