How to Dry Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas add fullness to any floral arrangement. Use this technique to dry their blossoms for year-round enjoyment.

Drying hydrangeas

Marty Baldwin

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 week
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

For a few weeks each summer, Gloria Ward's dining room table is all about hydrangeas. Gloria, a member of the American Hydrangea Society, whose Atlanta-area garden is a showcase for her favorite flowering shrub, sets up a convenient laboratory on her dining table, where she dries blossoms cut from her garden.

How to Dry Hydrangeas Infographic

BHG / Xiaojie Liu

The process begins mid to late summer as Gloria strolls through her garden in search of viable candidates. "You should cut the blooms as soon as they feel papery and less supple than they were earlier in the season," she says. The papery stage typically occurs at least six weeks after the flowers open, although sunlight can hasten maturity. Follow along with Gloria's process for a no-fail way to dry hydrangeas.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket


  • Hydrangeas
  • Water
  • Jars


  1. Cutting hydrangeas


    Cut Hydrangeas

    In the coolness of morning, Gloria arms herself with pruning shears and a bucket of water. She collects flower heads, cutting stems at an angle, stripping off leaves, and placing the cuttings in water. This is how she prepares hydrangeas for long-lasting beauty.

  2. Hydrangea steams in jars

    Emily Followill Photography

    Place Stems in Jars

    Once indoors, she recuts the stems to varying lengths and places them in jars containing about four inches of water, about a half-dozen stems per jar. By staggering the stem heights, each head benefits from air circulation, which is crucial in drying. Gloria then places the jars in her dining room, away from direct sunlight or bright light, for one to two weeks. If, after that time, the water has evaporated and the flowers still aren't dry, she adds more water and allows the blooms more drying time.

  3. Hydrangea wreath

    Emily Followill Photography

    Use Hydrangeas in Decor

    Compared to the bright, clear colors of fresh blooms, air-dried hydrangeas take on muted hues. Once the blooms are dry, Gloria arranges them in vases, wreaths, and topiaries. When displayed away from humidity and direct sunlight, dried hydrangeas last indefinitely.

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