There are several methods for drying hydrangeas, and perhaps the simplest one is the method that does not make use of any preservative. The natural method for drying hydrangeas is an inexpensive way to preserve the lovely colors of hydrangea flowers as they turn in for fall.
When drying hydrangeas, the most important consideration is timing. If you cut hydrangeas too early, your hydrangeas still contain too much moisture and will wilt in the drying process. If you cut too late, you may miss out on some of the livelier and more vibrant colors. You need to let the flowers dry on the plant and cut them at just the right time to get perfect dried blooms.
The best time to cut the flowers from the stem is in late summer or early fall, from August to October. Around this time, hydrangea flowers turn from their original color to light pink, then to burgundy. Other hydrangeas turn to a sea green or sky blue, to deep violets. In most cases, you really have to rely on your own assessment if a flower is ready to be harvested for drying. Obviously, you don’t want to wait too long, because if you do, you will have wilted brown petals on your final product, which isn’t attractive at all.
When drying hydrangeas naturally, there are basically two methods that you can use. One is the water drying method and the other is the air drying method.
Water Drying Method
When you have selected your flowers, you can now harvest them. Cut them from the plant, allowing 12 inches to 18 inches of stem. Next, strip the stems of leaves and arrange the hydrangeas in a vase. Arrange them in a vase half filled with water. Leave it in a cool spot, out of direct heat or sunlight. Allow the water in the vase to evaporate completely. When the water is completely gone, you should also have perfectly dried hydrangeas.
Air Drying Method
In this method, you follow the same process as when drying hydrangeas with water. The main difference is that instead of filling the vase with water, you just leave it empty. For weaker stems, instead of arranging them in a vase, you can hang them upside down to dry.
Aside from natural methods of drying hydrangeas, you can also explore the use of various drying agents such as silica gel and cat litter.