Easy way to plump up wilted flowers

July 17, 2020

I’m back today with a super quick tip that brings wilting flowers 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. I hear it works for other flowers like roses as well.

I used to hate when I’d buy a bunch of flowers at the store (or cut them from the yard) and then they’d droop within a day or two. This little trick allows you to keep them (hydrangeas at least) for a week, sometimes more.

Here’s what I’m talking about -- see the sad little one on the bottom left?:
prolong life of cut flowers

Before this trick that one would have been tossed in the trash. Sometimes it happens within a day of bringing them home!

Well, 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 first thing you’ll want to do to plump them back up is snip just a little bit off their stem. (This, along with fresh water, helps prolong flowers in general.)

Then you just soak them in water! I fill the sink just enough to immerse them. They tend to float so sometimes I'll weigh them down with something if I have a bunch I'm fixing.

Here’s that droopy one and another one that was looking sad in their bath:
easy trick to perk up hydrangeas

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I use cool water. You’ll want it to cover them most of the way. I push them down in the water so I don’t have to use a ton of it.

Make sure the flower and the stem are both in there. Timing is different for every one -- some perk up in 20 minutes, some I leave in there for an hour or so and just check back 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 off the stem first.

These are about a week old: 
making flowers last longer

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.

When I mentioned this trick on Facebook, a reader mentioned a method she uses -- she said to snip them down and replace the water in the vase with HOT water, then put the flowers back in. I tried that because it would be a lot faster, but it didn’t work for me. The first photo with the droopy one up above is actually after I tried that method. (Hours later.)

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:
Plump up droopy flowers
Easy trick for reviving wilted flowers

As I mentioned, I hear this works for other flowers as well. It never hurts to try, right? It’s worth it to get a few extra days out of these beauties. :)

Any tips you use to prolong the life of your flowers? If I don’t have the packet of flower preservatives that come with them, I’ll sometimes use ground up aspirin. I’m not sure if it really helps or not. I’ve also heard clear soda and even vodka work in the water as well. Cheers!

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

And check out this post for a TON of tips on how to grow hydrangeas!:
Tips for growing healthy hydrangeas

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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.


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