Expert tips on how to care for hydrangeas in a vase for longer lasting-blooms + bonus section on planting and growing hydrangeas in the garden!
Hydrangeas are best known as popular garden shrubs with big colourful flower heads that bloom through summer and into autumn. But fresh-cut hydrangeas also make fantastic vase arrangements.
Below are our top florist tips and tricks on how to care for cut hydrangea flowers.
But we also know that customers who buy our hydrangea bouquets and hydrangea vase arrangements can’t get enough of these cheery summer flowers.
So we’ve also included a quick mini-guide on how to plant and grow hydrangea shrubs: When to plant, in what type of soil and how much sun – and more.
Ready to become an expert on hydrangea care?
Meaning of Hydrangeas
The word hydrangea comes from the Greek words “hydro”(water) and “angos” (vessel or jar), roughly meaning “water barrel.” Hydrangeas represent gratitude, grace and beauty. As the name implies, hydrangeas are VERY thirsty flowers. But if you know how to care for cut hydrangeas, these beauties are among our longest-lasting cut flowers.
Learn all about hydrangeas in our flower reference guide.
How to Care for a Hydrangea Bouquet
Hydrangeas are unique in that they drink from their petals. When your hydrangea bouquet first arrives, your flowers will be VERY thirsty!
Before putting fresh cut hydrangeas in a vase, refresh the blooms; it will help them last longer. Here’s how.
How to refresh a hydrangea bouquet before arranging in a vase
Give the petals a boost of hydration. Submerge the entire head of the bloom in a large bowl of room temperature water for 5 minutes.
Dunking the head of a hydrangea in water may seem strange, but your flowers will thank you!
Surprise someone you care about with a bouquet full of fresh hydrangeas like our Maywood.
How to prepare fresh cut hydrangeas for a vase
Here’s how to ensure your hydrangeas last longer in a vase:
Start with a freshly cleaned vase & fill the vase with room temperature water and the flower food provided by Westmount Florist.
Remove any foliage that will sit below the waterline before putting your fresh-cut hydrangeas in the vase. This will prevent harmful bacteria from being introduced into the hydrangeas’ drinking water.
Hold the bouquet next to the vase to determine the correct length to trim the stems.
While holding the stems underwater, cut 1-2 inches off the bottom at a 45-degree angle with a sharp knife or scissors. Doing this serves a dual purpose - It gives the stems a big gulp of water AND it prevents air bubbles from forming, which can hinder water absorption.
Arrange your hydrangeas to your liking!
The best spot for hydrangeas in a vase Hydrangeas
LOVE water. But sunshine and heat? Not so much.
Here’s how to give your fresh-cut hydrangeas the ideal conditions to last as long as possible.
- Place your vase of hydrangeas in a cool spot away from direct sunshine.
- Recondition every 1-2 days.
- Re-cut the stems.
- Replace the water.
- Add flower food if you have some on hand.
Another Pro tip for making fresh-cut hydrangeas last longer
Water the blooms, not just the stems.
Since hydrangeas drink from their petals, they’ll love a little shower on their petals. You can spray the blooms with water once or twice a day.
Dreaming of a beautiful hydrangea bouquet for yourself or someone you love?
Check out some of our signature arrangements like our Clea and Scarlett or give us a call at our Westmount or Pointe-Claire location to arrange same-day delivery.
How to Revive Wilting Hydrangea Blooms
All fresh-cut flowers will eventually wilt. But just because your hydrangeas start to wilt, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw them out.
Here’s a quick trick for reviving wilted hydrangeas so that you can enjoy them just a little bit longer.
- Get some hot tap water (not boiling).
- Remove the wilted hydrangeas from the vase and re-cut the stems on a 45-degree angle.
- Create a vertical slit at the bottom of the freshly cut stem and hold it upright in the hot water for about 3 hours.
- Put the wilted bloom back in the vase.
- Wait about an hour and your hydrangea bloom should be fully revived!
How to Plant and Grow Potted Hydrangea in your Garden
Hydrangeas in water in a pretty vase are always lovely, but sometimes we want to enjoy our favourite flower even longer - so we opt for a potted hydrangea.
Here’s a quick mini guide on how to plant your potted hydrangeas in your garden so they thrive even longer in your garden or favourite planter.
Verify your potted hydrangea's hardiness zone:
Different varieties of hydrangeas are better suited to different growing zones. Ask your florist if your newly purchased hydrangea is hardy in your particular zone. Bigleaf or panicle hydrangeas make a good choice for zone 5.
Where to plant your potted hydrangea
All hydrangea varieties like lots of water, so plant them where they’ll get lots or where it’s easy to water them yourself - whether you're planting them directly into a flower bed or a planter. Most hydrangea plants can also withstand all-day sun in most regions of Canada.
What kind of soil to grow hydrangeas in
Hydrangeas thrive in moist, well-draining soil with a high organic content. If the soil is rich in nutrients, adding fertilizer isn’t necessary. If you decide to place them in a planter, adding fertilizer every two weeks is important.
When to plant your potted hydrangeas outdoors
When you see hydrangea plants at your local garden centre, it’s generally a sign that the time is right for planting your potted beauty outdoors. In Canada, early spring or early summer before the worst of the summer’s heat is a good time to plant.
How to plant hydrangeas in a flower bed
Spacing will depend on the type of hydrangea you’re planting. The plant tag will usually indicate the minimum spacing. Hydrangeas planted in the shade tend to grow a little larger and spread a little more than those planted in full sun.
- Dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the width of the container the hydrangea came in.
- Ensure the root ball is at the same depth as it was in the original pot.
- Fill in the hole with soil and gardening mix.
- Water well.
How to water hydrangea plants
- Hydrangea plants love lots of water, but as they become more established, you’ll need to water them less often, except during times of drought.
How to water new hydrangeas
- Check the soil often. If the top inch is dry, it’s time to water.
How to water established hydrangeas
- Established hydrangeas can usually survive on rainfall, except during drought.
How to mulch hydrangeas
- After planting hydrangeas, add 2 to 3 inches of mulch to keep soil moist and weed-free.
- Lay mulch around but never on the plant.
How to feed hydrangeas
Fertilize hydrangeas twice a year:
- In early spring just as new growth appears
- Again just before summer
- In most regions of Canada, you should not feed hydrangeas after August.
How to protect hydrangeas in winter
If your hydrangea variety is hardy for your gardening zone, it should be able to tolerate the winter just fine.
Some gardeners place a burlap screen around oakleaf and French hydrangeas to protect flower buds that have already formed for the next year.
Bring your love of hydrangeas indoors!