How to Care for Freshly Cut Hydrangeas


Oh, my… I came across some hydrangeas the other day while out shopping. There were four in the package and although they looked fresh, they appeared to be scrunched up a bit. After humming and hawing for 10 minutes, I finally decided to shell out the ridiculously low price of $8.00 (it’s almost a crime, really) and just get them.

When I got home, I had to do a little research on how to care for these amazing flowers. I knew enough to re-cut the stems (on a slant) but what I didn’t know was..


    … that they are the most water-lovin’ flowers you will ever find! So here’s what you do:
  • cut the bottom of the stems off while under water (use garden shears) – this prevents a bubble from forming and hindering the uptake of water
  • poke several holes in the stem with a needle (I used a nail)
  • fill a vase  to the brim with cold, cold water – add a handful of ice cubes! isn’t that weird? but apparently hydrangeas love cold water
  • add the flower food that is usually included – if you don’t have flower food you can use 1 Tbsp sugar with 1tsp bleach
  • add the hydrangeas and let them fall into place
  • spritz the flower heads with more water



After following all these directions, I was rewarded with big fluffy blooms that lasted for days and days!

Texture: kk_minus 43 on soft light


  1. sugar and bleach – who’d a thunkit. and pricking the stems, too.

  2. Oh, first the images are gorgeous….2nd, thanks for all that info. I did not realize that hydrangeas loved water that much, altho I should have since they wilt so easy in the ground if not given enough water. The next water, and poke holes in the stems for sure. Thanks!!

  3. I just bought a single white one on Friday but I paid twice what you paid for all of yours. The florist told me too to be sure and keep them watered well and to keep the vase filled to the top. She didn’t tell me about the ice so thank you! She sprayed them with some coating — that was to hold in the flower’s moisture so maybe that’s why she didn’t tell me to spritz them. But I may anyway! Thanks.

  4. Wow, a beautiful collection of photos. I love hydrangeas. Thanks for the care information.

  5. Beautiful, and great tips. Oh and the marshmallows in your header are making me hungry. :0)

  6. Who would have thought bleach. Beautiful , beautiful and I’ve decided we are going to have to plant a hydrangea in the garden….

  7. Well, I’m blown away by the fabulous images of these fabulous white blossoms!

  8. Oh, my! What a vision of loveliness! I adore the tonal white here. And thanks so much for the tips about cut hydrangeas. I do love them and now feel inspired to run out and get some for myself! Oh, what fun my camera will have.

  9. Very pretty. The texture works wonderfully with this!

  10. I love these images to bit! To me there is nothing that says freshness better than a white hydrangea. And in a white pitcher. Beautiful. I will keep these tips handy for the next time I have some. They’re great.

  11. Oh, goodness they are my favorite flower and your pictures…especially the second one…are just so gorgeous! I’ve bought them before but had no idea about the cold water. With regard to the part about poking holes in the stem~just randomly up and down the stem?

  12. I have a couple of bushes in my yard and pick armfuls of them when they are blooming. They are so lovely. These white ones are so beautiful. Mine are blue. Now I am missing spring and summer big time!

  13. Hi marty! thank you so much! And yes, I think that poking holes along the whole stem would work quite well!

  14. All the images are equally beautiful – it would hard to pick a favorite.

  15. Beautiful flowers and great images. And thanks for the tips, too. :)

  16. You can also submerge the flower head in water to help bring wilted stems back to life.

    • That’s true, Carrie! :)

    • So true!
      I did my own flowers – hydrangeas – for my wedding.
      I had them shipped in overnight from California.
      The directions from the grower was to completely submerge them in water for a few hours.
      I had a huge storage container, put all the stems in after re-cutting.
      Then added plastic Tupperware bowls filled with water to submerge the stems.
      They came back BEAUTIFULLY.

  17. Thank you so much for adding this post to our Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop! These flowers are so beautiful. Am I correct that they often come in pink or blue? I’ve never seen white but I LOVE the white. They are so elegant.

  18. Info noted. Thanks much and great pics.

  19. These are beautiful! Oh, how I love hydrangeas…and I had no idea that this was the care they required. I may just buy some now and have my own photo shoot. Thank you so much for sharing!

  20. I’ve always had lots of trouble with hydrangeas. Thanks for the tips. I’ll give it another try! Gorgeous!

  21. Thanks for sharing all the facts. I’m not sure I’ve every seen white hydrangeas before ~ gorgeous shots, I especially like the second one! Enjoy your day!

  22. Hello Barb, I am visiting from happy hour. This is excellent advice! I am hoping to plant quite a few white hydrangeas this year!

  23. I love my hydrangeas, but did not know any of this! I can’t wait for them to bloom, so I can cut them and give them the attention they deserve. Thanks for this wonderful information.
    Have a Nice Day,

  24. Wow…thanks so much for the great advice! I LOVE hydrangeas, and am planning to plant several bushes this spring. Great information on how to keep them looking beautiful…definitely looking forward to applying your techniques! :)

  25. Hydrangeas are my favorites! Thanks for this great info on caring for them! Will definitely help out in the spring! Pinning!

