You know summer’s here when garden borders light up in masses of deep purples and blues and shades of pinks and whites. It’s Hydrangea season in Australia!
Hydrangeas are timeless plants that will be eye-catching in mass plantings or a pot. No green thumb needed here; they are not fussy.
These blooms also hold their own as a cut flower and can lift a bouquet from ordinary to extraordinary.
So what if you could extend their life past summer, carry on those sunshine vibes well into the colder months? Well, we can’t see why not. Dried Hydrangeas are the answer.
There are several ways to go about it.
The fuss-free solution is to get your dried flowers from the experts and have them delivered straight to your front door. Flowers Across Australia offers long-lasting preserved Hydrangeas in a lovely range of colours, from champagne to shades of pink.
Alternatively, if you grow your own - or have a kind friend with an abundant shrub - drying Hydrangeas is super easy. We’ll show you how.
Read on to find out what varieties grow in Australia, when to cut Hydrangeas and what to look out for when drying them. Hydrangeas are some of the most versatile flowers. They manage to look romantic, rustic and modern depending on what they are paired with and where they are put on display. We’ve added some nifty DIY and decor ideas for you.
Hydrangeas - the best flower show in summer
Although it is thought that Hydrangeas are native to Japan, you’ll find them just about everywhere in the world. Today, there are about 100 varieties to choose from in different shapes, sizes and shades.
Over the years, this popular plant has spread its wings from a traditionally shade-loving shrub to one that also happily basks in the sun. More compact varieties have also come on the market as well, great for a brilliant summer display in pots and small urban gardens. So if you have a spare corner that could use a pop of colour but you're not entirely sure where to start, then check out these excellent tips on growing Hydrangeas in Australia.
Perhaps the most popular Hydrangea is the Macrophylla or Bigleaf. With its big, dark green leaves and large pom pom blooms, this variety is perfect for long-lasting, cut fresh and dried flowers. Not surprisingly, they are often called ‘Florist’s Hydrangea’.
If you are looking for a shrub that will give you an ever-changing colour display right into autumn, the Quercifolia, or Oakleaf Hydrangea is not just a pretty face; it will also bloom in deep shade, under a tree, for example, and can even handle a frost.
And finally, if you want to steer clear of the more traditional varieties, check out these new beauties! How about a little Sunday Fraise or Strawberries and Cream?
A note: All parts of the Hydrangea are poisonous if eaten. Skin contact can cause a rash, irritation, or dermatitis for some.
Originally, the Hydrangea symbolised gratitude or an apology. These days, we are taking the colour-coordinated approach:
- Blue blooms often mean regret but also forgiveness
- Pink Hydrangeas, copying a beating heart, symbolise sincere emotions and love.
- Purple varieties stand for wealth, royalty and abundance
- White Hydrangeas, unsurprisingly, symbolise purity and grace.
The meaning of colours is good to know when gifting blooms, fresh or dried. When it comes to home decor, though, it’s easy: choose the one that reflects and complements your style and taste.
Bringing the sunshine in - how to dry Hydrangeas
Before we get to the drying part, let’s just look at when and how to bring your cut Hydrangea in.
Timing is everything, but you’ve got the power!
You might be tempted to cut your Hydrangeas when they are in full bloom and look their very best. But drying them at that point seldom works. Neither does cutting the flowers too early - they will most likely wilt. On the other hand, cut them too late and they will have lost their colour.
Experiment with this. You will get the best results when cutting your Hydrangea when it is just starting to turn, but some colour remains. It will retain its colour best when it is past full bloom but not dried yet.
We also recommend cutting your fresh Hydrangea stems in the morning, when the air is still fresh, with clean scissors and at an angle. Take off most green leaves to have a long, clean stem.
After that step, opinions are somewhat divided. The most common way to dry Hydrangeas and perhaps the easiest one is to hang them upside down, in a dark place, with some ventilation, but without a draft.
Another way to dry your Hydrangeas is to put your stems in a vase filled with a couple of centimetres of water. Make sure here that you don’t submerge any leaves. Place the vase away from direct sunlight, in a cool place. Once the water is gone, your Hydrangea will be dry. It is thought that the water helps slow down the transition and the flower will preserve better.
