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Flower Power~ $5 fix to keep hydrangeas fresh

A beautiful bouquet of fresh cut hydrangeas- what is not to love?
In blues and greens & soft romantic whites, pinks and purples-
 big hydrangea blooms are simply gorgeous.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink

Hydrangeas were one of those flowers that would always tempt me at the market.
There they would be... looking all beautiful and fresh 
and how I would want to grab an armful of them and bring them home.
 But often times, I would simply sigh and admire them 
and then move along.
Not because I didn't love them, but because so often
those beautiful blooms would wilt within 2 days of bringing them home. 
So I would resist them.
Until this simple $5 fix came along.

You already know that I am a wee bit obsessed with fresh flowers.
They are a must in my book and are a weekly indulgence for me.
From roses, to stock, to peonies to you name it. 
I am in love and most of my flowers will be enjoyed for a long time and used in several blog posts
before they are replaced.

But out of all the flowers that I bring home with me,
 beautiful hydrangeas were notorious for pooping out on me within a day or two.
Almost every single time.
It didn't matter what color or size  they were- or even if I clipped them off my own plants
they would start to wilt right away.

I was convinced that hydrangeas just didn't like me.
Or my water.
Or the temperature in my house.
Or my singing maybe.
(that is truly a possibility)

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, Alum

I would see them starting to wilt
 cut the stems again
add more flower food
crush the stems a.lot.
I even talked to them and told them how pretty they were.
But nothing worked.

So I would resist them and buy them only when they were on sale, when there 
really wasn't anything else catching my eye or when I just couldn't resist
knowing that their beauty would last for just a couple days.  

About a month ago, I mentioned on my blog and instagram 
that I had just brought these blue & white beauties home and I was loving them.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

3 days later...
Just a couple of blooms in this clay pot were about all that was left of that big sink full
and you can see that white one in the back on the right side starting to wilt already as well.

I was frustrated. I had failed again.
I asked if anyone had any tips  and  couple of you offered some advice.
(HUGE thank you to Sarah, Shannon & Karen for their tips!)

Guess what? 
 Each of the tips did help.
But one of them especially was a game changer
and when I shared these green beauties and the Alum tip and said thank you last week on instagram 
I had a ton of questions about it.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

Recently, my husband brought home 3 bunches of pretty green hydrangeas
for me and with them- he handed me a little container of Alum.
So sweet of him, right?

So I gave that Alum a try, 
keeping fingers crossed but expecting that it might not work
you know, because I was convinced hydrangeas just didn't like me.

Fast forward to 6 days later...  Is it possible to love a spice?
Because, I am basically dancing around the kitchen with that bottle of Alum in my hands
praising the amazing result.
Those hydrangeas are blooming away even now
looking as fresh as the first day they were in the house.

Since I hadn't heard of it before and wasn't sure how to do the Alum method
I googled it and read all about it before trying it.

Here's what you do:

Simply cut the hydrangea stems just as you normally do.

Then dip the stem in hot water and then dip into the Alum
just dip them directly into the Alum

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

(I dipped directly in the Alum in case you are wondering.)

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

Your stem will be coated with the Alum
just leave it it on there
and just stick your hydrangea right into your vase of water.

Yes, the Alum will wash off the stem in the water
 but that doesn't matter.
It has already done the job it needs to do.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

Apparently when hydrangeas are cut 
the cut area can form a little bit of a film that will prevent the
hydrangea from being able to absorb water.
I didn't know that,
 but I always did wonder why the hydrangea stems were each in little tiny 
bags of water when I purchased them.
I am thinking that maybe the florist did the same thing 
when packing them up for shipping.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

So, next time a load of gorgeous hydrangeas come in at the market
I won't pause and think twice 
before deciding to bringing some of those beauties home.

hydrangeas, fresh, kitchen, sink, alum

I will just grab that $5 fix out of the cupboard
and enjoy them.

I will share an update on just how long these beauties bloom
and a  favorite way of drying hydrangeas in a separate post.

Happy Monday everyone!

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  1. Well, you just solved a mystery for me. I wonder if this will work with lilacs? Thank you for sharing this wonderful tip.

  2. Thanks for the tip! Will definitely do this in the future!

  3. what a great tip, Courtney! thanks so much for sharing it with the rest of us slightly obsessed peeps!

  4. what beautiful pictures !!! I love hydrangeas and their entire decoration !!! a nice evening wishes angie from Germany

  5. Thanks Courtney, you have solved the same problem for me. I love hydrangeas and my supermarket always has a nice selection but I've always passed it up. Now I will go to the spice isle first. Thanks for such a helpful hint. Your beautiful photos has me headed to market tomorrow..............

  6. Wondering the same....does this work for lilacs also?

  7. Thanks for that little tip...hydrangeas are my favorite flower. Your photos are beautiful.

  8. THANK YOU!! I wish I would have known this in 2006 when I married my husband! My beautiful Blue Hydrangeas were wilted by the time we cut the cake. Now I know the secret!

  9. Great to know! They are my favorite flower!

  10. Thanks Courtney. I cannot wait to try. Just forwarded your blog tip on to several friends.

  11. Oh,how I wish I had known this before! Received a lovely bouquet of flowers that included a large blue hydrangea a few days guessed it...the hydrangea is wilted...wonder if I can bring it back to life by trying the alum...gotta try! Thanks for the information! Diane

    1. I think it is worth a try. Cut the stem and dip it in hot water and then the alum. It might work! Plus I think you can re cut and re dip whenever they start to wilt.

