How to Revive the Wilting Hydrangeas in Your Bouquet

When your blooms begin to droop, don't fret! Learn how to revive hydrangeas with tricks from a florist.

Bouquets make us so happy, especially when made with gorgeous, pillowy hydrangea flowers. What happens when the cut hydrangeas in your arrangement start to wilt and don’t look so happy anymore? You can bring them back to life!

How to Revive Hydrangeas

These tricks will help you coax three to five more days from your hydrangeas.

Trick No. 1: Give Them a Soak

We spoke to Bailey Hale, co-owner and head of floral operations at Ardelia Farm & Co. in Irasburg, Vermont. His advice to bring back wilting hydrangea blooms? Soak them—flowers and all. “Soak the blooms in warmish water for 30 to 40 minutes,” he advises.

Why? According to Hale, hydrangeas take in water through the flower petals as well as through the stems. Submerging your cut hydrangea gives the flowers a chance to take in lots of water and revive.

Trick No. 2: Cut the Stems

Another tip from Hale is to trim the stems. Many people know that a fresh cut on flower stems will help bouquets last, but Hale says there’s more to it than that: “The longer the stem, the harder it is for water to reach the flowers.”

Trim the stems to a shorter length, and then make a criss-cross slice up into the stems—another way to help the stem to take up water. He does not recommend crushing the stems, a step sometimes given for flowers with woodier stems, like lilacs. “The vascular tissues that take in water will be damaged if the stems are crushed,” he says.

Use this tape trick to help your flower arrangement look nice and full.

Trick No. 3: Use Boiling Water

Hydrangeas form a type of sap on the stems where they have been cut—and this can prevent a constant flow of water to the flowers and cause them to droop. Put on a kettle of water and bring it to a boil. Pour the boiled water into a container. Remove the wilted hydrangeas from your arrangement and re-cut the stems on a 45-degree angle. Make a vertical slit in the incision and hold the stem upright in the boiling water for about 60 seconds. Place the hydrangeas back in your floral arrangement and they should revive themselves in an hour or so.

@ashleybrooke Transform your wilted hydrangeas in 2 steps! 🌸🤯 This will blow your mind! (Tip by my friend Megan Stokes) #hydrangeatips #nancymeyers #coastalgrandmother #hydrangeas #hydrangeasbacktolife #flowerarrangement #flowertip ♬ This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) – Natalie Cole

Don’t forget to check out our pro tips for arranging flowers!

Tips for Your Next Bouquet

Hale’s last tip is for your next bouquet made from the hydrangeas in your yard. “Don’t cut hydrangea flowers too young,” he says. That’s when flowers still have a lot of moisture in the petals. Wait until the flowers have a papery or even “leathery” feel, and your hydrangea blooms will last much longer in your bouquet.

Next Up: This is how to prune hydrangeas for the perfect summer blooms.

Alice Knisley Matthias contributed to this article.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.