I have been patiently waiting until my Annabelle hydrangeas were just right, so I could cut off the blooms and dry them. I did this last year and I have been so pleased with how long the dried flowers have lasted! I cut them almost a year ago and they still make a nice bouquet. So, for those who have asked, this is how to dry hydrangeas. I’m specifically working with the Annabelle variety.
how to dry hydrangeas | when to cut them
Wait until the blooms turned pale green and are a bit dry to the touch. They don’t feel completely crispy and have not started to brown, but they are not as soft as they were when they were white and freshly bloomed. These are definitely ready to cut and probably could’ve been cut a few days sooner to minimize the brown/dried petals.
how to dry hydrangeas | cutting & preparing
Using pruning shears, clip off blooms that are a nice color and don’t have too many brown spots. The front bloom in the picture below was a little bit on the bubble as far as having too many brown spots, but it was still okay to use.
Remove all of the leaves from the stems. These just shrivel up and don’t add anything to the dried flowers. Cut the hydrangea stems to the desired length.
how to dry hydrangeas | make an arrangement
It’s going to feel strange, but arrange the flowers in a vase, basket, or container without water. And that’s it! Just leave them alone to let them dry.
Last year, I tried letting the flowers dry in a little bit of water, letting them dry completely on the bush, and then cutting them, and this method I just shared today. The method of cutting them and letting them dry in a vase without water yielded the best results for me.
The key to the flowers lasting a long time is not touching them! Just put them somewhere and, as much as you can, leave them alone. The more they are handled, the more they will shed. Curious cats also don’t help the situation, so putting them in a place safe from pets or even under a large cloche will also help them last a long time.
I bought Annabelle hydrangea bushes to plant last year mainly because they were on sale and have a good reputation for blooming reliably. I didn’t know the blooms dried so nicely, so that ended up being the cherry on top! So, that’s how to dry hydrangeas to preserve them for future use.
I love to put them in baskets on top of a hutch to fill up some dead space or to tuck them into arrangements in the fall. (You can see more details on this fall mantel arrangement HERE.)
I’ve even seen dried hydrangeas used for Christmas decorating!