Drooping Hydrangea & How To Fix It

jbryanBasics, Growing, How-ToLeave a Comment

“My floral problem involves hydrangeas. Whenever I purchase hydrangeas for arrangements I’m guaranteed that two out of three stems will be droopy in less than 24 hours. Short of bringing a bucket of water to the store is there anything I can do to prevent this or is it caused by my decidedly UN-green thumbs!”

This great question came in over the weekend, and I hope the advice you read below will help you resolve this common quandary.

Thanks for sending it Linda! P.S. it has nothing to do with your thumbs, whatever color they happen to be! 🙂

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The beauties cut from my own shrubs, are resting comfortably in fresh water, with a clean cut to the bottom of the stem.

Here is what you need to know about Hydrangea’s that are sold as cut flowers: sometimes they will wilt, sometimes they won’t. Not a comforting answer but, we do know who the culprit of the wilting is. It’s the sticky juice that can clog the stems ability to take in water.

Why does this happen? Well, the flowers waterproof themselves when they are not cut properly.  Since you have no idea where they have come from, or how long it took for them to get to market, its important to treat them right from the moment they are in your hands. I’ve also referred to this care as “conditioning” in the blog before!

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Replacing the water every few days, and a new cut on the stems can make the blooms last up to two weeks!

If you are cutting hydrangea blooms from your garden, the treatment is the same as store-bought ones…. with just one added recommendation. Select the best looking stems you can find on your shrub and if at all possible, do your cutting in the morning hours, as hydrangea naturally wilt in the heat of the day.

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One of my many hydrangea’s in full bloom. I love that one shrub can produce so many different colors!

Here is what I do to try to avoid the droopy hydrangea syndrome.

  1. Look closely at the hydrangeas offered for sale, and try to select bunches that look fresh and not the least bit wilted. Often, you can ask the person working the flower stand to direct you to the freshest product on the floor.
  2. When you arrive home with your bouquet, take your pruners and cut off the bottom of each stem at a 45 degree angle, about an inch up the original stem.
  3. Then, I cut across the stem to open it up to water. Put each stem in fresh water right away as you condition the rest of your bunch.
  4. Be sure to remove lower leaves so that they do not go below the water line. Disease and bacteria can cause hydrangea to droop and wilt, so fresh water and clean stems are your best friends in prevention.
  5. FOLLOW-UP: If you take the time to re-cut the stems, it will allow the stems to take in new water and re-hydrate. Let them all sit in the fresh water for a bit if you can. After your stems have been in the vase for a few days, you can extend their lives by repeating the process described above. A fresh cut, a clean vase and clean water can add a week or more to your arrangement! 
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This is the most intense purple to fuchsia color on that my blooms show!

There are other suggestions I have read about but never tried including something about a hot water soak, or Alum or a full immersion in a bathtub. Before you go there, try this and see if it makes a difference.

Oh, and please keep me updated and let me know if you notice any improvement after trying these tips!!

jbryanDrooping Hydrangea & How To Fix It