Reviving Hydrangeas

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home28 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some hydrangeas and a few other flowers from Trader Joe’s to use in upcoming photoshoots I had planned.  Right after getting them home, I plopped them in a bucket of water in the laundry room sink and left them there until I was ready to arrange them the next day.

The next day, though, three of the six hydrangea blooms were wilting!  Oh, the disappointment!  I love hydrangeas, but they can be unreliable sometimes.  I huffed about it a bit, but I needed to get the pictures done, so I used the good blooms and filled the arrangement in with some other flowers.

But, I still was hoping to be able to use the wilted hydrangeas, so I put them in a sink filled with cold water.  I’ve tried this trick in the past and it works well if the flowers aren’t too far gone.  I left the flowers to soak for about 2-3 hours, turning them occasionally, so all of the leaves and bloom had some time being fully submerged.

And, the wilted flowers perked right up!  I gave them a fresh cut on the stem and put them into some fresh water.

Not only were the blooms revived, but they lasted for about five more days!


It was a happy ending.

I know there are other tricks for reviving hydrangeas, but this is the one I’ve used over the years.

I’ve heard there is some trick with boiling water.  Has anyone tried that?


Reviving Hydrangeas

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28 Comments on “Reviving Hydrangeas”

  1. Roses, fresh cut the stems on an angle. Increases surface area for water take up. Put bottom in or so in boiling water for a minute or so. The straight into water. Has worked for me

  2. I’ve used boiling water to dry them, and I prefer them dried. Dip the ends in boiling water for like 30 seconds, then put them in a vase with no water. It has been more successful doing this as they go into their fall colors.

  3. Cut the stem upward. Not shorter. Into the stem. My Trader Joe’s hydrangeas last at least 10 days doing that

    1. I do this, too. Then put the stems in boiling water till the bubbles settle, then into a jar of fresh water.

  4. nothing has worked for me. I asked the florist at the grocery and she didn’t know either.

    1. Lori, I do the same thing. Cut the stems at a deep angle, dip them in Alum, then put them in water. They last for days.

  5. I live in Georgia and grow hydrangeas. The blooms that are cut early in the season wilt faster then the blooms cut later in the summer. Either way, if you dip them in alum, they are supposed to last longer. Their stems contain a sticky substance that forms a seal on the stem and apparently the alum prevents this.

  6. You should recut the stem on an angle when you bring them home. When they are out of water the cells seal over and can’t take up water.

  7. Any time a cut flower of any kind is exposed to air after taken out of a water source…it will close up the cut as a defense mechanism … All flowers are to be cut under running water and then placed immediately in the water of the container to where they will stay …every time they are taken out of water…like refreshing after 2 days… they need to be cut again under running water because they have closed the cut when exposed to the air.

    In the 1990’s I was an investor in a floral design firm located next door to a wholesale flower supplier ….
    I learned a massive amount about cut flowers from both sources!

    Try it … you’ll see a huge difference in the life of your cut flowers!

    1. Patrice is right. I did flower design before getting more decorating work in NYC and miss being surrounded by flowers and greens and choosing those marvelous things from the flower market district. The only downside was to be there very early mornings….It also helps to take off almost all the leaves because they need to drink lots of water.
      Giving your hydrangeas a cold bath revived them. Lately I also get our flowers when shopping at trader Joe.

  8. My mom had a blue hydrangea bush outside of the kitchen window of my childhood home. We had a gas stove, so immediately after cutting the stem on a slant, she burned the cut end briefly in the flame to seal it. It’s something I’ve always done, along with soaking wilted ones in cool water for a few hours.

  9. I love hydrangeas and once had a simple arrangement with three in a mason jar. Only two hours after receiving it the flowers all wilted and drooped terribly. I’m going to try this trick next time and also the tips listed above. Thanks!

  10. The trick to dip the angle-cut stems in alum before putting them in the vase, truly works! I highly recommend it.

  11. Yes, I sent you the message about boiling water…it works over and over! Just cut the stem each time, put them in almost boiling water and let them sit…I had a beautiful arrangement from a friend that had a few hydrangeas in it and I would just take the, out when they got droopy and do this over and over…the arrangement last me almost a month!

  12. I always put an old copper penny in the bottom of the vessel, too – not sure what chemical reaction happens but my hydrangeas (and doing all the above as well) seem to last a very long time.

    Your hydrangeas look beautiful – what a freshness in middle of winter. Just lovely. Flowers are such a blessing.

  13. I’ve had the same issues with Hydrangeas from TJ’s. You wake up the next morning and they are droopy sad. I havent soaked them in the sink. Good idea! I usually submerge them in a tall clear cylinder type vase. After revived, I have also cut the stem upwards so more water gets absorbed. Makes me want to buy some. .. my favorite flower.

  14. One trick I learned when dealing with cut hydrangeas was to cut the stem on a angle and take a small vegetable grader and peel the outside of the stalk. This allows water to get into the stem better and therefore keeps it from wilting. Seems to work for me but hydrangeas can be tricky sometimes.

  15. I cut stem in the big base of water, not air go to the stem, then replace in the base with sprite in it.

  16. One additional trick that hasn’t been mentioned yet is to spritz the hydrangeas with water every day. The flower absorbs water through it’s petals in addition to the stem. This trick keeps the hydrangea hydrated, especially important in our dry heated indoor air during the winter.

  17. Thanks for the Alum tip! I have some lovely Hydrangeas drooping in front of me as I write this. I have some Alum in my pantry and am going to try that tip to see if I can make these blooms last a little longer!

  18. A neighbor of mine has a green thumb and beautiful flowers. She can create a gorgeous arrangement with iron weed and golden rod. Her trick is to give them a fresh angle cut and have then sit in warm water. I haven’t heard of the boiling method.

  19. care for fresh cut flowers – ALWAYS re cut stem ends when you get home. Room temperature water best.
    DO NOT burn ends, smash ends with hammer or anything else like that.. Always use flower food – flower food is sugar and an anti bacterial agent.

    I have a degree in Horticulture and spent 20 years in the flower industry. Check with the Society of American florists for care and handling information.

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