Monday, July 15, 2013

How to dry hydrangeas

I absolutely love hydrangeas.  The big, colorful, flowery blooms are among my favorite flowers.   Too bad I don't have much of a green thumb. That's why it comes in handy that my mother in law was happy to let me cut a few blooms from her hydrangea bushes.

I picked a few that didn't have too many brown petals, as some of the blooms were already passed their peak.  As you can see in the picture below, the blooms have various size petals.  I picked a few of each because I was curious how they would dry.  I also looked for blooms that were the most vibrate color.  (The purple hydrangeas are from a different bush, we left these in water and they just wilted.)
I was hoping to dry the blue ones to keep them longer and use the hydrangeas to decorate.

I read a few articles on drying hydrangeas and they were pretty much evenly split on drying them in water and drying them upside down.  Since I wanted to enjoy them for a few days I went with the water method.   This technique calls for the stems to be about 6-8 inches long and all the leaves removed.

The hydrangeas are then placed in a vase of water with water half way up the 3-4 inches of water.  Then you simply wait...wait for all the water to evaporate.  

So, I waited and I waited and I waited.  Nothing...the water wasn't even moving in the vase.  So I aborted that mission and decided to go with the upside down method.  I used a rubber band (or actually my daughter's hair tie since it was closest to me at the time) to keep all the stems together.  Then I slipped the rubber band around a hanger and hung them in a cool dark closet for a few days.
(Sorry no picture here...)

This is much faster and within a few days my blooms had started drying out.  The petals on some of the blooms got very wrinkled and shriveled.  I can't be sure, but I think this is probably becuase they had so much water in them when I hung them upside down to dry - remember they'd been in the vase of water for several days, so they had absorbed some of that.

Since I had dried four or five blooms, I had a few that turned out nicely and they serve just the purpose I was hoping -- a little pop of subtle color on my dresser.