Author: Gail Labrosse, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission
Drying hydrangea flowers from your garden for a winter table arrangement is easy. The best time for picking the flowers is toward the end of the growing season, when they naturally start to dry out. Take a tall container of cool water with you when you plan to pick your bouquet.
- Cut each flower, leaving the stem about 30 – 45 cm long. Strip all the leaves off. Place flower stems in cool water, but no water should touch the blossoms. For easier handling, wrap an elastic band around the bouquet halfway up the stems.
- Boil a pot of water. Place the cut ends of the bouquet into the boiling water for 30 seconds to seal the stems. If using shorter-stemmed flowers, wrap the blossoms in paper towels for protection from the steam.
- Put the hydrangeas in a tall vase with no water. Drape the flower heads with paper towels.
- Mist the towels thoroughly with water and re-mist as the towels dry out for the first hour. Let the flower heads condition for 4 to 5 hours. Remove paper towels and arrange them in your favourite vase without water. If you need to change the stem length, re-cut it to the desired length and repeat step 2.
Annabelle and panicle hydrangeas are long-lived flowers. Dried or fresh cut, they make great flowers to decorate your home or your table. Remember to avoid placing them in direct sunlight to preserve their delicate colours