Six Tips for Making Cut Hydrangeas Last Longer

Do you love hydrangeas but find it frustrating when they wilt soon after buying them? Learn my six tips for how to make cut hydrangeas last longer!

As many of you know, I’m a big believer in having fresh flowers in the house weekly, and hydrangeas are one of my all-time favorite flowers! They are a quintessential spring and summer flower and oh-so charming. There’s just something so endearing about those giant round blooms!

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how to make cut hydrangeas last longer gorgeous white flowers in white French country kitchen

 

In fact, if Instagram is any indication, I would say they are many people’s favorite flower! I’m often posting photos of them over there and I get a lot of questions about how to make cut hydrangeas last longer and what I do to keep them from wilting. So today, I thought I’d share the techniques I use that really help to make them last!

 

 

People have shared that they are sometimes frustrated when their hydrangeas don’t last very long. But truthfully, they are one of the longest lasting cut flowers if you know what to do.

There are several reasons your hydrangeas might be wilting, and we will cover them all below. If you’re finding that your hydrangeas aren’t lasting as long as you’d like, these are some things that I do that really help.

 

How to Make Cut Hydrangeas Last Longer

 

1. Buy from a trusted source

Unfortunately, depending on where you buy your flowers they can be less than fresh when you get them. Or, and this is the worst, people often take them out of the buckets and don’t put them back in! That makes for flowers that have been out of the water for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

For a flower that loves and needs lots of water, this is deadly. I believe this can be the difference between them lasting only a few days vs. a week or more!

So my first word of advice is to buy from a few different sources and see if you notice a consistent pattern. You’ll usually find one purveyor that has fresher flowers than others. For me, I do very well at the farmer’s markets and my local Trader Joe’s. 

Also, I make sure all the flowers are wet at the bottom and that they are all the way in the bucket when I pull them out! You can also tell by how springy the blossoms are. Oftentimes the older ones may not actually be wilting, but if you look closely the blooms are not tight and when you touch them gently they don’t seem firm or springy to the touch. Those are the ones you should leave behind.

 

white hydrangeas on French bread board in white French country kitchen

 

2. Put Them in Water Right Away

Bring them home and put them in water right away. Don’t be tempted to run another errand or leave them in your car for any length of time. Hydrangeas are water guzzlers and they don’t like to be out of it for long! Thus the Latin root of their name “hydra,” meaning water.

Maybe it’s because I’m in Southern California and it’s warm here, but I find if I don’t get them into water right away, they definitely don’t last as long.

I like to fill the sink with tepid water (not ice cold) and just set them right inside while I put away the rest of the groceries. Or grab a large glass or pitcher and stash them in there while you finish what you’re doing. Either way, make sure they are in water as soon as possible.

 

hydrangeas in sink with water to keep them fresh

 

3. Trim Them at Least a Half Inch

Once you have your vase ready, make sure you trim them at least half an inch on the bottom with a sharp scissor or floral clippers. A fresh cut, done at a slight angle, allows the flower to absorb more water.

And as I would recommend with any cut flower, remove any leaves that land below your water line. The reason for doing this is they breed bacteria and cause the water to get yucky much sooner which leads to the flowers being very unhappy!

 

put hydrangeas in water right away to make them last longer

 

4. Use Flower Food in the Water

I’ve talked to so many people who don’t do this! It’s important to provide the flowers with a high quality flower food (this is what those little packets that come with the flowers contain) as they are no longer getting it from the soil.

I recommend using a little less than what is in the envelope unless it’s a very large vase. Just like any garden fertilizer, a little goes a long way. If it’s an average size vase or pitcher, I will usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of the packet and I only use the whole packet with very large amounts of water.

 

French zinc galvanized pitcher with white hydrangeas in kitchen

 

5. Change the Water Every Few Days

Another important thing to do consistently is change the water, usually every two or three days. This is important no matter what cut flowers you have in your home, not just for hydrangeas.

The water gets cloudy and starts to contain bacteria, something that makes them wilt a lot sooner. I like to freshen the water every 2-3 days, make another slight cut, and add new flower food. In my experience, this makes a big difference!

 

how white hydrangeas in French zinc pitcher in gorgeous French country kitchen

 

 

6. Emergency Revival Technique

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, they wilt way sooner than you’d like. Hydrangeas will wilt or start drooping when they cannot get the water that they need. That’s when you can try reviving them by giving them a nice cool bath in the sink!

Hydrangeas are one of the few flowers that can absorb water not just through the stems, but also through the leaves and the blossoms. The minute I see any of mine drooping, I fill the sink with fresh, cold water, and give them a soak for 10 minutes or so. Alternately, you can also hold them upside down under running water, making sure to soak both the blossoms and the leaves.

I then shake off the excess water, trim them slightly again, change the water, and add new flower food. This almost always does the trick!

I’ve even been known to do the “revival” several times, extending their life by as much as a whole week!

 

how to make cut hydrangeas last longer soak in sink to revive them

 

I’ve heard several people say they using boiling water – now we all have our own methods but I have not found that to work for me. When I tried it, the hydrangeas didn’t revive at all but stayed wilted and I had to throw them out.

Since hydrangeas are sensitive to heat and many florists even add ice cubes to the buckets to keep them cool, this idea is counter-intuitive to me. I always use cold water for my cut hydrangeas and have had great success with that.

 

7. A couple other tips 

One other way to revive them is to use alum. Alum is found in the spice section of any typical grocery store and in some nurseries. In this method, you re-cut the stem and dip it in the alum, then into the fresh water. I’ve never tried this but people do swear by it.

