ISSUE 56  |  In the Library

Dried Hydrangeas, Two Ways

January 23, 2013 8:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

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Here's how hydrangeas in a vase won me over. I looked at mine one day and realized they were 18 months old and none the worse for wear. Nothing could be easier than drying them. Two simple techniques—drying them in water or on the plant—will produce excellent results:

Above: Air-dried flowers turn a lovely wheaty brown; clip the stems and strip leaves before arranging the world's least expensive and longest-lasting bouquet of cut flowers in a vase. Photograph by Anna Gawlak via Flickr.

Above: The petals of air-dried hydrangeas will be crinkly and brittle, but will hold their shape and texture indefinitely if you don't pick at them. In the end, it was the dust that got mine. Photograph by Mwy22 via Flickr.

Above: If you prefer your hydrangeas to be a dried version of the color they were when fresh, clip them while they're in full bloom. Strip leaves and stick the stems in a vase of water. Then leave them alone. Forever. Photograph by Zsaj via Flickr.

Above: Or buy them. If you don't have hydrangeas in your garden, a bunch of from three to six stems of Natural Dried Hydrangeas available in three colors is $11.95 from Flower Mart. Each flower has a 10-inch head on a 4-inch stem. Photograph by Akiko Seki.

(N.B.: For more, see "Design Sleuth: Dried Bouquets for the Winter Months.")