Your Hydrangeas will take about two weeks to dry.
Our tip: Keep your drying Hydrangeas out of reach of little hands, paws and fur. They are delicate beauties.
Letting Hydrangeas shine - design and DIY ideas
Long accused of being an old-fashioned flower, the Hydrangea has seen its own revival in recent years and is right on trend. Interior designers, florists and event organisers have shown us the versatility of this bloom. Pair it with the right companion, or celebrate a single stem in a slim vase. Hydrangeas can be rustic, modern, elegant, joyful.
Inspiration here we come!
Mix and match is the way to go for floral arrangements. The team at Flowers Across Australia have their dried and preserved flower arrangements down-pat. Have a look at how they complement Hydrangeas with other dried blooms and grasses. Each combination makes for a different vibe, from Boho to natural, intricate to bold. Not quite what you were after? Check out their dried flower bar for individual stems and greenery, or discuss your wishes with them.
There’s also an art to mixing fresh and dried flowers together. You kind of get the best of both worlds. We especially love these stunning wedding bouquets that use fresh and dried flowers.
Hydrangeas - the daahlings of events and interior design
Dried flower arrangements have been in hot demand for some time now. If anything, the last couple of years has added to that trend. We’ve been busy making our home a relaxing oasis and creating a cosy, warm environment. The dried Hydrangea has been right up there and in the thick of it. And event planners and designers like dried flowers because they look amazing AND allow them to prep well in advance. There will be no wilting!
The most common way to showcase your dried Hydrangeas is undoubtedly in a bouquet, or, if you are going for the more modern look, as a single stem in a vase. Experiment with it! The kind of vessel you use can also make a huge difference to the vibe of your arrangement. We think test tube vessels, long, elegant vases, tins, woven baskets, bright bowls, or terracotta containers. Each one will make your arrangement look completely different. Best of all, your dried flowers will look good for a long time, but you can change things up anytime to get that new look.
We’ve also found a couple of lovely Hydrangea DIY ideas we’d like to share with you.
First up, the Hydrangea garlands. It looks like you’ll need a bit of patience for this one, but the final look seems well worth it. What do you think? Next one up is the wreath. We love its natural, organic look and that it is not completely covered with flowers.
Our tip: If you plan to DIY with dried Hydrangeas, use them when they are not completely dry just yet. They will be less delicate and much easier to work with.
Hydrangea - the strange and the wonderful
We feel this blog would not be complete without the slightly left-field ideas and facts about Hydrangeas. So here goes:
- Check out the George Tindale Memorial Gardens in Sherbrook if you are near. They’re said to be one of the most stunning Hydrangea displays in Australia!
- And for those who can travel a little further afield, check out these beautiful spots in Japan, the birthplace of Hydrangeas.
- If you are interested in the arts, this pairing of flowers with famous paintings might be for you.
- Except for the white varieties, Hydrangeas can change their colour. It all depends on the pH level of your soil. More acidic soil will give you blue blooms, while an alkaline soil will produce pink flowers.
- Cupcake anyone? Are you planning a little garden party? Then this recipe might just be what you’re looking for.
Before you go
Some of the most common questions our team gets asked are:
- What is the best way to dry Hydrangeas?
- When should you Hydrangeas for drying?
- How long will dried Hydrangeas last?
So here’s the short answer:
What is the best way to dry Hydrangeas? If you want to dry your own Hydrangeas, we find it easiest to hang them upside down, out of the sun and out of strong winds. For the full details, go to our step by step guide.
When should you cut Hydrangeas for drying? Timing is probably the most crucial part of the process! You’ll find our recommendation here.
How long will dried Hydrangeas last? If you dry your Hydrangeas yourself, they take about two weeks to dry and will last about a year. However, if you go with professionally dried Hydrangeas, they can last up to two years. Make sure you keep these lovelies out of direct sunlight and humidity in both cases.
Do you have any more questions? Get in touch with our team!
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