Everlasting Hydrangeas

You can never have too many hydrangea shrubs in a garden!

dried hydrangeas

Photo: LuAnn Johnson, WFIU

Hydrangea blooms from Moya's garden, dried in a vase at WFIU Public Radio's main office, 2103.

As we put our gardens to bed and say goodbye to our bouquets of home-grown, fresh flowers from our annuals and perennials until next spring, it is good to have vases of hydrangea blooms.

By November many hydrangea blooms are already nearly dry on the shrub.

I especially love the H. paniculata grandiflora that has white blooms in the late summer, which turn pink in autumn. The stems are so stiff and strong that they stand up well in a tall vase, so the flowers can dry upright.

One can also, of course, tie the stems together and hang the flowers upside down to dry. This method helps to straighten the stems as they dry.

The beauty of hydrangeas is since they can dry in the vase, we can arrange them and see how they look as soon as we cut them. Just put them in about half a vase of water and let it evaporate over time. Usually by the time no water is left the blooms will be dry, and if they are not in direct sunlight they will retain most of their color.

Expect some shrinkage in the size of each flower head as they dry, and make sure the bouquet is full enough at the outset so that the shrinkage will not make the vase look only half full once dried.

There are so many different varieties and colors of hydrangeas to mix and match in a vase nowadays: pinks, purples, reds and lime greens, as well as the time-honored blues and variegated blossoms. My motto is you can never have too many hydrangea shrubs in a garden! There are dwarfs available now too, such as H. ‘Little Lime’, that are perfect for smaller gardens.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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