made with love: drying hydrangeas


Seeing as I work in a flower shop (and not just any flower shop, the end all be all of cool girl flower shops, saipua) you’d think I’d be good about keeping flowers in the house. Well, I’m not. When I do bring some home, my cats eat them or I get distracted and don’t change the water like I should. Shameful, yes? That’s when hydrangea drying comes in. Normally I’m a bit suspicious of dried flowers- too dusty, fussy and grandmotherly. But in sweet small vases, these hydrangeas look as good as new for months and will happily keep the little nooks of my apartment stocked in flowers through out the winter months. Perfect for budget minded, semi lazy, feminine flower freaks like myself. Amy

CLICK HERE for the full post and instructions after the jump!

Hydrangeas are at the optimal drying stage in the early fall so get your clippers out asap!

What you’ll need:

– clippings of fresh hydrangea, I used lacecap (the pinkish) and mophead (the bluish)

– small bottles or vases

– clippers

It’s not so much a question of how to dry hydrangeas, as much as when to dry them. Generally, the later in the growing season, the better results you’ll have. Dusty pink or green tones are a good signs when looking for candidates for drying, the whiter varieties don’t dry as well.


To prep your flowers, strip off all of the leaves. Clip stems and place in vase, with or without water. Leave in a cool, dry space and let nature run it’s course.


Dried hydrangeas, and most dried flowers in general, look the best in naturally arranged clusters. The smaller size cuts down on the “grandma effect” that can sometimes stigmatize big mixed arrangements of dried flowers.


When arranging dried flowers, it’s a good time to use miniature vases that normally would evaporate water in just a day or two while holding fresh flowers. A few of my favorite repurposed vases are salt and pepper shakers, ink wells and medicine bottles.

  1. Roseanna says:

    Sunday, I cut a bunch of gorgeous hydrangea from my yard, they were multi-hued…I wired them to a wreath frame and dried them in place, hanging in the kitche window!

  2. omg, I realize why my dried hydrangeas bugged me, but didn’t know why. seems that i had them arranged in large clusters, channeling the undesired grandma effect. Will fix asap.

  3. Chaucee says:

    These flowers remind me of my Grandmother. She was always talking about how lovely hydrangeas are. She taught me the beauty in life.

  4. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers! They look great in the yard the whole year, require little attention and drying them is effortless. Thanks for the reminder, I am going out with my clipper right now.

  5. Carly says:

    I have a bad habit of buying mini milkglass vases whenever I see them… finally something to tuck inside of them!

  6. Another way to avoid the grandma effect is to cut them with long stems, strip all the foliage so all you have is stem and flower head, and then put one or three in a tall vase. Very sculptural.

  7. Jen says:

    They remind me of butterflies! So beautiful. Thanks for the post.

  8. visualingual says:

    I love hydrangeas, fresh or dried! Thanks so much for posting these instructions; this is my favorite D*S column!

  9. brandeye says:

    now this makes me even sadder that my hydrangea had absolutely no blooms this year. last year it had a zillion!

  10. Todd Smith says:

    I also can remember dried hydrangeas on my grandmother’s mantel. True beauty never goes out of style!

    Your pictures are gorgeous.

  11. Iylana says:

    I only had dried hydrangeas at my wedding two years ago and they were a hit – no one could believe how gorgeous dried flowers could be! Thanks for the post.

  12. Sarah Jones says:

    This is great! I have 3 hydrangea bushes that may be perfect for clipping now!

  13. Jill says:

    I am a grandma and love hydrangeas…where does that put me?? Who cares, I just do my thing. I like this column and the ‘living in…’ one too. Good work!

  14. foofoogal says:

    I love hydrangeas. That is a great idea. Thanks.

  15. Crystal says:

    These are just perfect. Thanks for the idea!

  16. MH says:

    They look lovely, but it would be nice if there were some shots of the vases in context. I would like to see how the small bouquets look in a room. In this case, I’ll just dry some of my own and see, but in the future…?

  17. lincoln taft says:

    very odd. I returned home from work to a vase of dried hydrangeas my boyfriend picked for me.

    wonder if he is now reading designsponge…

  18. alice says:

    how funny! i was just trying to figure this out today.

  19. Amanda says:

    I may be changing my mind about dried flowers after seeing these! You’re right – they look really sweet, especially in the little bottle vases.

  20. Oh my! We have just planted hydrangea and have done quite a few blog posts on their progress!! Now must tackle drying them! Its spring time here in Australia, will they still dry out as beautifully delicate as yours?

  21. Caroline says:

    I left some cut hydrangeas in a vase last summer & just kept the water level up through the winter. The flowers dried and looked lovely the entire time. By spring they’d rooted so I stuck them in a pot for the summer. Now I have a plant to put in the garden. :)

  22. myredshoe says:

    Fun fact: the color of the hydrangeas (pink vs blue) comes from the Ph of the soil, not the type of plant. To change the flowers to pink, add lime to the soil & to change flowers to blue, add aluminum.

  23. I absolutely LOVE Hydrangeas. Gorgeous.

  24. Debra says:

    I love the vases too! Any idea where to get some like them?

  25. Katie says:

    Oooh so pretty! Flowers never last long enough for my liking and these look so delicate and pretty – definitely not old lady!

  26. manette says:

    You have inspired me to go pick some from my garden and set them out this weekend. They are so beautiful and I agree about using the smallvases.

  27. amanda says:

    really, really beautiful! I love that dusty pink color…

  28. My friend clipped a couple of her hydrangeas from her yard for me and I put one in a small vase and left it there in my bathroom, forgotten. After awhile, I realized that it had dried into this beautiful, although slightly more fragile color. I’ve now had it for more than three years, if you can believe that. I just love it…and now I have my own hydrangeas in my front yard! Lucky me :)

  29. Kaity says:

    It is my understanding that if the hydrangea gets too cold in the winter it won’y blossom. Also, the leaves should never be pruned off as they are necessary to the flowering process.

  30. deanna Nelson says:

    Hydrangeas can be made permanent by letting them soak up a mixture of 3 parts h2o and 1 part glycerin. a tip from a granny

  31. annie says:

    I have the prettiest dark purple hydrangeas. They started blooming about a month ago. It’s June, so I guess it’s the wrong time. I anted to use them as part of a wedding gift. Guess I will hit Michaels for some silk ones. ?Too early to cut and dry my own.


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