Did You Know, Journal

Florist Best Kept Secret: How to Save Wilting Hydrangeas

In hot and humid cities like Kuala Lumpur, the unforgiving weather may cause flowers and bouquet like hydrangea to be dull and wilting.

If you find that your hydrangea is wilting, then it’s time to send the blooms to ‘Emergency Room’! If the hydrangea has yet to pass the point of no return and went on its way to the realm of dried flowers, then we can still save it!


Hydrangea – a thirsty flower

Hydrangea comes in beautiful natural gradient of colors and texture. It is nature’s way of arranging tiny petals into the big ‘bouquet’, that is the hydrangea flower. However, hydrangea ranks all the way at the bottom in a florist’s list of flowers that last long. After around a day of being cut, hydrangea will begin to wilt.

One of the reasons hydrangea is fragile is because it is a very very thirsty flower! Well no surprise there if we look at the word origin. The word ‘hydrangea’ comes from a combination of the Greek word ‘hudro’ which means water and ‘angelon’ which means vessel. This is why it is very important to keep hydrangea hydrated all the time!

Did you know that hydrangeas are so thirsty that they can even drink through their petals? Pretty cool huh? Well, I had no idea!  The day that I discovered this little fact about hydrangea is the day my floral world changed as it is one of the keys to saving wilting hydrangeas as well as for daily hydrangea care.


Reviving the blooms

If you have a wilting hydrangea, here is how you can save the hydrangea!

Prepare a bowl of water in room temperature. Dunk the whole hydrangea bloom including the stem in to the water and let the petals drink the water for about 45 minutes. You may also add flower food into the water for better effect.

Next, fill a heat resistant vase / jar with boiling water and put 2 – 3 inches of the hydrangea stem into it. Wait, boiling water? Yes, boiling water! Hydrangea produces a sticky “sap” that forms over the stem preventing water from traveling up to the blooms. The boiling water helps to eliminate this sap.

You may also wrap paper towels around the stem to protect the petals from the heat steam.

Finally, re-cut the stem and place the hydrangea back into a vase of fresh water.

These few steps should be able to revive the blooms!

Of course, we would want to keep the hydrangeas alive for as long as possible right? Well, here are some simple steps to keep hydrangeas fresh!

Snip the extra leaves

Trim the extra leaves on the stem. You can keep a few leaves at the top of the stem to add some natural texture to the flower, but the larger leaves or the leaves at the lower part of the stem should be trimmed away as they will divert the hydration from the bloom.

Give a fresh cut to the hydrangea and put it in a vase

Have a vase of filled with water standby. Cut the hydrangea stem diagonally under water to increase the surface area of the stem that is exposed to the water thus allowing the stem to absorb more water. Cutting the stem under water will prevent air bubbles from forming inside the stem. Air bubble will reduce the absorption of water by the hydrangea.

You can also do a cross-cut at the bottom of the stem so that it is easier for the stem to absorb water. As mentioned earlier, hydrangea has a sticky sap that may clog the cut stems. Thus, in order to prevent the sap from sealing the cut stem, you should place the cut hydrangea immediately in a vase after cutting the stem.

Daily care of hydrangea

Keep your hydrangea in a cool place and away from direct sunlight.

Remember we mentioned that hydrangea also drink through their petals? Once or twice per day, you can spray mist of water on the petals of the hydrangea so that it can absorb water through the petals as well. Add more water to the vase daily.  If the water level of the vase is not going down, that would mean that the hydrangea is not drinking and the stem may be clogged. You may need to do a fresh cut on the stem.

These simple and effective ways of ‘watering’ and caring for hydrangea has rejuvenated my love for hydrangea (no pun intended). I hope you will find these tips helpful too!

Written by: Kyle Tan
Photography by: Sharon Lam


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