How to Easily Revive Wilted Hydrangeas

February 19, 2022

This easy trick will give your wilting hydrangea blooms new life!

I’m back today with a super quick tip that brings a droopy hydrangea back with minimal effort. 

If you love hydrangeas as much as I do (and who doesn’t, for real) then you’ll love this tip. 

huge green hydrangea vase on table

I used to hate when I’d buy flowers (or cut them from the yard) and they’d droop within a day or two. 

Did you know that hydrangeas are one of the only flowers to draw in moisture from their blooms? Cool huh?
Hydrangeas take in water from everywhere -- their stems, petals and leaves.

This little hack allows you to keep cut hydrangeas plump and beautiful for a couple weeks or more! 

Here’s what I’m talking about -- see the sad bloom on the bottom left?:
perk up droopy hydrangeas

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Before learning this trick that wilted flower would have been tossed in the trash. Sometimes it drooped within a day of bringing them home or cutting them. 

(See some tips to avoid this from the start later in the post!)

Why are my hydrangea blooms wilting? 

Hydrangeas have a sticky sap that clogs up their woody stem almost as soon as it's cut, so it's important to get them a vase of water right after cutting.

The first thing you’ll want to do to plump them back up is give them a fresh cut at an angle at the end of the stem. (This, along with fresh water, helps prolong the life of cut flowers in general.)

A sharp knife or floral snips like this one is best for cutting any flower, because scissors can smash the stem and close it off to water. 

A deep angle gives them more space to drink up plenty of water. 

How do you fix wilting hydrangeas? 

It's SO easy. As you can tell from their name -- hydrangeas LOVE water. 

It’s kind of hard to give them too much (at least after they’re cut). 

The trick to plumping them back up is to soak the entire flower in cool water. 

I fill the sink just enough to immerse them. A large bowl will do the trick as well:
soaking wilted hydrangeas

They tend to float so I usually weigh them down with something to make sure they stay under the water.
Make sure the hydrangea blooms and stems are both submerged!

Timing is different for every one -- some perk up in 20 minutes, some I leave in there for an hour or so. 

No worries about leaving them to soak! Check back every 15-30 minutes to see when they are plump again.

Here are the same flowers after they’ve soaked up the water:
perking up hydrangeas

Awesome, eh? It’s like magic! :)

You can do the same flower more than once -- just be sure to clip some of the stem off first.

These are about a week old: 
hydrangeas in white pot
And each one has been bathed at least once. :) 

It’s different every time I buy or cut them really -- some hydrangeas last for five days without needing a bath, some need it within a day or so. 

pee gee green hydrangeas

It's fun to see the before and afters -- wouldn't it be nice if it was this easy to get everything beautiful again? :) 

It always surprises me how different they look:
wilted hydrangeas

Reviving wilted hydrangeas

You can do this over and over -- you'll be able to tell when they're beyond saving because they will stay wilted even after the soak.

This easy process gets you a few extra days out of these beauties each time! 

A few more hacks for reviving drooping hydrangeas: 

  • Alum powder -- give your stems a fresh cut and dip them into the alum. This prevents the sap from cutting off the water supply. (Find this powder in the spice aisle.)
  • Boil water, then let it cool for a few minutes. Cut the stem ends, then dip them in the hot water for 30 seconds. (This prevents the sap from blocking absorption.) Immediately place flowers in room temperature water and then be patient as the water works its way back up the stem. 
  • Snip the hydrangea stem and replace the water in a vase with HOT water, then put the flowers back in. (This method has not worked as well for me.)

How do you keep hydrangeas from wilting after they are cut?

There are many ways to prevent the wilt from the start! Try these tips to keep them plump longer: 
  • Hydrangea leaves "steal" water from the blooms, so remove at least any leaves at the bottom of the stem. I like to leave a few near the bloom.
  • If you don’t have a packet of flower preservatives, one ground up aspirin works as well!
  • Replace the water often, every other day if possible. (Be sure to cut the bottom of the stem each time.)
  • Cutting your stems shorter allows the water to reach the blooms easier. 
  • Mist the hydrangea blooms every day or so -- remember they soak water up through their petals!
  • Cut a one inch slit at the bottom of the stem to allow for more water absorption.
  • Clear soda and even vodka are known to slow wilting as well. Cheers!
These tips will keep your store bought or fresh cut hydrangeas looking beautiful and full for weeks instead of a few days!