  12. So glad you shared this little tip with us. I love hydrangea.

  13. Courtney, I've had same problem, over and over again. I'm a huge fresh flower lover, but have begun avoiding hydrangea because of the fast wilting problem. And, like you, I've recut the stems, changed the water, misted them, etc. Who knew?
    The next thing on my shopping list is ALUM !! Thank you SO much for this wonderful tip. xx's

  14. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing! The other day on Twitter, I read that they suggested ABSOLUT & sugar! I'm thinking that if the flowers start drinking, I might have a problem:D I'll stick with the Alum!

  15. I love hydrangeas and I used to have the same problem with mine until I discovered this: for your fresh cut hydrangeas, bring them in the house, submerge the blooms upside down in room temperature water for 15 minutes - no more and no less. After 15 minutes, gently shake of the excess water and put the stems in water just as you normally would. I have had hydrangea blooms last up to 2 weeks after doing this! it's wonderful! this, of course, is for fresh cut blooms,. I don't know how it would work on store bought flowers.

  16. THANK YOU!!! I adore hydrangeas, had 15 bushes at the old house and just 2 far! I am buying some Alum tomorrow!!!

  17. Wow! What a simple useful idea. Thankyou!

  18. I've never heard of the alum fix. I'm going to go buy some tomorrow. Just bought some of the pretty green hydrangeas this weekend. Like you, I love my hydrangeas. Happy week to you! ~ Sarah

  19. I've had great luck with recutting and Adding fresh water daily but there were always a few stems that would croak. I am so excited to try this I can't tell you!!
    Thanks Courtney!! :D xoxo

  20. Thank you so much for the tip. I have two beautiful hydrangea bushes but I was always afraid to cut the beautiful blooms -- no longer! I think I'll purchase more hydrangea plants this year.

  21. Oh I really needed this advise! I also love hydrangeas and never kept them fresh long enough. Thank you so much!

    Blessings & visions of beautiful long lasting blossoms, Edie Marie

  22. Wow!! that is wonderful tip...this is a keeper and going to get some Alum so i am ready.

  23. Who knew? I bought a big bouquet of them last week when Bunco was at my house & they were dead the next day. Thank you.

  24. Oh that is amazing! Ok, so do we do that with other flowers?? Such as tulips, stock etc.?? I will get some right away! And pass this tip on to my daughters.....

  25. That is one of the best tips for cut flowers I've ever read. Thank you!

  26. Thank you, this is a very timely tip. Just last weekend for Valentine's Day my husband gave me roses and hydrangeas (which is so special to me because I had those in my wedding bouquet), but the hydrangeas wilted the same evening. We were so confused and frustrated by this. Now we'll know what to do next time!

  27. The same thing will keep lilacs lasting, practically any woody stemmed flower! I would smash the ends then plunge in very very hot water for about ten minutes then into room temp water! Mind you they slightly wilted after being in the hot-almost boiling water-but would revive and last for days!

  28. WoW--so great to know!
    Do you think this trick might work on lilacs too?!?

  29. What a great tip to know.....I can't wait to buy some and try this method!

  30. Someone posted this on Facebook! SO GLAD IT DOES WORK. WHEN I read about it my husband picked me of some Alum when he went to the store. I have several Hydrangeas and a tree can't wait to pick them this summer. One of My all time favorite flowers. So glad you posted this most people doesn't know, just like I didn't. I'm a new fan. Love your work Courtney. ♡

  31. This is wonderful! I love to add them to my guest room when we have visitors but they always died before my guests left! Super excited to try this!

  32. Oh! Thank you for sharing. I am going to buy some alum and hydrangeas on my next outing.

  33. Thanks so much for the tip, Courtney because I, like you would always pass them up because i knew it was going to be a waste of money. I'll try the Alum next time♥


  34. This will not work for lilacs. Hydrangeas love water. Another tip if you don't have alum is to soak them underwater(completely) for 30 minutes. I use my tub, I recut the stem underwater and place it in my vase. Make sure also that you keep your vase as full as you feel comfortable. A hydrangea takes up water all along its stem.

  35. Where is your post on drying Hydrangeas?

    Thank you,

  36. Thanks for the great tip. I am going to try this!

  37. I'm so glad the Alum worked for you! It's been my hydrangea lifesaver, too. My florist said Alum is what they use to "color" flowers (like blue mums etc) because it takes the moisture all the way to the tops of the flowers.


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  39. Your blog is beautiful romantic .Welcome!I'm Annamaria new blogger.Thanks!

  40. Very helpful ,thanks a lot!
    Greetings from Zürich

  41. Thank you soooooo much!!!! I can't wait to use this tip. I am OBSESSED with hydrangeas. I have them planted all over my yard, and love to bring them in, and put them in all my rooms. I actually feel pain when they start to wilt. I've tried all the tips, add sugar to the water, or asprin, etc. So I'm anxious to try this. Many thanks, and I have subscribed.

  42. Hi, you not only cut the stem at 45 degree angle but also take your knife and splice the end so it can drink even better. I'm going to try the Alum also, thank you.

  43. Thanks for a cost savvy trick. I just loved reading it. I'm going to share it among my fellow connections who're growing things indoors.