 

Florists often use a splash of bleach to inhibit bacterial growth (just under 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water). Again, this isn’t something I do but I’ve heard it can help.

And lastly, make sure to display your hydrangeas away from full sun, such as next to a window. This makes a big difference! I’ve found if I leave my hydrangeas right next to the kitchen window they perish way faster than if I have them as little as a few feet away. Direct heat and/or sun is too much for them – just like in the garden!

 

gorgeous white hydrangeas in French country farmhouse living room

Using these tips your cut hydrangeas should last at least a week, often longer! In fact, the photos I took for this post I took almost 3 weeks ago and guess what? Those hydrangeas are still going strong on the kitchen counter! πŸ˜‰ #truth

And if you’re looking for some great vessels to put your hydrangeas in, I’m sharing some of my favorites below!

 

Shop the Post

 

Sheila
xo

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out some of my other posts about flowers below:

How to Decorate with Flowers: 6 Easy & Stylish Tips

5 Tips for Decorating with Flowers on a Budget

The Beauty of Peonies

 

Six Tips for Making Cut Hydrangeas Last Longer graphic on Maison de Cinq

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. Gayle Stewart says:

    Do you have any tips for successfully drying hydrangeas so that they keep their color? Thanks!

    1. Hi Gayle! I’ve always dried my hydrangeas in the garage (not outside), hanging them upside down for a few days to a week. As long as the hydrangea itself had color, I haven’t had a problem with them fading. But if I wait too long and the hydrangeas are faded, then they do look too faded once dried. At least that’s been my experience. Hope that helps!

      Sheila

  2. I can’t wait for my hydrangea bush to bloom….I love them when they dry on the bush and I can use them inside as well….My pink ones turn so many pretty colors when they fade. I still have a large flower head that has faded to tan outside on my patio.

    When I grew dahlias the recommendation was to put the cut stems in hot water first to seal the stem and then in cold water. But you are right, never use hot water for any other flower at any time. Also another bad habit people have is to put ice cubes on their orchids – that is a big No No…they are tropical and like room temperature water sparingly.

    1. Oh I love dried hydrangeas too! And funny that you mentioned the ice cubes because I’ve been told that and done it with all my orchids and not one has lasted more than a few weeks – thanks for the info!

      Sheila

  3. Teddee Grace says:

    I grew up on a farm so was curious about your use of the word fertilizer. According to Gardening Know How: “The terms plant food and plant fertilizer are often used interchangeably by companies marketing these products. The difference between the two is that plant food is made by the plant itself. Fertilizer is a commercial product that is added to the soil in order for the plant to have what it needs to live, grow, and thrive.”

    1. Hi Teddee thanks for the update. The plant (or flower) food term I used because that is what the companies call it. However, they are indeed, fertilizers as we are adding them rather than a plant getting them from the soil itself. And in this case, they can’t because the cut flowers are no longer in the soil. Which is why I’ve always added it to the water and I’ve found it makes a big difference!

  4. I LOVE Hydrangeas. They add such romantic beauty to any room. I too have had problems with mine wilting the day after I bring them home from Trader Joe’s, so sadly I stopped buying them there. They used to have potted Hydrangea plants in gorgeous blues and those lasted a long time. I haven’t seen my store carry those in years. I’ve tried some of these tips for the cut flowers, but not all of them, so I plan on buying some to try again! Thanks for sharing, Sheila.

    1. I hope these help you JC – fingers crossed!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  5. Sheila, this is all great informaiton. Thank you! As a side question, I would love to get some of your white flower scissors/snippers for my mother. Do you know where I might find them? Great gift item – and the white is so pretty.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Beth and thanks for your kind words! I love those scissors – they are kitchen shears and cut through anything! I use them for my flowers as well as cooking. Here is a link to the shears:

      https://rstyle.me/+0ratQkjV1SFBxK7lRzXtuA

      They do make a great gift!

      Sheila

  6. How long should the stems be cut off from the plant?

  7. Joan Jones says:

    I love hydrangeas! I grow them in my garden. I think I finaly found the answer to why they wilt so easily. My husband brought me some white ones just yesterday and they were gorgeous until this morning. Thanks for these helpful tips.

  8. I love your tip for soaking them in water. Do you find Trader Joe’s to be a good source? It’s just so convenient. Your home is beautiful. Just stumbled upon it from in my own style.

    1. I do! I get a lot of flowers from Trader Joe’s, hydrangeas as well as peonies in the spring!

      Thank you so much for your kind words – and for taking the time to comment! I hope you’ll think about subscribing!

      Sheila

  9. I’m looking forward to trying these tips. I have had problems with hydrangeas wilting in a matter of hours! Thanks!

  10. Flowers have always been a β€œBreath of Fresh Airβ€œ
    While tending the gardens or grabbing a bouquet
    At the market they never disappoint!
    God knew we needed pretty things.. thus he gave us
    Seeds to plant the rest he left up to us!
    Your Beautiful vase filled with my favorite flower
    Is heavenly.

    1. Awww I LOVE that so much!!! Thank you for sharing that sentiment, and for your sweet words. I’m so glad you were inspired πŸ™‚

      Sheila

  11. Cheryl Jardine says:

    Thank you for these tips – I too love hydrangeas but they have always wilted far too soon – can’t wait to try again.

    1. Thank you Holly – so glad you enjoyed them πŸ™‚

      Sheila
      xo