How to Make Hydrangeas Last

Ice bath to rehydrate hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are my all-time favorite flower, but until now I have been sorely disappointed every time I have attempted to bring them into my home. Within 24 hours of placing them in a vase, they have completely wilted and I have thrown them into the trash, thinking that there was no hope! Two weeks ago, however, my husband brought home three stems of light blue hydrangeas for me, and this time I was determined to make them last! Sadly, two of the three stems were already pretty droopy, but I was hopeful that this time things would be different. I put the two droopy stems into one vase and the one hardy stem in the other, and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough, the next morning they were are shriveled up!

Determined to break this discouraging cycle, I googled “How to Keep Cut Hydrangeas Alive,” and found a great tutorial that I immediately put into action. Basically, I was instructed to do the following:

2 weeks later, still alive and well

1) Cut hydrangea stem to desired length. Then, with scissors or a knife, vertically cut away some of the bottom of the stem so that the white pith is exposed. This will help with absorption of water. Also remove all extraneous leaves, as they will steal a lot of water from the flowers.

2) Get a big bowl and fill it with ice water. Place the entire hydrangea horizontally in the water bath so that it is completely submerged in the water. Leave it there for 4-6 hours, or even overnight. By the time you take the flowers out, they should look good as new!

3) Fill a vase with room temperature water and place the hydrangeas in. If the flowers begin to wilt, repeat steps one and two.

Two weeks later, my one stem is still alive and kicking, while the other two lasted me for about 10 days. I have posted some photos to prove it!

  • Juris Mater

    Nice work–and nice initiative! I love flowers but rarely go the extra steps to take good care of them. Hydrangeas remind me of Alabama : ) Enjoy your blooms!!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    So happy you figured it out! I also love hydrangeas!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    I have found that plant food helps, and I now keep some in my house for when I receive flowers. I always trim the stems, then place in warm water with the plant food. Changing the water and giving it new food every few days helps too.

    • Kat0427

      I do this with my other flowers, Kellie, but it has never helped with hydrangeas – they’re always dead the next day! This is the only thing I have found that works with them…

  • Bethany

    Great tips, Kat! Our elderly neighbor has burgeoning hydrangea bushes and told me I could cut stems whenever I like. (Um… Hello?!) I’m going to use this technique because mine, too, always wilt quickly. Gotta remember it for next late spring/summer!

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    I can still remember Queen B hanging flowers upside down in our dorm room to dry and preserve them. I thought (and still do think) this is so cool. It is awesome, Kat, that you took the extra step to find out how to make the beauty last a little longer!

  • Cindy Elliott Cordes

    I cut mine before the first freeze and put them in a vase with NO water. They dry and are beautiful all winter!


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