DRYING HYDRANGEAS
      NATURALLY



TWO METHODS FOR DRYING HYDRANGEAS

Drying hydrangeas This page is devoted to the subject of air-drying hydrangeas (drying them naturally), either while the blooms are on the shrub or after they are picked.

However, if you are interested in drying hydrangeas with Silica Gel go here.





HYDRANGEA SPECIES





DRYING HYDRANGEAS NATURALLY


You can have beautifully dried hydrangeas that are as lovely as any you can purchase. When first starting to dry hydrangeas, I tried all the tricks I'd ever heard of. I slammed them into a hot car trunk, hung them up-side-down in a dry attic, and placed them in water that gradually evaporated. In every case, I ended up with wilted hydrangea blooms. The secret to perfectly dried hydrangeas is very simple. Wait until they are ready before picking them. The timing is much more important than the method one uses to dry them.

While it is tempting to cut the hydrangea blossoms for drying at the height of their color, this doesn't work. Fresh, recently opened blooms, rarely dry well in the open air. Hydrangeas do best when allowed to dry on the plant before picking them. Experiment with harvesting from August through October.

In the south, hydrangeas usually age to a blushing green color and then pick up shades of pink and burgundy as Fall approaches. In the cooler areas of the world, they seem to age to shades of blue and purple. They are both equally beautiful to me, but very different. I like to purchase a few bunches on Ebay occasionally from gardeners who grow hydrangeas in cooler climates, just to enjoy the variety of colors.
TIPS

Dried Hydrangeas from Oregon
__Leave blooms on the shrub until late summer. Toward the end of the summer the petals will begin to age and take on a vintage look. If left on the shrub a while longer, many blooms will pick up interesting shades of burgundy and pink. The timing for cooler areas may be much different from this. I'd like to hear feedback from those whose drying experience is different.

__One can cut the blooms, strip off the leaves, arrange them in a vase, with or without water, and leave them to dry. It is not necessary to hang hydrangeas up side down to dry unless the stems are very thin and weak.

__To retain extremely natural hydrangea color, use Silica Gel to dry fresh blooms.



COLORING AND DECORATING WITH HYDRANGEAS

Dyeing Hydrangeas with Ritz Dye

Hydrangeas colored with Ritz dye.

One method of coloring hydrangeas is with Ritz Dye, which can produce either deep or light shades. The basket to the left is filled with hydrangeas dyed in different shades of rose pink.



Go to a description of this technique with pictures.




A TIP FOR MAKING WREATHS FROM DRIED FLOWERS

I received an excellent tip from Barbara Kleppe.

She says "If you want to make wreaths out of your dried hydrangeas, before attaching them to a straw or foam wreath form with wire pins, immerse the flower heads in warm water for about 15 minutes. The flowers become pliable so that they can then be torn apart to the right size and attached to the wreath with little or no breakage. I leave the flowers in the water while I am working. The completed wreath must be dried again -- it takes about a day -- and afterward you have a lovely 'dried' wreath! This procedure eliminates, almost totally, breakage and loss of beautiful hydrangea blooms. Incidently, you can use this method for other dried flowers as well. The results are striking!"

I bet they are! Thanks for that tip, Barbara.
DECORATING WITH HYDRANGEAS AT CHRISTMAS

Wreath with dried hydrangeas and other dried material. Stunning Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths, and arrangements can be made with Hydrangeas. Leave bloom heads natural or spray them gold or silver or (believe it or not) red.

We have found that "gaudy" red blooms can make some of the most stunning displays. In arrangements, combine with fresh ivy, nandina berries and holly. On the tree, one can use a gold bow with each hydrangea head.

Email me with any ideas you have for decorating with hydrangeas. I'll try to put them onto this website so others can benefit from them. I would especially like to get any pictures you might have of your creations!




DRYING WITH SILICA GEL - A beautiful alternative.


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