How I Keep Cut Hydrangeas From Wilting

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On Instagram, I shared how I keep cut hydrangeas from wilting and also how I keep hydrangeas alive! It is something I’ve been doing for years that keep my blooms lasting a few extra days.

Then, a few readers sent me a tip I didn’t know about – how you get them super hydrated to keep them from wilting… and to revive the blooms so they last two or even three weeks!

pinterest image that says how to keep hydrangeas from wilting 1

I looked up the science behind it – and it all makes sense and it’s worked so well for me. Now I am going to share all of it here.

How Do You Keep Hydrangeas Alive?

I cut these hydrangeas from my mom’s front yard. She has hydrangea bushes so big you could cut from them all day and not notice any were missing.

wilted hydrangeas in a vase

My favorite vase

But these hydrangeas started wilting from the heat in the car ride home (only 7 minutes, but it was a typical hot NC summer day). They look SO SAD by the time I stuck them in the vase – I was already screwing up but I didn’t realize it at the time.

How To Keep Hydrangeas From Wilting

A “Prep” Tip: As you pick your hydrangeas: have a water container on hand outside, (if buying at the store, stick them in a waterbottle in the car!)  so they are never without water. Hydrangeas HATE to be without water – even momentarily! That’s why on that quick car ride home mine were already wilting.

how to keep hydrangeas from wilting by cutting the stems

Keeping Hydrangeas Alive Step 1

Pull off the leaves that will be below the waterline. The leaves suck up water too so they will take water for themselves instead of the blooms!

Step 2

Cut the hydrangea stem on an angle, and additionally, cut into the slanted edge with little short slits vertically a few times. If your goal is to keep the hydrangea alive, it should never be without water. Hydrangeas LOVE water, so the reason you do this is to give the stem more surface area to suck up the water. 

I used to dunk them head first in warm water at this point to perk them up. I learned this technique from a florist shop. But you can skip this step – this new way is not only better but makes the blooms last longer!

Step 3

Pour boiling water into a cup and place the stems into the cup. Alternatively, you could put the boiling water and hydrangeas directly into the vase you are using, but I love my glass vase too much to risk it breaking because of the hot water.  I just use an older ceramic vase for extra precaution until the water cools down.

fresh cut hydrangeas on a stove top

Thirty minutes in and already looking better!

Once the water is not at an extreme temperature, I poured the hot water and flowers all into my favorite vase. Plump, happy hydrangea blooms!

hydrangeas on a nightstand vase

How To Stop Hydrangeas Fron Wilting Again

Now the next challenge, how to keep the hydrangeas from wilting again – will be easier. The goal is to have them last about two to three weeks!

If they start to droop after a few days, cut the stem again and change the old water out to hot water once or twice a week. You can also mist the blooms daily – hydrangeas are one of the very few flowers that can actually drink water from their blooms!

Shop faux hydrangeas:

Why Does Hot Water Help Your Wilting Hydrangea?

So why does boiling the water help the flowers perk up instead of wilt?  You would think dunking a stem into scalding water would cause damage, but it’s the opposite effect.

Hydrangea stems have a sticky sap inside that clogs up their stems from receiving water. If the sap gets too clogged, it actually blocks water from traveling up the stems and it never even reaches the blooms. This is why sometimes hydrangeas are too far gone to even perk up. The boiling water helps to unclog that sap, so water can flower into the blooms again!


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