Revive ‘wilting’ hydrangeas ‘in seconds’ with simple tips

Gardeners’ World: Monty Don on growing hydrangeas

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Hydrangeas are one of the most common plants grown in UK gardens and for good reason. These flowers provide absolutely stunning blooms from spring up until late autumn. While they are easy to maintain in gardens, their gorgeous blooms typically tend to wilt very quickly once their stems have been cut and are kept indoors. However, according to one florist, there are a few simple tips to keep them lasting for the “longest time”.

One of the most common issues related to keeping hydrangeas fresh in a vase is making sure that the flowers do not wilt. 

Wilting of hydrangeas occurs most often after the flowers have just been cut or after they have just been arranged. Due to the large flower heads, the prevention of wilt will require careful attention to hydration and conditioning.

When going into the garden to cut hydrangea blooms, make certain to bring a bucket of clean water. Immediately after cutting, place the flowers into the water.

Cut hydrangea blooms perform best when older flowers are selected, as younger blooms may be more difficult to keep hydrated. Before arranging, allow the flowers to sit in water in a cool place to rest for several hours.

Speaking exclusively to, celebrity florist, Larry Walshe, a leading figure in the floristry and event industry since 2014, has shared his top tips to care for hydrangeas this winter.

1. Trim the flowers correctly

When plant owners are trimming their hydrangeas, Larry urged them to ensure they snip up the stem rather than across. He said: “When your flowers first arrive and you trip the end of each stem with scissors, make sure to also snip vertically up the middle.  

“Woody stemmed flowers such as winter hydrangea require lots of water so increasing the surface area from which they can drink will keep them happier for longer.  

“Also, make sure to do this every two to three days when you refresh the water to see them last for the longest time possible.”

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2. Soak the blooms

According to the florist hydrangeas can be revived through a thorough soaking. This will also help to prolong their life for an extra few days.

Larry explained that “hydrangea flowers drink through their flowers more than their stem” which is why this method is more effective than just soaking the stems in water.

For this method, gardeners will need a clean, empty bowl or sink that is filled with cool water. 

He instructed: “If any of your winter hydrangea flowers feel a little soft or like they are starting to dry, dunk their heads into a bowl of clean, clear water for just a couple of seconds and then pop them back into a vase in their upright position.  

“Their flowers will dry naturally over time, and they will have a big drink that will likely give you an extra few days of enjoyment.”

How long it will take for your hydrangeas to perk up again depends on how far gone they were to begin with. 

Gardeners might be able to revive less-wilted blooms in just an hour or two, so check on them a few times while they soak to see if they’re back to looking their best.

3. Avoid certain varieties

Surprisingly not all hydrangeas wilt at the same pace as certain varieties are more prone to wilting and drying out, according to the florist. 

Larry urged: “Avoid red colour varieties which typically wilt and instead buy autumn green/red hydrangea or deep blue pimpernel hydrangea for the most rewarding and long-lasting purchase.”

Larry suggested that once households have finished getting their enjoyment out of the blooms, they should use them for decor pieces around the home. 

He said: “Unlike summer hydrangea flowers, winter varieties typically dry rather than wilt.  Once you have finished enjoying your blooms, don’t throw them away but rather hang them upside down somewhere warm, dry, and out of the way (like an under stairs closet of a utility room) and allow them to dry.  

“Once dry they take on an entirely new form with a more subtle colour palette and you can then use these for festive decorations around the home.”

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