How to Keep Cut Hydrangea Flowers Fresh Longer


Every summer, I can’t wait for our hydrangeas to start blooming, their large, colorful “mop” heads are the classic flower of summer. Hydrangeas are perfect for adding lush color to our gardens, but that’s not all! I love them in large, luxurious bouquets in our home. Known to wilt once cut, they are a little bit of work for cut flower bouquets, but so worth the extra effort. Here are a few tips for practically fail proof no-wilting hydrangea bouquets that will be long lasting.



Hydrangeas come in so many colors, from clean, pristine white to blue, pink, russet, green, {really white but the late or early stage of the flowers} red and purple. A large white hydrangea livens up our front entry with its cheerful flowers all summer long.


One of my very favorites, this white hydrangea blooms bright green in the early stages, then goes to pure white, and back to a darker green as the blossoms fade.


A corner of our back patio, with some of the blue and purple hydrangeas. As long as I water them enough {this is California} they bloom in bright colors!

What I love most about hydrangeas, though, is that they create instant  huge bouquets of clustered flowers. Effortless. Just a few hydrangeas in a vase look like a million dollars.




CUT CORRECTLY AND HYDRATE:  In the morning {best time to cut flowers} choose which hydrangea flowers you will be cutting. Take a container of lukewarm water with you to the garden, then cut the hydrangea stems at a diagonal with a sharp knife. Submerge the stem in the water immediately! Then take your flowers inside to prepare them for their starring role in your home.


STRIP LEAVES OFF STEMS:  Those big beautiful leaves drink a lot of water, and you will need that water to go to the flowers instead. Strip off almost all the leaves on each stem. I leave a few on the top of some flowers for “looks”….but the more leaves that you rid the flowers of, the better are your chances of a lush, gorgeous bouquet that will last.

BOIL WATER. You will want to have a large cup,or bowl, of boiling water for this next step. Once you have stripped the leaves off the stems, make sure you have your vase ready and filled with luke warm water, and use flower preserver if you have that. Then, take each hydrangea, cut the stem again at a diagonal, and crush the bottom of the stem. You can use a mallet, I just use the back end of my knife to smash the end a bit. This allows the stem to soak up as much water as possible. Now, as fast as possible, dip that stem into your cup of boiling water for half a minute, then place in your vase filled with water. The boiling water has two purposes, one, hydrangea stems produce a sap that can clog the stem, the boiling water clears that up- and two, the boiling water takes care of any bacteria that might be there.


Alternatively, my friend Carla, who used to be a florist {I have fond ? memories of helping her out on a few Valentine’s Day marathons at her shop}, used alum to dip each hydrangea stem in after cutting. Alum is something you can find in the spice isle at the market, or near the pickling supples.

KEEP IT CLEAN:  Please change the water every two days for your hydrangea bouquet. It is good to recut each stem at a diagonal, I do this in a bowl of water, making the cut “under water” for each flower.




That’s it! By taking a little extra care, your hydrangeas will last, and add their beauty and personality to your summer home. Mine generally “dry” in the vase, which is another beautiful way to decorate with hydrangeas, I love to place the dried hydrangeas on top of our antique French armoire in the living room for a glimpse of summer.



If you do have hydrangeas that have wilted, as soon as possible, do this to renew their lease on life: Cut the stem on the diagonal under water, and submerge the whole flower, stem, flower head and all, in room temperature water. Leave it in the water for a while,between 30 – 45 minutes,  if you are lucky and were quick enough with your life saving measures, you will be amazed that after a while the hydrangea is completely restored. Now, you can cut at a diagonal once again, submerge that stem in boiling water for half a minute, and put her back with her sisters to beautify your world!



If you want to save this handy tip post, pin it on your pinterest board…I did! Happy hydrangea season!

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10 thoughts on “How to Keep Cut Hydrangea Flowers Fresh Longer”

  1. Wow! Great advice, and so timely. Thank you, will try all of these tips here in France.
    They also look great when dried…..

    1. It’s hydrangea season! Some of my most favorite hydrangeas grow in Europe…enjoy!

  2. Great tips, Lidy! Hydrangeas are my favorites; and I have been restoring them this way for the past couple of years. I have had blooms that lasted two weeks.

  3. This is the most comprehensive advice I’ve read on keeping hydrangeas alive as long as possible. I see many ideas on drying them and I do just as you wrote. But the keeping them from wilting…thank you!


  4. Ashley Bergstrom

    Thank you Lidy! I had no idea how to make these blooms last and look beautiful. I love hydrangeas by themselves and with roses mixed in. I will keep this info. handy to refer back too.

  5. Patricia Anderson

    So happy to know how to keep my Hydrangeas fresh longer. I have had an abundance of Hydrangeas this season which I have been cutting and enjoying. I used the Alum but thought it to be used only for arrangements in foam. So glad to know better and I printed this information so I will keep it handy. So glad I found French Garden House (Victoria) and your blog. Love it!!

    1. So nice to meet you, Patricia! Thank you, I hope you enjoy your hydrangeas well into fall {it’s one thing I love about them, they bloom and last so long, even dried they are gorgeous.}

  6. Cynthia White

    Oh, yes! I will definitely be saving this post for future reference. . .Thank you so much, Lidy!

  7. Thank you so much for this post! I often wanted to buy cut hydrangeas at my grocery store, but after trying it a couple of times and seeing them fade by afternoon I had given up. Right now I have some hydrangeas in my living room that are on week two of giving me a beautiful bloom!

    1. Oh, yay! Kitty, they are a little finicky sometimes even after all the “help” but they’re so lovely they’re well worth the trouble.

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