Hydrangeas for Cut Flowers (& How to Keep Them Fresh!)

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Hydrangeas are a garden staple for good reason. Their big, bountiful blooms keep us coming back for more season after season. But what if you brought the magic indoors? Hydrangeas not only look dreamy outdoors, but they make great cut flowers for vases and floral arrangements too! Below we’ll share our favorite hydrangeas for cut flowers and a few tips for keeping them fresh.

Bouquet of purple, pink, cream, blue, and green hydrangeas in a vase

The key to keeping healthy cut flowers is water, right from the start! As you venture into the garden to cut flowers, bring a container of water with you. Slightly warm (tepid) water is preferred. Cut the stems at a diagonal angle with sharp clippers for the best results. Remove all leaves on the stems, or at least all the leaves below the water line before placing them in a vase.

Preventing Cut Hydrangeas From Wilting

While hydrangeas are known for their long-lasting displays in the garden, they’re notorious for quickly wilting as cut flowers. But why do hydrangeas wilt, even in fresh water? Some plants exude a sap when they are cut, which normally protects them from any diseases or pests from entering their vasculature. However, this sap can also clog the stems and prevent uptake of water, which leads them to wilt within hours of cutting. Don’t worry; there are two techniques to combat the sap and keep the blooms fresh.

1. Alum Dip

The easiest way to keep them fresh might already be in your kitchen cupboard. Alum powder is used in baking and pickling to extend food life and alter flavors and textures. It’s also slightly acidic, prevents algae growth, and is able to prevent the stems from clogging with sap. It’s as simple as dipping each stem in alum powder before placing them in fresh, room temperature water.

2. Boiling Water

It sounds intense, but this method really does work! Bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove from heat. Dip each stem into the water for 15 to 30 seconds and then place them in room temperature water. The boiling water breaks down the sap, clearing the vasculature for water uptake.

One pink bigleaf hydrangea in a clear vase outside

While nearly all of our hydrangeas make for excellent cut flowers, there are a few that made it into our favorites list. Check them out here:

Smooth Hydrangeas

(H. Arborescens)

Bigleaf Hydrangeas

(H. Macrophylla)

Panicle Hydrangeas

(H. Paniculata)

Written by: Miranda Niemiec, click here to read bio.

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