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A secret to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting

It goes something like this... 

You see a gorgeous bunch of hydrangeas at the market. Put them in your cart, maybe even grab a second bunch because they are so pretty and full. You get home, you cut them to fit your vase and put them in fresh water and by morning- those fluffy blooms are wilted.

After that same scenario happened to me more than a few times and I felt like I had just tossed money and beautiful flowers into the garbage- I did a bit of asking and googling and chatting with a local florist to see what the secret is. 

There are a few things you can do to keep those flowers blooming and to keep them looking great for several weeks. One of the great things about hydrangeas is that they are long lasting cut flowers. As long as you know how to keep the water reaching them.

Have you ever noticed that when you place those freshly purchased hydrangeas in water (without cutting them) that the water gets soaked up and is gone in a short amount of time? That is because hydrangeas love to Hydrate. They are big water lovers and that water is what keeps those blooms looking so fabulous. They are also healers. So to speak. When you cut a hydrangea, it covers that cut to heal itself. Think of your skin and kind of what it does when you cut yourself. It sends helpers to re-grow and cover that area so that it can repair itself. The hydrangea does the same thing. But in their case- that is the problem. 

That film that leaks and covers the fresh cut- blocks the water from drawing up into the stem and to the bloom. 
And no water = wilting.

So, this is where the secret I use comes in. 
A little spice called ALUM. 
A local florist told me to cut, dip and plop in water every.single.time. And if those hydrangeas wilt even so, fill the sink with water and soak the heads in it for several hours.  Yes, the blooms- not the stems. 

Alum is a spice that I believe is used for pickling or the like. To be honest, I have never used it for anything but flowers haha. But it keeps the stem from sealing up and keeps the water being absorbed by the flower and so- pretty blooms. Cut your hydrangea stem on a nice wide angle to allow as much water as possible into the stem- and dip the entire cut area in Alum and then put the stem into fresh water. 

You can use this trick several times- and I do recommend it anytime you change the water. Re-cut and re-alum.  These photos are from the Outdoor Living chapter and the Attic in my book FIND IT HERE and those hydrangeas were some of the most gorgeous that I had found in awhile.
So while I was working on my book - I made sure to have several containers of Alum on hand to use as needed.

There is another method that basically does the same thing- by boiling the cut part of the stem- I have not tried it but would love your thoughts in the comments if you have.
And on instagram stories today- I will be sharing a few quick video tips showing exactly how to cut the hydrangea and dip it if you are a visual learner and would like to watch. 
You can find me at 

Hope that answers some of your questions! 
If you have any others- please send my way and I will try to answer them in an upcoming floral filled post! :)

Happy Tuesday everyone! 


  1. Thanks for that info so next summer mine will last longer using alum

  2. I am so excited about this tip! Thanks for sharing. Pinning so I remember what you said to do when mine start blooming.

  3. I just tossed my hydrangeas from last late summer. After cutting and putting in water for a time, I purposely stop adding water and let them dry naturally. I will definitely try the album this summer as I plan to cut them sooner so that I can enjoy inside. My husband considers the outside his domain and it’s not easy getting him to let me trim these beauties.

  4. Thank you so much for this, what a great tip

  5. A long time ago, a florist in New Orleans gave me this tip -- and it works every time!/first cut the stems at an angle & submerge just the end in boiling water, for about 20 seconds. Here's the other part: then use 7-up or sprite in your vase, instead of water. I don't know why it works, but it dies & blooms can self- preserve if you want -- just leave them alone until they are dried & they also will retain their color. Its a bit of trouble, but so worth it! Margaret

  6. I'm so eager to try this with my Summer blooming hydrangeas!! Hoping to have a lovely hedge and NOW plenty of INDOOR blooms as well. Thank you for sharing. 💖

  7. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Looking forward to trying :)

  8. Thank you so much for this tip. I have several hydrangea plants so this will be very helpful. I like to keep fresh flowers and purchase them at Walmart. I clip the ends and change the water every other day. My flowers last about 2 weeks and make me so happy in this Indiana weather

  9. I always find if you cut hydrangeas in the fall, run your fingers over the flowers and when the feel a little bit papery...then cut them. They will dry beautifully in a vase with no water. I do it every year! But I will try the alum trick for flowers cut in the summer months. Thanks for the tip!

  10. I haven't put freshly cut Hydrangea stems in boiling water, but I have placed them in very hot (tap water) and it definitely works and will perk up your wilted Hydrangeas!!! You have to leave them there for a bit as it takes at least an hour or so to work, but try it!

    Just a note - if you have other flowers in your arrangement, they may not be partial to hot water; I only do this when I have a vase full of Hydrangeas.

  11. Usually when I buy hydrangeas from a florist or grocery store I clip the ends and then make two vertical cuts up the stem. This allows the stem to take up lots of water and lets them last longer without wilting. Crushing the stem does the same thing but is harder to accomplish.

  12. Thanks for these tips, Courtney! It is such a shame to see the hydrangeas wilt...I will definitely try these tips the next time I buy them.

  13. I have found that when my hydrangeas are white or green, that is when they wilt. When they get to the pink and mauve stage, I simply put them in a little water and then let the water dry up and they stay beautiful for at least a year

  14. I have not boiled the stems, but I have recut and used very hot water with great success. I have blooms from the grocery store last at least three weeks.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your tip on keeping hydrangeas from wilting, I am sure tired of throwing them away the next day.

  16. Thanks for the tip. Will have to try it. I don't toss my dried flowers right away though, I do like the look of dried flowers too. I'll keep them for a bit, then toss. We have an Antique consignment shop near me that also sells fresh flowers and they hang the dried one's on a ladder hanging from the ceiling, it's so beautiful. I have lots of Peony's I cut for arrangements on my table. I put an Asprin in the vase, it helps, maybe not as good as the Alum, which I've never tried, but I got that info from a florist. Your work is beautiful and I love it. Thank you so much.