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 Responses to how to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting

  1. Michele June 15, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    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. Susan Byrne May 26, 2018 at 10:59 am #

    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. brandon April 12, 2018 at 4:09 am #

    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.

    • emily April 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

      Oh, Yay!!

  4. Terri July 17, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    Tried it. It doesn’t work. Mine lasted 2 days.

  5. Violet July 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    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!!

  6. Helen March 26, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Who knew?! **Thank you** (won’t ask how you found this out!)

  7. missy March 11, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    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!

  8. Melle Blanche March 11, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    I’m fan of hydrangea !
    thank you for this idea.

  9. Sheila in SF March 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

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

  10. Judith March 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    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!

  11. Gill Deriu March 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you sooo much for this tip! Hydrangeas are my favourite flowers and it always put me off buying them…am hoping to plant some this spring! Fab tip :)

  12. Michelle March 10, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    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!

  13. Valerie March 10, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    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.

  14. Carmen March 10, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    Great tip! thank you
    Love hydrangeas too

  15. Jamie March 10, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    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!

  16. Rebecca March 10, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    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.

    • Heidi March 24, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

      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.

  17. Susan Shipe March 10, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    I am SO happy to know this! Can’t wait to try it. Hydrangeas are one of my faves also! Thanks!

  18. Kelly March 10, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    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!

  19. Pam March 10, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    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.

  20. Sharon March 10, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    THANK YOU!!! I love hydrangeas and always wondered how people seem to keep them so long. Thanks for sharing this info. I really appreciate it. :-)

  21. Deanna March 10, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Thanks so much for the tip. I love hydrangeas but never buy them because they don’t last. Now with this tip I can enjoy them again!!

  22. KDevita March 10, 2015 at 9:32 am #

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

  23. Jessica Jones March 9, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    I just bought some on Saturday, so I’m so glad I read this! Going to dunk mine in water now! :)

  24. Sarah Catherine Design March 9, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Thanks for sharing! I would have NEVER guessed this trick and I love hydrangeas! I am so ready for spring flowers!

  25. Liz - Shopping My Closet March 9, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks for the tip! I love those pink/purple hued ones!

    Liz @ ShoppingMyCloset.com

  26. Lindsay March 9, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks for the tip, I’m definitely going to try it out for myself. I just love flowers and I always try to keep them for as long as possible so I look forward to trying it out.

    Thank you :)


  27. Lauren March 9, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    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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