Sunday, October 11, 2015

Simple Projects with Dried Hydrangeas

Now is the perfect time to bring some of those glorious fall colors indoors! I have some simple arrangements, using dried hydrangeas, that I think you are going to love to try.

You can dry hydrangeas a number of ways. The best and most popular method is to put them in a jar or vase with about an inch of water. By the time the water disappears, the flowers are dry.

Another easy way is to hang bunches to dry. Simply secure your flowers with an elastic band and hang them in a cool, dry place that out of direct sunlight.

This certainly works, but based on my experiments, I am not sure it is always necessary to dry the flowers first before you use them. Dried hydrangeas are brittle and fall to pieces easily. 

Fresh flowers harvested at this time of year are often much easier to work with. With the cool fall temperatures, hydrangeas are already somewhat dry and papery. Fresh stems are strong and woody making them easier to use.

My first project was to fill a basket with hydrangeas and dried roses.

It's standard practice for dried arrangements of this type to use a piece of florist's foam to hold the flowers in place. 

Florist's foam is full of chemicals and isn't biodegradable, so I opted instead to use an old fashioned flower frog. (Note: If you are doing a basket up as a gift, you may want to resort to using the florist's foam. It will make the arrangement more transportable.)

The mix of flowers I used include:

Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' (seen above on the left as they looked earlier in the summer. This Proven Winner's cultivar has flowers that are smaller and finer than many other varieties of hydrangea. Unfortunately, the stems aren't super sturdy)

 Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lime' (seen above on the right).

Here's how to make your own basket arrangement:

Go out to your yard and pick a generous armful of hydrangea flowers. 

Remove all the leaves and trim the hydrangea flowers to a length appropriate to your basket (as shown above)

Place the metal frog in the bottom of your basket.  Insert the woody stems into the metal frog. 

Put the basket aside while the hydrangea flowers dry enough for you to move on to the next step, which is adding the dried roses. 

Roses must be hung to dry. Fasten bunches of roses together with an elastic band and then hang them, upside down, in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. It will take a little over a week to dry roses. When the rose stems are stiff, they are usually ready to use.

Trim the dried roses to a length appropriate to your basket (mine were about 8 inches). 

Gently poke the roses in amongst the hydrangeas and allow them to catch in the maze of flower stems. (If you opt to use foam, secure the roses into the florist's foam inside the basket.)

This is my finished basket filled with dried hydrangeas and roses.

This hydrangea wreath was another project where I used fresh flowers. Once assembled the wreath dried perfectly.

To keep this post a reasonable length, I have posted instructions separately here.

How to make a dried hydrangea arrangement for a vase or urn:

Cut your hydrangea flowers to a length appropriate to your container. Remove all the green foliage.

Gather the flowers into a pleasing bouquet and fasten the flower stems together with an elastic band. 

To double-check your arrangement is pleasing, place the tied flowers into the urn or vase. Remove the elastic, if necessary, and make any minor adjustments. Gather the flowers back up and refasten the elastic band when you are happy with the arrangement. 

Hang the flowers in a cool, dry place out of the direct sun. 

Before you know it the flowers will be dry enough to place right side up in your vase or urn. 

I left the elastic in place to hold the flowers in position. Another arrangement done!

Even individual hydrangea flowers have a decorative potential. 

I used a few of the dried flowers along with some dried purple Gomphrena to pretty up this bird's nest.

Purple Gomphrena (see my post on Simple Techniques for Drying Flowers)

Often I collect things I like with no intended purpose in mind and group objects together later. 

This is a perfect example. The silver pedestal dish came from a charity shop ($5). The bell-shaped glass cloche was purchased from a home decor store a few years back ($8-10). The straw nest is from the craft store ($8). The speckled eggs and ceramic bird are tiny treasures I picked up somewhere or other in my travels. 

I like to think that, grouped together, my random collection of things becomes rather charming. 

In behind is another bunch of dried hydrangeas in a white pitcher. (Yes, I do have loads of hydrangeas in my garden!)

If you have hydrangeas in your garden, it's not too late to think about drying some of them!


  1. Your wreath is so beautiful!! as is everything else you showed. Gorgeous!

  2. Jennifer, thank you for this post, for sharing your lovely arrangements! I have lots of hydrangea blooms, and your post is very helpful!

  3. These arrangements are really beautiful, Jennifer.
    Thank you so much for these tips and instructions.
    Wishing you a wonderful week.

  4. Jennifer, very nice vase with hydrangeas and roses! I have some dried roses and only need to dry hydrangea flowers that are now dark red. Thanks for advice!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Jennifer girl !
    This was a perfectly timed post .. I have dried hydrangeas from 3 or 4 years ago here in my office and I love them still. I have loads to dry if I wanted to now but things are just to excuse the pun too cut and dried here with whipping the garden into shape for the winter ...I missed the months of August and September ... and now I am running as fast as I can to catch up to swao plants out here and there ... plant bulbs lay extra earth down and mulch .... I get tired even typing it !
    I love your little glass bell over the silver dish .. so pretty ! I think we collect things because we know in the future we will use them some how ...
    I would really love to make a hydrangea wreath one day ... that is my future project ... thank you for the details girl !
    Take care
    Joy : )

  6. What a lovely, informative post. I absolutely loved your little bird, the egg and the nest in the glass, of course the hydrangeas looked loved in this setting. Your basket is utterly charming too!xxx

  7. I love the look of dried hydrangeas too and often use them in my fall decor. I like to spray them with hair spray to keep the flowers secure.

  8. Outstanding post! I love hydrangeas, and have a lot of them here. Now you've given me more ideas on how to use them to their best advantage. Also interesting about Invincibelle. I haven't purchased the plant yet, but how do you like it in comparison with Annabelle?

    1. Karen, if you asked me about 'Invincibelle' a few years ago, I may not have given it a good review. Patience is certainly required. My shrub is about 3 or 4 years old and only now puts on a decent show.
      Invincibelle flowers are much smaller and more dainty than Annabelle. Both of these shrub's stems are on the weak side (they can flop a bit if not staked). I like the pink color of the Invincibelle flowers very much.
      I dried some of the pink Invincibelle flowers in August and they turned into a light beige color.
      In late September, the formerly pink Invincibelle flowers had aged into a lime green color with the falling temperatures. A second harvest of Invincibelle flowers dried a pale lime color. One shrub, two differently colored dried hydrangeas.
      If you buy an Invincibelle hydrangea, I'd suggest you put it in a sheltered spot so the shrub's stems and flowers are not blown around in the wind. The nice pink flowers make it worth growing.

  9. Dried hydrangeas are the perfect alternative to pumpkins for fall decor. My favorite project is the hydrangea wreath. I also love the little lime hydrangeas.

  10. Beautiful dried flowers and thanks for the instructions!

  11. Such an interesting post, I really must try and do this as I have plenty of hydrangers, thank you!

  12. I love coming to your blog and reading your posts, your photo's are so lovely and the colours just great to look at. That little bird in the nest and the hydrangeas in the white pitcher go so well together don't they.

    It was nice to see a photo of your son on your recent post too!

    I hope you had an amazing thanksgiving weekend, enjoy this one too.

    All the best Jan


I love to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a comment.