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How to Harvest Hydrangeas

By Diane Watkins ; Updated September 21, 2017

Hydrangeas produce beautiful clusters of flowers that are perfect for use in flower arrangements. They are pretty fresh or dried to enjoy for many years. Choose clusters of flowers that are completely open; flowers that are not completely open may wilt prematurely. For dried arrangements, allow the flower cluster to partially dry on the plant, then harvest while it still has color and before completely drying out.

Harvest Hydrangea for Fresh Arrangements

Harvest hydrangea flowers in late summer, from August to October. Keep the plants watered and fertilize monthly with a liquid fertilizer for flowers.

Choose flowers that have opened completely. Cut the stems on the diagonal with sharp pruning shears.

Remove the leaves from the hydrangea stems and place the stems immediately into cool water. Allow them to rest in the water for 1 to 2 hours.

Ready a vase with water for arranging the fresh flowers. Hold the hydrangea stems under water and cut again about 1 inch above the original cut. Arrange the flowers in the vase and keep them watered.

Drying Hydrangeas

Allow the hydrangea flowers to mature on the plant before picking. Pick them just as the flowers begin to lose color but are still lush and colorful.

Cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Remove the leaves and arrange the flowers in a vase or display container without water.

Leave the flowers to dry. Flowers with thin, weak stems can be hung upside down to dry. They will dry out and retain their color for a long time, but will eventually turn brown.

Spray the hydrangea blooms with a mixture of glycerin and water to help keep them supple. Spray with hairspray to help them retain their color.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp pruning shears or clippers
  • Glycerin and water mixture
  • Spray bottle
  • Hair spray


  • Avoid cutting flowers during the heat of the day to prevent wilting.

About the Author


Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.