How to Dry Hydrangeas: A Comprehensive Guide

Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering plants that can add a touch of elegance to any garden or floral arrangement. While they are stunning when in full bloom, many people also enjoy preserving their beauty by drying them. Dried hydrangeas can be used in various crafts, home decor, and even as long-lasting floral arrangements. In this article, we will explore the different methods and techniques to successfully dry hydrangeas, ensuring that they retain their color and shape for years to come.

Why Dry Hydrangeas?

Before we delve into the process of drying hydrangeas, let’s understand why you might want to dry them in the first place. Here are a few reasons why drying hydrangeas can be a great idea:

  • Preservation: Drying hydrangeas allows you to preserve their beauty and enjoy them for an extended period.
  • Decorative Purposes: Dried hydrangeas can be used in various crafts, wreaths, and floral arrangements, adding a touch of natural beauty to your home.
  • Cost-Effective: Instead of purchasing dried flowers from a store, drying hydrangeas from your own garden can save you money.
  • Sentimental Value: If you have a special attachment to hydrangeas, drying them can help you cherish the memories associated with them.

Methods for Drying Hydrangeas

There are several methods you can use to dry hydrangeas, each with its own advantages and considerations. Let’s explore some of the most popular methods:

Air Drying

Air drying is one of the simplest and most common methods for drying hydrangeas. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose the right time: The best time to cut hydrangeas for drying is when they are in their peak bloom, usually in late summer or early fall.
  2. Prepare the stems: Cut the hydrangea stems to your desired length, ideally around 12-18 inches. Remove any leaves from the stems, as they can hinder the drying process.
  3. Bundle the stems: Gather a few stems together and tie them with a string or rubber band. Make sure the bundle is not too tight to allow air circulation.
  4. Hang the bundles: Find a dry and well-ventilated area, such as a dark closet or a garage, to hang the bundles upside down. Ensure that the flowers do not touch each other to prevent mold or rotting.
  5. Patience is key: Leave the hydrangeas to dry for about two to three weeks. During this time, the flowers will gradually lose moisture and retain their shape and color.

Air drying is a straightforward method that requires minimal effort, but it may result in some color fading. However, if done correctly, the hydrangeas will maintain their shape and can last for several months or even years.

Water Drying

Water drying, also known as the glycerin method, is an alternative technique that helps hydrangeas retain their color and shape. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Prepare the solution: Mix one part glycerin with two parts boiling water. Stir the solution until the glycerin is fully dissolved.
  2. Cut the stems: Trim the hydrangea stems to your desired length, similar to the air drying method.
  3. Place the stems in the solution: Submerge the cut ends of the hydrangea stems in the glycerin solution. Ensure that the stems are fully immersed.
  4. Patience is key: Leave the stems in the solution for about two to three weeks. During this time, the hydrangeas will absorb the glycerin, which helps them retain their color and shape.
  5. Remove and dry: After the desired time has passed, remove the stems from the solution and let them air dry for a few days. Once dry, your hydrangeas are ready to be used in various crafts or arrangements.

Water drying with glycerin is a popular method for preserving hydrangeas as it helps them maintain their vibrant colors. However, it requires more time and effort compared to air drying.

Tips for Successful Drying

To ensure successful drying of your hydrangeas, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right hydrangea variety: Not all hydrangea varieties dry well. The best varieties for drying include ‘Annabelle,’ ‘Limelight,’ and ‘Pinky Winky.’
  • Harvest at the right time: Cut hydrangeas for drying when they are in their peak bloom, but not overly mature or starting to wilt.
  • Consider the weather: Humidity can affect the drying process. Choose a dry period to harvest and dry your hydrangeas.
  • Handle with care: Hydrangeas are delicate flowers, so handle them gently to avoid damaging the petals or causing them to wilt prematurely.
  • Monitor the drying process: Regularly check on your drying hydrangeas to ensure they are drying properly and not developing mold or rot.


Q: Can I dry hydrangeas that have already wilted?

A: It is best to dry hydrangeas when they are in their peak bloom. Wilted hydrangeas may not retain their shape and color as well during the drying process.

Q: How long do dried hydrangeas last?

A: When properly dried and stored, hydrangeas can last for several months or even years.

Q: Can I speed up the drying process?

A: While it is tempting to speed up the drying process, it is best to let hydrangeas dry naturally to ensure they retain their shape and color.

Q: Can I use a microwave to dry hydrangeas?

A: Using a microwave to dry hydrangeas can result in uneven drying and may cause the flowers to become brittle. It is not recommended.

Q: How do I store dried hydrangeas?

A: Store dried hydrangeas in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent color fading. You can use airtight containers or sealable bags to protect them from dust and moisture.


Drying hydrangeas is a wonderful way to preserve their beauty and enjoy them for an extended period. Whether you choose the simple air drying method

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