Have you tried any of these tips, or have any of your own? Feel free to share!

Here's an image to pin for later if you'd like to save this trick:
white hydrangeas in white vase
Find that beautiful white pitcher here! I love using it as a vase. 

I share great tips on how to grow hydrangeas here:
Tips for growing healthy hydrangeas

And these tips for arranging your flowers like the professionals will help you create a beautiful display with your cut flowers:  
pink orange yellow floral arrangements

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  1. Good to know. Bought some at grocery store the other night and in the craziness of putting groceries away, left them on counter ...for about 4 hours. Not pretty as you can imagine. Anyways I will have to try this out if my flowers ever need a lift :)

  2. Really? I never would have thought of that. Amazing and yes, I love these flowers. Love my bushes. Through the last few years I have had some amazing blooms but then last year, maybe a couple. Hoping for a better year this summer.

  3. We bought Costco flowers last year for my daughter's wedding. We made a homemade preservative for them of 1 quart of water, 1/2 tsp. bleach, 2 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 Tbs. sugar. The flowers lasted several weeks and looked great. We didn't have hydrangeas, but there were a ton of other varieties. I'll have to try the water bath - in fact, I've got some sad carnations right now to try it with.

    1. How did you use the preservative? Did you put a little in the vases? Or did you spray it?

  4. Wow, love this simple tip! Will definitely be giving this a try. :)

  5. I have found that after I cut them (we have seven varietals) I place the stem in water that has been boiled (and is still really hot) just long enough to see bubbles come out of the bottom of the stem. Then they go into a vase/container with warm water. For some, this lets them last three-four days without refreshing.

  6. I love hydrangeas!! My gram just got me some & they're already looking droopy..I HAVE TO TRY THIS! P.S something about flowers in a sink is so pretty to me...maybe I'm weird haha! Happy Mother's Day ,Sarah!


  7. Wow, love that before and after. It does look like magic! I'll have to try this tip!

  8. Very interesting that you put the whole blossom in the water, never would have thought of that. I read recently to dip hydrangea stems in alum to make them last longer. Haven't tried that either. I love hydrangeas, even when they've dried up. A fun thing is to put food coloring in the water. I had just gotten a bouquet just before leaving on a trip. So I filled the vase with water and blue coloring. When I returned two weeks later I had beautiful dried blue hydrangeas. Still have them, several years later.

  9. Handy tip and they were practically rejuvenated!

  10. I've been using the exact same technique on roses for years--works like a charm :)

  11. I was just reading this morning that some one tried an experiment of several popular methods for prolonging the "life" of cut flowearticulacy one type in particular) and they found that a copper penny in the water works well but the best method is to put the flowers in the refrigerator each night and brinG them out to display during the day....but who has room to store a vase of flowers in their fridge?!

  12. This is a great tip, I will definitely do this. I get this problem with hydrangea's when they are in bloom. I use the hot water trick with a little sugar when I am trying to force blooms to open a little quicker.

  13. I'm so glad I read this on Friday...My Mother's Day flowers had a few of these in the planter and I thought they were totally dead, then I tried this and they are beautiful again! It's amazing how it really works! Thanks for the tip!!

  14. Hydrangeas have a lot of sap in their stems. You can snip the stem, then put it quickly into boiling water which sucks the sap out. The flowers will last for a long time! :-)

  15. Thanks for the tip! I love fresh flowers but I don't love that they wilt after just a day or two :(

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  16. As a florist I can state this hydrangea trick is true. The idea is to place flowers head down in the water. Warm, not hot water can help most reluctant flowers to open.

  17. Great tip! I've also heard that hydrangeas last longer if you shred the stems. That has worked inconsistently for me. Hydrangeas and roses are the worst for me!

  18. I have many hydrangea bushes on our property. I just learned the best trick recently from Mary's blog at Home Is Where the Boat is.....she says freshly cut Hydrangea stems - dip them in ALUM and they will last a long time. Tried it this week and mine are lasting soooo much longer than ever before.

    Thank you for the tips, will try them as well plus the alum tip. Anything is better than those dropping floppy heads.

  19. Great tip! I had no idea they absorb water through their petals.


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