Hydrangeas add fullness to any floral arrangement. Use this technique to dry hydrangea blossoms for year-round enjoyment.
Hydrangea Drying, flowers, hydrangea

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

The process begins mid to late summer when Gloria strolls through the 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.

  • Working time 15 mins
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Involves Cutting

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Cutting Purple Hydrangea
Step 1

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 leaves, and placing the cuttings in water. This is how she prepares hydrangeas for long-lasting beauty.

Step 2

Place Stems in Jars

Indoors, she recuts the stems at varying lengths and places them in jars containing about four inches of water, about a half-dozen stems per jar. By staggering stem heights, each head benefits from air circulation, which is crucial in drying. Gloria then places the jars in her dining room, out of 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 gives the blooms more drying time.

putting together dried Hydrangea centerpiece
Step 3

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.

peonies hanging upside-down to dry
Play Video
How to Create Beautiful Dried Flowers

Preserve the beauty of the growing season. Follow our simple steps to drying your flowers.

    Comments (3)

    How difficult was this project?
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    August 22, 2020
    Difficulty: Kind of Easy
    A florist I was taking flower arrangement courses from said that Sept. hydrangeas make better dried flowers than the June crop does. I found that was true for my macrophylla hydrangeas. If you are cutting hydrangeas for a fresh flower arrangement, dip the stem in Alum powder, found on the spice aisle. It helps keep them from wilting.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    October 18, 2019
    Difficulty: Kind of Easy
    Good directions. Just a bit more info on how and where to add in extra pieces of hydrangea. Nice to have both video and written directions.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    July 6, 2019
    Difficulty: Very Easy
    Loved it we have many varying hydrangea bushes and every wanted to do this but wasn't sure what the process was. Thank you so much. When I look around my house and see the beautiful dried arrangements it reminds me of my mom and dad and puts a smile on my face.