Hydrangea can look great in many gardens. But even after their blooms naturally begin to fade in autumn, you can learn how to dry hydrangea blooms for your home. This allows you to keep their wonderful colour alive and enhance your interior for a year or even longer.
When to Dry Hydrangea Blooms for Your Home
The best time to cut your hydrangea blooms for drying is towards the end of their growing season. Between around August and November, you can pick the flowers at various stages of their growth. For the best quality and longest lasting blooms, cut flowers when they are at their peak. Their colour will of course depend on the variety you are growing. You can also cut flowers for your home once they have begun to change hue in the autumn.
How To Dry Hydrangea
There are three main ways to dry hydrangeas for use in your home. The first method is simply to leave the flowers to dry naturally on the plants. The second method is to cut the blooms and hang them in a cool, dry location to air dry. Finally, you can use the water method. This is generally considered to be the best method, since it provides the longest lasting and best quality dried flowers. However, let’s take a look at each of these three methods, so you can decide which is right for you.
On the Plants
Drying hydrangea flowers on your plants is the lowest-maintenance and easiest option. In drier climes, the flowers on plants can retain much of their colour long into autumn. You can simply come along and cut the dried flowers off the plants when you want.
Unfortunately, however, in more wet or humid places, the flowers left on plants to dry can often turn brown before they are dry. You can simply pluck the odd brown petal off plants – but if the discolouration is too widespread, you may find that your dried hydrangeas are not as attractive as you would wish.
To preserve better colour, therefore, it may be possible to cut your flowers sooner rather than later, and dry them under cover.
Air Drying Hydrangea
A polytunnel could be an ideal location to air dry hydrangeas. Simply cut your blooms with a good length of stem, tie these securely, and hand them from the crop bars in your polytunnel. You can also air dry hydrangea in any dry location in your home. Hanging them out of direct sunlight can also help to reduce the speed at which the colours fade.
Air dried hydrangea can still be beautiful. But they tend to be a little more brittle than those dried using the water method below.
The Water Method
To dry hydrangea blooms using the water method:
Cut your flowers, with a good length of stem.
Place the blooms into a vase with fresh water.
Display the vase of blooms in your home, ideally in a relatively cool spot out of direct sunlight.
Allow the water to evaporate slowly over time and do not replenish it.
After a few weeks, the water should have evaporated completely. The hydrangea should feel dry to the touch. Stems should snap easily rather than bending. The hydrangea are now dry and ready to use.
Hydrangea dried in this way will retain their colour while drying. Their colour and shape will be better retained. Even the stems will be sturdier than those of hydrangea dried on other ways. They can stay attractive for months and be displayed in a range of different ways.
Using Dried Hydrangea
There are many different ways to make use of your dried hydrangea blooms. You can display them in a number of ways. For example, you can:
Display the blooms alone as a show piece in empty vases or other receptacles.
Mix them with other dried flowers in window boxes/ baskets/ containers.
Use them to make wreaths or garlands.
Make use of them in wedding bouquets or other wedding floral arrangements.
These are just a few of the options. Dry hydrangea blooms and you can enjoy them for far longer, and enhance your home.
Do you dry hydrangea flowers from your garden? Share your tips and how you use them in your home in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.