How to Cut Hydrangeas for a Vase — and Make Them Last

There's also a really cool trick that can help you once the blooms start to wilt.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Jun. 21 2024, Published 9:41 a.m. ET

Closeup of giant pink hydrangea blooms
Source: Getty Images

There are so many different types of hydrangea plants out there. From limelight to oak leaf to lacecaps, there's bound to be type that works for every yard. But for those who already have the perfect hydrangeas growing in their yard and are eager to find a way to enjoy the beauty of the blooms even when they're inside, there's the option of sniping a few of your flower heads off and bring them indoors to display in a vase.

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But before you grab those scissors and run outside, first you're going to want to learn how to cut hydrangeas for the vase so that they will look their best for as long as possible. Spoiler alert: it's actually really easy to do!

White hydrangea blooms on the plant
Source: Getty Images
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How to cut hydrangeas for a vase:

When comes to clipping off some hydrangea blooms to take inside, timing is everything. These flowers are notoriously sun shy, and many varieties will wilt in the heat. Because of this, you will want to wait until the hottest part of the day has passed before you cut them, according to the StoneGable blog. This may mean going out in your garden early in the morning or later in the day when it's not quite as hot. Not only will this be less stressful on the plant, but it will also keep your cutting happy, too!

Next, you're going to want to cut your hydrangea so that you have enough stem to put it into your vase, so it helps to know how tall of a vessel you're using before you go outside. A good rule of thumb is to make your cut at the intersection of the stem and a solid clump of leaves (known as a node), leaving as little of the stem protruding from the leaf clump as you can when you're done.

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How to make cut hydrangeas last longer in a vase:

Many hydrangea varieties love water — in fact, sometimes you can root one in a glass of water alone — so it's important that you get them into some as soon as they're cut. If you don't want to carry a glass vase out to the yard with you while you're clipping the flowers you can always use a plastic pitcher until you get inside and move them to your vase.

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Once you're ready to put your hydrangeas out on display, you're going to want to ensure that the vase is full of fresh water. Then, you'll need to strip the leaves away from the bark of the stem so that there won't be any greenery submerged in the water. Lastly, you'll have to give the stem one last snip, cutting the stems with sharp scissors or shears at a 45-degree angle. Use your fingernail or the scissors to split the stem, pulling it apart to help maximize water intake.

Some folks have had great luck using alum powder, which can be found in the spice aisle at your local grocery store. All you need to do is dip the freshly prepared stems in the powder before you stick them in the water, which will help them to stay more hydrated in the vase.

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You should change the water in your hydrangeas every two days, dumping the old water and adding fresh water to the vessel. Once you notice that your hydrangea blooms are starting to look a little wilted, you can pull the flowers out of the vase and hold them upside down in a bowl of water, submerging the flower petals for 15-20 minutes.

After you've given the flower petals a water bath, you can repeat the original preparation instructions for the stem, cutting a little more off, splitting the stem, and adding the powder once more, all of which should help your hydrangeas stay fresh in the vase for a little while longer.

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