How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements

By Ulla Rothschuh Osorio, Biologist. January 25, 2024
How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements

Hydrangeas are plants of the Hydrangea genus with small flowers that are grouped in sphere-shaped inflorescences. They can exhibit petals in colors of blue, purple, pink or white, something which changes depending on the pH of the soil. Their great beauty invites you to immortalize them, something many gardeners will do by drying them out. Dried hydrangeas can be a beautiful part of a flower arrangement or centerpiece, allowing them to last long past their bloom.

If you want to know how it's done, thedailyECO explains how to dry out hydrangeas for arrangements. We explain 8 easy hydrangea drying methods to get the dried hydrangeas you're looking for.

You may also be interested in: How Do You Dry and Keep Tulips?

Dry hydrangeas with water

If you are wondering how to dry cut hydrangeas, there are several methods. Although it may seem counterintuitive, you can actually get dried hydrangeas using water. This is one of the best ways to help preserve the original color of your dried hydrangea. To dry out hydrangeas for arrangements using water, use the following method:

  1. You need a large glass or vase where you will place the cut stem of the flower, just as you would place a cut flower for display.

  2. Add a little water, but do not fill the vase or glass completely. The role of water will be to prevent the flowers from wilting prematurely, keeping the colors bright. Using too much will be counterproductive and the flowers won't dry.

  3. Cut the stem so that it measures approximately 4 inches (10 cm) and place it in the water.

  4. Leave the glass away from the sun to prevent it from turning yellow. The water will evaporate little by little and when it is finished, you will see that the flower has a texture like paper. This method preserves the colors of the flower and the three-dimensionality of the floral umbels.

Learn about the different types of hydrangeas you can dry with our related guide.

How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements - Dry hydrangeas with water

Drying hydrangeas in books

When hydrangeas and other flowers are dried professionally, there is a method where they are placed between two sheets for pressing. This is a method which has been replicated successfully at home for centuries using a simple book:

  1. Grab a heavy book that you won't be using, such as an old phone book. Try not to use valuable books to prevent them from being damaged.

  2. Place the flowers between the leaves. The paper in these books tends to be good at desiccating and helps the flowers lie flat. Keep in mind that the guide sheets can become stained by moisture, so choose one that you will no longer use. Another alternative is to use sheets of blotting paper to protect the pages of the book that you will use as a press.

  3. Place the book at the bottom of a pile of books or use another weight on top. Wait a few weeks for the flowers to have completely dried. You can check its condition every few days, but you must open the book pages very carefully.

This method is useful for one-dimensional projects, such as cards and dividers. It can also work for suspension projects with epoxy resin.

Drying hydrangeas with silica gel

Another effective method when we want to know how to dry hydrangea flowers is to use silica gel or silica beads, the latter also known as silica crystals. These beads or gels serve as a desiccant to remove all moisture from the environment. The advantage of this method is that the hydrangeas maintain their color and three-dimensionality. To dry flowers, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a container with the gel or bead. They are reusable, so if it is the first time you use the beads you can use them directly. If you are going to reuse them it is advisable to heat them before using so that all the moisture escapes.

  2. Place the flower in the middle of the container so that it is completely covered and cover the container with its lid, making sure it is closed tightly.

  3. The process lasts between 3 to 5 days, but check if it is necessary to leave them for more time.

Make this dried hydrangeas method as easy as possible with a silica slower drying kit using the link below:

Dry hydrangeas hanging upside down

For this method of drying hydrangeas you need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Make a bouquet of hydrangeas and wrap the sides with newspaper or craft paper.

  2. Secure the base of the flowers with string or twine.

  3. Hang them upside down inside the house or outside, if possible in a place where the sun hits them.

  4. After a few weeks the flowers will have dried. It is possible that they will lose color in the process, leaving them in brown tones, but this will not make them any less beautiful.
How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements - Dry hydrangeas hanging upside down

Drying hydrangeas in the microwave

This hydrangea-drying method is also quite simple and practical:

  1. Place a paper napkin on the microwave plate.

  2. Place the hydrangeas on the napkin.

  3. Put a small container with water into the microwave. Make sure it is microwave safe. The water provides humidity so the flowers and the napkin do not burn. It also helps to preserve the color, although this hydrangea drying method will not preserve the color as well as others.

  4. Dry in 30 second intervals. By the time it reaches 2 minutes, the flowers should already be dry. This way the flowers will dry while maintaining an irregular shape. If you want them to be flat you can place them between two sheets of paper and apply pressure to do so.

Hydrangeas can flower in various colors of blooms, even white. Learn more about the types of white flowers you can grow at home with our related guide.

Drying hydrangeas in a conventional oven

This is another method to dry out hydrangea flowers for arrangements. It follows the same principle as the one we just explained using the microwave.

  1. Place the whole flowers or loose flower petals on the baking sheet. This method does not preserve the characteristic tones of the flowers very well. If you want to ensure that they don't get lost completely or avoid getting a very toasted color, you can include a small container with water on one side of the tray. Make sure the container is oven safe.

  2. Turn on the oven at 38 ºC/100 ºF for 3 hours.

  3. Check the state of the petals every few minutes, but after this maximum time, the flowers should already be dehydrated.

Dry hydrangeas with glycerin

Glycerin is a moisture-attracting medium, so it can be used for drying hydrangeas for arrangements. For this process you need to follow these steps:

  1. Make a solution with two parts warm water and one part glycerin, mixing them well. Try to prepare enough so that the flowers are completely covered.

  2. Place the flowers completely immersed in the solution.

  3. Let them rest for a week. During the process, the water in the flowers is replaced by glycerin, completely dehydrating them.

  4. After the time has elapsed, the flower is removed and placed on an absorbent napkin. Wait a few days for them to be completely dry and your dry hydrangeas will be ready.
How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements - Dry hydrangeas with glycerin

Drying hydrangeas with an iron

Another method to dry out hydrangeas is to use the plate of a clothing iron:

  1. Choose the hydrangeas you want to dry and place the flowers between two sheets of paper .

  2. Apply pressure to flatten them.

  3. Run the iron over the paper containing the flowers.

  4. Do it in 10 second intervals, checking that it dries completely.

Drying is only one of the ways you can preserve flowers, although it is probably the most popular. If you want to learn about other techniques, check out our guide on how to best preserve flowers.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Dry Out Hydrangeas for Arrangements, we recommend you visit our Decorative plants category.

  • Davidson, J. (2016). Beauty Everlasting - Dried and Pressed Flowers - Learning the Ancient Art of Drying and Pressing Flowers and Creating Things of Beauty. Mendon Cottage Books.

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