FRESH-CUT HYDRANGEAS:
      PROLONGING THE BEAUTY

Q. How can I keep hydrangeas from wilting
after they are cut?


Arrangement Purple hydrangeas Have you ever cut hydrangea blooms and put them right into a vase of water only to have them wilt within an hour or two? This seems to be caused by a sticky substance that clogs the stems, preventing moisture from reaching the blooms. This does not happen every time. Cut-hydrangeas often last for days and other times they wilt almost immediately after being added to an arrangement.

There are two techniques, suggested to me by several visitors to the site, that should solve this problem. I've tested both, and have had excellent results. The two methods are:

(1) The Hot Water method
(2) The Alum Dip method


I would appreciate any feedback on this or any other technique you find useful for keeping arrangements fresh.




HYDRANGEA SPECIES

PROLONGING THE BEAUTY OF
FRESH-CUT HYDRANGEAS:


TWO METHODS



Whether you wish to ensure that cut hydrangeas do not wilt from the start of your arrangement, or you want to revive hydrangeas that have wilted after a few hours or days, the following techniques have proven highly successful.

(1) The Hot Water Method

I was motivated to try the following technique after receiving suggestions from visitors to this site. It is extremely easy and works like a charm. There is a point past which this technique will no longer revive the bloom, but I've had it work 4-5 days after the hydrangeas were actually cut.

  1. When cutting hydrangeas, take water to the garden in a container.
  2. Immediately after cutting each bloom, drop the stem in the water.
  3. Indoors, boil water and pour it into a cup or any container.
  4. Cut the hydrangea stems to the desired length.
  5. Stand the stems of the hydrangeas in the hot water for 30 seconds.
  6. Immediately put into room temperature water and then arrange.
(2) The Alum Dip Method
  1. The alum used in this method can usually be found in the spice section of the grocery store. Occasionally it is found with the pickling supplies.
  2. Plan to cut hydrangea blooms in the morning while the weather is cool.
  3. Take a pitcher of water to the garden and drop bloom stems into water immediately after cutting them (important).
  4. As you arrangement the blooms, recut the stems and dip the bottom 1/2 inch of stem into powdered alum.
  5. Arrange as usual in water. (I know this washes off the alum, but it works!)

    Tiny jar of alum.



REVIVING WILTED BLOOMS IN AN ARRANGEMENT:

  1. If the water in the arrangement is more than a day old, change it for fresh water before beginning the revival process.
  2. Re-cut the stems of the wilted hydrangeas by removing a portion at the bottom.
  3. Use the Boiling Water Method: Boil water and pour it into a cup.
  4. Stand the stems of the wilted hydrangeas in this water for 30 seconds.
  5. Immediately put into room temperature water (this usually means back into the arrangement).
  6. If the blooms are not too old, within a couple of hours they will have completely revived. Occasionally, the revival process will take several hours. In most cases, the blooms will look as fresh as the first day.
  7. I don't know if reviving hydrangeas after several days will work with the alum method.
NOTE: For specific questions, check out the FAQs on this site. Many pages can be reached only through the FAQs.