  26. They are so beautiful. Definitely in the top 3 of my favourite flowers ever.

  27. I am so blessed to have gorgeous hydrangeas that grow in my back yard every summer, but I had NO idea this is how you are supposed to care for them! Oh wow, I’m learning so much! Thanks for sharing :)

  28. Great tips – I knew about cutting the stems, but would have never dared to poke holes into them. I just love hydrangeas, can’t wait until they’re in bloom again in the garden!

  29. I have a Hydrangea tree that isn’t doing very well! It had pretty blooms for several years, but not the last few!

  30. Love that tip about flower food.. it’s odd that flowers like bleach though.. haha
    Beautiful shots as always. Hope you are well :)

  31. I love hydrangeas. I wish I could grow them here…sad face. I love the tips and your photos are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

  32. Hydrangeas are my favorite flower and your pictures are beautiful! Thanks so much for the tips! I never really knew they were such water loving, but it makes sense after seeing how my hydrangeas last year loved all the rain we had! I would never have thought about the sugar and bleach or pricking holes in the stems. Great tips!!

  33. Very useful way to take care of freshly hydrangeas!!!!

  34. I have a tree full of these blooming in my back yard. I was wondering how I could make the most of them. Thanks for the tips!

  35. cheryl Long says:

    For the live hydrangeas in your garden…. I fond that they LOVE coffee grounds. Not only does it bring out the beautiful colors, but the coffee allows them to hold in the water as well….. I am really missing the warm weather now!

  36. Found you on Hometalk. I now follow your beautiful blog. Thanks for the info on the hydrangeas I love them!

  37. Thanks so much for these tips. I bring home grocery store flowers quite often. These are great ideas.

  38. Thanks for all that info! I didn’t know about the holes in the stem. I’d figured out most of the rest by trial and error. Another thing I’ve always done is re-cut the stems when they get a little droopy. I probably wouldn’t have to do that if I poked the holes in the stem. I have many hydrangeas planted in my yard and it can be a challenge to keep them watered.

  39. Should refresh the water and re-cut the stems or just add water as needed?

  40. I will definitely prick the stems next time! I’ve done everything else and have had good luck with keeping them. Hope this will prolong their beauty even more. Thanks for the tip. :-) Sue

  41. Artie Janow says:

    If you have a Hydrangeas bush, don’t trim the woody branches….they grow off the old wood. If you take a lower branch, push it into the surrounding soil, lay a brick on it to keep it in the soil, it will root. My grandmother used to plant rusty nails next to the base to keep the blue Hydrangeas blue. Not sure if this is scientifically proven…..but hers were always deep blue. They are also beautiful when dried.
    Definitely, one of my favorite blooms.

  42. Kathy Woodman says:

    My daughter got married a couple of weeks ago, and I was told by the florist to put the hydrangeas in hot water! I was so surprised by this, but she swore it was “The Trick” to refreshing them. I was skeptical, but after the wedding, we had lots of white hydrangeas that we brought home, and sure enough whenever they started to wilt (or had completely wilted) I refilled the vases with hot water, recut the stems, and, Voila! Like magic, the flowers came back time and time again! I finally threw them out today, just because we are going away for a few weeks. I should have taken a photo. The blooms still looked gorgeous and fresh. Maybe hot is just for refreshing? I didn’t prick the stems or use anything in the water. But I did recut the stems a little each time I changed the water. By the way, beautiful photos, Barb!

    • That is so strange Kathy! I’ll have to experiment with that – maybe hydrangeas simply like extremes!! Thank you for dropping by :)

  43. I am a florist , of 26 years and I will tell you when we get hydrangeas in the first thing we do is turn them upside down and soak them on their heads as they drink through their blooms. Then cut and put in water in cooler. :)

  44. I love this idea! I’m a local master gardener and our neighborhood has a website for information, would you mind if I use this info and a photo to inspire my neighbors?

    • Hi Lynette,
      Firstly, thank you for asking! :) many people nowadays wouldn’t, which is sad…

      So please do use this – I would just ask that you credit me and link back to my blog :)

  45. Our neighborhood has a little forum for information. Would you mind if I use this info and a photo to post in our forum? I’m a local master gardener and love this idea!

  46. Great tip about the needle or nail…have to try this. Thanks!

  47. This is fantastic information!!! I love hydrangea—-fresh and dried! I’ll certainly try this!!~~Angela

  48. What great tips!! Thank you so much for teaching me something new!!

  49. Thanks for all the great tips. I have beautiful hydrangea plants blue and pink in my garden. I cut often but the blooms would just wilt after a few days. Again thanks for sharing.

  50. Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know about pricking the stems, but will have to try it next time. I’m visiting from the Pretty Life in the Suburbs link party.

  51. Such a great tip! Thanks for linking up Mom! ;)

  52. I saw this post in the area on your blog “you might also like” and am really happy to see you have figured out how to keep cut hydrangeas! I have experienced the worst luck with them, especially from the store. Thank you for sharing this!!

  53. Good response in return of tjis difficulty with genuine arguments and
    telling all concerning that.

  54. Should you re-cut and refresh the water or just add to water as needed?

  55. Paula, I would re-cut and re-fresh the water every second day.


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