Ideas and tricks for arranging hydrangeas for a long-lasting bouquet

Ideas and tricks for arranging hydrangeas for a long-lasting bouquet

With their massive mop heads and range of color options, hydrangeas are a staple in the summer garden. Although hydrangea flowers remain forever on the shrub, they are prone to wilting once they are removed from the plant. This makes it a bit difficult to use in your flower arrangements.

Fortunately, with a few ideas and tricks, you can create a stunning hydrangea bouquet that will look beautiful for days.

How to choose and prepare hydrangea

If you use locally grown hydrangeas in your flower arrangements, pick them when the plant is well hydrated. “Water your bushes well a day or two before picking flowers,” says Amy Gofton, floral designer at Nectar Studio in Montclair, New Jersey. “Pick your flowers early in the morning, before the moisture begins to evaporate in the heat of the day.”

Look for more mature flowers that have florets in bloom, rather than newer ones. “It’s tougher to the elements, so it won’t wilt as easily,” Gofton says.

Keeping your hydrangea looking good depends on preparation. To start, cut the stems at a 45-degree angle and cut them into cuts at the stem in a criss-cross pattern to open more of them to the water for hydration. “Two holes give you the access you need to have a fuller drinking surface,” says Gofton.

To really hydrate your flowers, submerge them completely, first standing in a basin or deep pail of water for at least 45 minutes, up to overnight.

As with other flowers, remove leaves — especially those that will be below the water line — and change the water often to prevent bacterial growth that may reduce its longevity.

Tips for arranging hydrangeas at home

These bold hydrangea flowers are quite heavy, which means they can easily pop out of the vase. Hydrangeas are also susceptible to wilting, but there are some strategies you can use to keep your arrangements looking fresh, especially if you display them outside in hot weather. Here are some tricks florists use to tame your flowers and create beautiful, long-lasting hydrangea arrangements.

Use tools to keep the flowers in place

“You should have some structure and space between each flower head, and it’s good that they don’t look squashed together,” Gofton says. “When you create a group arrangement, use masking tape to create a grid on top of the vase, or create a wire nest inside the vase. This will allow you to create space and a little air around each flower head.”

Select opaque containers

Clear vases won’t hide any wire or tape you use to surround your flowers, so opaque containers are best. You’ll also need to consider how big your arrangement might be. If you have a large clump of hydrangeas in your arrangement, look for wider containers.

Pair with complementary flowers

For a mixed flower arrangement, look for bold flowers that can match hydrangeas in size and size. “I love them with other summer flowers, they have a very synergistic seasonal appeal for me,” says Gofton. “If you usually find them growing together, it’s comforting to see them paired together.”

Flowers like roses, peonies and dahlias have a dramatic presence to hold them. “Lilacs have the same kind of delicate, multi-flowered heads, so even though they have pretty flowers like hydrangeas, the overall impression is of a larger bloom,” says Gofton.

Delphiniums, foxgloves, and other tapering-shaped flowers work beautifully, too. “They shoot from the hydrangea mass, so they draw your eye upwards, instead of getting lost in the mass,” Gofton says.

Jazz up the entire hydrangea bouquet

If you’re sticking to only hydrangeas in your arrangement, find ways to add visual interest. One of the coolest hydrangea styling ideas is to use different shades to create an ombre effect in the bouquet. “This way, you can get definition of the different flower tufts and shade bands — white, pale green, pale blue, and purple,” Gofton says.

Reduce wilting by using ice cubes

“To help with wilt, place ice cubes in the water,” says Gofton. “The ice cubes melt and help keep the flower stems cool.” Spraying your arrangements with a spray bottle of water will help rejuvenate them so they last until the end of your party.

Dry the flowers to last for several months

Drying hydrangeas allows you to have a more sustainable (and still beautiful) arrangement. Gofton dries her hydrangeas by placing them in a vase with good air circulation with a half-inch of water in the bottom, then hiding them out of direct sunlight in a cooler part of the house and letting them dry slowly.

Some dried hydrangeas – especially white ones – can turn a little brown when dried, but they look great sprayed with metallic paint and used to decorate Christmas trees or wreaths.

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