Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Hydrangeas are the perfect everlasting. Versatile enough to use in all kinds of arrangements, these are very easy to dry.
Almost all kinds of hydrangeas dry well. However, there is one exception. These are called the lacecups, which have a ruffle of florets around the plain looking centers. Lacecup flower heads are flattened, while the others are more pyramidal or rounded. For drying, the best of all are called the mopheads. Their flower heads are almost spherical. The oak leaf and panicle hydrangea stems also dry very well.
Hydrangea flowers can be white, pink, or blue. The individual florets are small and starlike. Sometimes, the color can change slightly as they dry. In some cases, white ones can develop pinkish tinges.
Hydrangeas that are used for fresh cut flowers can be cut earlier than those that will be dried for everlastings. So, you need to know which use you have in mind before you cut the stems. For dried flowers, most will be ready to harvest in late summer. However, this does depend on your location. In southern areas where the growing season is longer, they can be ready by August or so.
If the hydrangea stems are cut too soon, the petals will just shrivel up. So, donít be in a hurry. Make sure the flowers feel like rubber before harvesting them to dry.
For use as an everlasting, the stems can be cut about a foot or less in height. Strip the lower leaves off the stems. Separate the stems into bunches of three or so. Hold the stems together with a rubber band.
When drying, no special care is needed. Just hang them in a dry dark place. Avoid sunny spots as the flowers can get discolored. Hang the bunches upside down. Drying is most successful when the room is warm and low in humidity. If necessary, use a fan if youíre drying the stems in a basement. Exposure to high humidity can cause the blooms to lose their color.
When drying conditions are good, the stems can dry in a week or so.
Dried hydrangeas are used in all sorts of everlasting floral designs. These make delightful wreaths. For this, the individual clusters of blooms are cut from the flower heads. Use a glue gun to attach the clusters to the wreath form.
Dried hydrangeas also look beautiful when displayed in baskets and flower boxes.