How to Revive Hydrangeas If Their Blooms Start to Wilt

Learn how to revive hydrangeas when their blooms start to droop. With this hack, you can easily make them look like new again.

You're not alone if you've ever had a beautiful bouquet where all the flowers stayed healthy for days, except for the hydrangeas. When this happens, don't throw out the hydrangeas. Instead, try extending their lives for a few more days. Learn how to revive hydrangeas with this hack; most blooms will perk up nicely for more time to enjoy them.

Why Do Cut Hydrangeas Wilt So Fast?

wood crate of colorful hydrangeas
Kritsada Panichgul

Hydrangeas are usually some of the first flowers to start looking sad in an arrangement because they have thick, woody stems that produce a sticky sap, which can make it tricky for them to take in enough moisture in a vase to reach the entire flower. But hydrangeas are among the few plants that can draw moisture in through their florets, so it's possible to perk up wilted blooms by completely submerging them in water and letting them sit for a few hours to rehydrate.

This trick for how to revive hydrangeas may not work every time, but it's worth a shot if you have a few stems you're not quite ready to toss yet. According to Rizaniño Reyes, a floral designer based in Seattle, the success of this hack depends on a few factors, including "when the flowers were cut and how long they've been in a box in cold storage post-harvest." You'll probably have better luck reviving slightly wilted fresh-cut hydrangeas, while those in storage longer might be a lost cause (but still worth a try!). "I've done this with reasonable success, but it's never 100% from my experience," Reyes says.

This won't work with other cut flowers like roses, peonies, or tulips to bring them back from the brink of wilting. They don't have the ability to draw in moisture through the blooms like hydrangeas, so soaking them will only make them rot and wilt faster.

How to Revive Hydrangeas

white hydrangea cuttings in glass vase in kitchen
Annie Schlechter

If you're not ready to let go of your bouquet and you want to try reviving cut hydrangeas, follow these steps:

  • Trim an inch off the ends of the stems and submerge wilted flowers in a bucket, bowl or sink filled with cool water.
  • If you're trying to revive multiple stems at once, weigh down the stems in the water with a lightweight plate so they stay completely submerged.
  • How long it will take for your hydrangeas to perk up again depends on how far gone they are. You might be able to revive less-wilted blooms in just an hour or two, so check on them a few times while they soak to see if they're back to looking their best.
  • If you notice they still look wilted after a few hours, leave them to soak overnight to see if that does the trick.

Your hydrangeas might be beyond saving if they don't spring back after an overnight soak. It isn't recommended that you try to rehydrate them multiple times. They'll usually turn brown and disintegrate when submerged for a second go-around, so this hack only works once. Still, if you can rehydrate your hydrangeas when they start wilting the first time, you can enjoy your cut flowers for a little longer.

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