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. says

    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!!

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

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

  4. says

    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.

  5. says

    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.

  6. says

    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?

  7. says

    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!

    • says

      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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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!

  10. says

    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!

  11. says

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

  12. says

    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,

  13. says

    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! :)

  14. says

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

  15. says

    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!

  16. says

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

  17. says

    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!!

  18. cleo says

    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!

  19. 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!

  20. says

    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.

  21. says

    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

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

    • says

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

  24. Jacque says

    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. :)

  25. says

    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?

    • says

      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 :)

  26. says

    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!

  27. Susan says

    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.

  28. Beverly says

    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!!


  1. […]   I can’t stop buying hydrangeas. I dream of having bushes of them by next summer, so in keeping with that dream:  check out this post about caring for fresh cut hydrangeas from Keeping with the Times. […]