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How to Dry Hydrangea Flowers and Keep Their Colour

Hydrangeas are a beautiful shrub with an old-fashioned appeal, yet they fit into the modern garden seamlessly. Possibly the best thing about hydrangeas is you can enjoy your lovely blooms indefinitely. Here’s how to dry hydrangeas so they keep their colour.

How to dry hydrangea flowers to keep color

With so many varieties, colors, and even bloom shapes, you’d easily be able to find a hydrangea that suits your garden (as long as you are lucky enough to have the right climate, of course!). You can enjoy them both on and off the plant too!

The problem many people have with hydrangeas is that they become limp before they can dry out. Hydrangeas have a tendency to lean towards the drama, but they’re actually quite easy to both hydrate AND dry once you know how to do it.

Hint: You’re not going to hang them upside down.

This is the simple method that I use to dry hydrangea flowers and keep their hue.

Hydrangea and Holly
Parts of this hydrangea have already gone brown, so it’s a little late for cutting and drying.

Dried Hydrangea Colours

Of course, you won’t retain the same vivid colour that you have on the plant while it’s growing in the garden. The colour that you can achieve on a dried hydrangea is more of a muted set of greens, grays, blues, pinks, and purples that look beautiful when displayed together.

The other thing to note is that the climate and temperature at which the hydrangea shrub grows will affect how much colour is retained in the dried flower. It’s not a perfect system, but ideally, you are looking for a healthy plant grown in appropriate conditions. You can read more about that in my essential guide to hydrangeas.

Did you know you can easily change your hydrangea’s blooms from pink to blue (or vice versa)? Here’s how you can make your hydrangea change colour.

Harvesting Hydrangeas for Wreaths
Hydrangea flowers come in many different hues, all creating antique, muted versions of themselves once dry.

When to Cut Hydrangeas for Drying

Mother nature and plant care aside, timing when you cut the blooms is the most important factor that you can control. If you leave the hydrangea heads to dry on the shrub, they can lose all of their color. If you cut the blooms too early, they can wilt (as opposed to dry with the petals retaining their shape).

In order to retain the most colour, you will need to let flowers partially dry on the shrub first. Depending on when your plant blooms, you should start checking on the flowers mid-way through the bloom time.

The colour will be fading, but they will still hold most of their shape, and they will start to take on a papery feel. Try cutting hydrangea blooms when there is still some colour remaining to get a dried flower with a colour that lasts.

blue hydrangea
These blooms have begun to dry and fade in colour and this would be the ideal time to cut them for drying.

How to Dry Hydrangea Flowers

Remove all of the leaves from the stem (or at least the part of the stem that will be submerged) and put the flowers in a vase with an inch or two of water.

Place the vase in a cool area, away from direct sunlight. The water in the vase will help to slow the drying process; the bloom will be preserved better with a slower transition. Once the water is gone, it will be completely dried and will last indefinitely.

You can touch the preserved hydrangea heads to see how dry they are. They should feel papery.

The easy way to dry hydrangea flowers to keep color: place stems in a jar of water
This way of drying hydrangeas takes about two weeks.
A dried hydrangea flower with its color preserved
The same hydrangea dried!

What to Do With Dried Hydrangeas

Dry hydrangea flowers are very delicate, so it is often better to create your craft or dried flower arrangement before they dry. That’s precisely what I did with this hydrangea wreath. I made the wreath with partially dried blooms and allowed the drying process to finish on the front door! See how to make the wreath here.

You can also add in other dried flowers if you want more variety.

I love using dried hydrangea flowers in all kinds of crafts, including this dried flower arrangement. If you don’t have a large stem, you can add some by using a bamboo skewer and florist’s tape to extend the stem of your dried hydrangea flowers.

dried flower arrangement
Use hydrangeas as a “mass” flower for your dried flower arrangements.

FAQ About How to Dry Hydrangeas

How do you hydrate hydrangeas?

Before you can dry your hydrangea flowers, they should be as hydrated as possible. After cutting them from the shrub, immediately put them in water.

Once inside, cut the stem again and, this time, place it in boiling water. Make sure the steam can escape. In this case, boiling water is extremely helpful in forcing the stems to drink water.

Hydrangeas can also drink through their petals, so people soak their flowers in a bowl of water. While this method works great for fresh hydrangeas, it doesn’t work for flowers that are already partially dry, which is what we’re going for after cutting the hydrangeas.

Should I spray dried hydrangeas with hairspray?

Once dried completely, you can spray any dried flowers with hairspray. Ensure it’s cheap and clear…don’t waste the good stuff. This will help to create a protective layer over the petals so they’re not quite as delicate.

How do you keep dried hydrangeas from crumbling?

When the hydrangeas are dried, they’re extremely delicate. I recommend making any arrangements slightly before the whole flower is dried, as it will be stronger. As above, spray with hairspray and keep away from heat and sunlight to prolong the life of your dried hydrangea flowers.

hydrangea colors


  1. I found the snails that are in shells on my hydraenga leaves. Went looking after I noticed leaves had a haphazard arrangement of holes. Hope this helps

  2. Do you put anything on them once they are dry to prevent the flowers from falling off and becoming weak?

        • I love Hydrangea Annabelle, the pale green colored ones.
          Before i dry them i wrap a twist tie around underneath the blooms so the petals stay close together after they are dried. (You can’t see the twist ties so you may leave them there). They look then more like they were when they were blooming. I hang them up-side down to dry. After i arrange them i spray them with cheap hairspray.


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