If you have hydrangeas, I have decorating tips for you. Here are some simple DIY projects and tips and display ideas on how to decorate with hydrangeas.

how to decorate with hydrangeas

I’m still not sure when I first fell in love with hydrangeas.

Maybe it’s when I discovered they bloom all summer.

Maybe it’s when I realized each individual flower is a work of art.

Maybe it’s when I figured out how to dry them and how to plant them and how to make them bloom just a little bit more.

But really?

I think it was my dad.

When I was little and my father would walk me down the flower-lined streets on Cape Cod and point them out with a magical whisper. He’d describe them in hushed tones and tell me about the tiny petals and how they bloomed and the ways the flowers could change colors and that long after the color faded…

….the beauty of the hydrangea remained.

We’ve planted them ever since our first house. We’ve planted them in the rocky non-acidic soils of Texas and the lush, rush dirt of western Kentucky. And this year? We are planting them again in the house that my father loved.

Here are my thoughts on all DIY’s and tips and display ideas for this beautiful flower and how to decorate with hydrangeas.

how to decorate with hydrangeas from the garden

How to cut hydrangeas to decorate

I wanted to go all Julie Andrews and start at the beginning. All hydrangea decorating starts with the cutting.

  1. I always cut the hydrangeas first thing in the morning when it’s cooler (especially in Texas) so the flower doesn’t take it too badly.
  2. I typically cut my hydrangea stems about 8 inches long (I can always trim them later) with leaves on them.
  3. Hydrangea leaves come in groupings of two and you want to cut the flowers where two of the stems meet so the flower can keep flowering.

I try to choose the flowers that look like they are finished blooming to help out my hydrangea bush a little.

how to decorate with hydrangeas from a farmhouse garden

When to cut hydrangea plants for arrangements

See these flowers?

This is what the plant looks like when it’s just getting started. The leaves are smaller.  The plants are smaller.

I know it is so tempting to cut them now. Don’t. You will be so much happier if you wait a little. This might sound a little random, but I talk to my plants like I talk to my rooms. I always feel like the plant gets a little discouraged if you take it’s flowers too early.

I try and clip my hydrangea plants after the flowers are bigger and the stem is so heavy that the flower is falling over.

Then the plant doesn’t look discouraged.

It looks relieved.

hydrangeas in laundry room sink and how to decorate with hydrangeas

How to make your cut hydrangeas last longer

  1. I put them in cool water as soon as I cut them.
  2. I cut the stems at an angle. This allows them to soak up as much water as possible.
  3. Adding a tiny bit of sugar to the water helps keep them fresh longer.
  4. Every couple of days, I retrim the stems and change the water.
  5. Make sure there aren’t any leaves under water.

how to decorate with hydrangeas display in laundry room

Simple display ideas to decorate with fresh hydrangeas

My best tip?

Just let the hydrangeas do the talking. In other words, hydrangeas are so pretty that you don’t have to do much to decorate with them. They do all the work with their flowers and their blooming and their brilliant colors.

All you have to do is trim them at the right time and find a pretty vase or container.

Here are some simple ideas for trim, cut and add water.

Display in a tall glass bottle

These are hydrangeas with 8″ stems in a tall vase.

I’ve left the leaves on because I’m using one hydrangea per vase.

I’ve grouped the tall glass bottles together and placed them on a wood tray.

Display in a basket

This is one of my favorite things to do when I’m about to dry hydrangeas to decorate with for the fall.

I cut 10-12 hydrangeas with 8 to 10″ stems and remove all the leaves.

Then I fill a big glass vase with water and place the stems of the hydrangea into the vase and then place the vase in the basket.

And then?

When the leaves start to change color slightly, I remove water and let the hydrangeas dry in place.

It’s kind of the lazy way of drying hydrangeas. Some of the flowers might get a little smashed, but if you are drying tons of hydrangeas for wreaths or garlands or arrangements? This is an easy method that doesn’t require a lot of work.

how to decorate with hydrangeas and milk glass

This is one of my favorite ways to add a little color to a spring mantel.

It’s one of the easiest, too.

I line up five milk glass containers in different sizes and different heights. Then I trim my hydrangeas with small stems (between 4 to 5 inches) and keep the leaves on a few of them.

Then?

I just add water.

I stagger the leaved hydrangeas with the non-leaved hydrangeas to add a little green to the display.

Decorate a table with hydrangeas and pears

This is an arrangement I created for fall with the last hydrangeas of the season in late August. They inspired me with their bits of brown leaves and fading petals. I took small pumpkins (or you could use vases) and filled them with water and hydrangeas.

Then I cut magnolia leaves (which are an entirely different flower decorating topic) and layered them into the dining table centerpiece with pears.

It was such a fresh way to welcome in September.

Simple display ideas to decorate with dried hydrangeas

And the best part about hydrangeas?

They are the gift that keeps on giving.

After spring and summer are over and they are finished blooming, you can dry them and decorate with them for fall.

Make a dried hydrangea wreath

    1. You’ll need grapevine wreath, florist wire and dried hydrangea.
    2. Trim the leaves and keep the stems about 5″ long.
    3. Wrap floral wire around the hydrangea and insert into the grapevine wreath.
    4. Continue wrapping the wire and adding hydrangea around the wreath.
    5. You may need to trim some of the hydrangeas so they look even. See the overly-exuberant friend at the top. He needed a hair cut.

Add dried hydrangeas to garlands

  1. This is a simple dollar store garland that I bought.
  2. Trim the leaves and keep the stems about 5″ long.
  3. Wrap floral wire around the hydrangea and wrap them around the grapevine garland.
  4. I added six to eight hydrangeas on each side of the door.

Add as accents on a pre-made wreath

  1. This is a pre-purchased wreath that I bought at the store. It came with the greenery.
  2. I added a few dried hydrangea and other flowers to add a little texture to the wreath.
  3. I trimmed all the leaves off of the hydrangeas and keep the stems about 5″ long.
  4. Wrap floral wire around the hydrangea and insert into the pre-made wreath.
  5. Make sure to vary the sizes of the hydrangeas when adding them to the wreath.

It’s spring.

The hydrangeas are ready for another year.

We’re getting the rocky dry soil ready and preparing the beds and making a home for them and planting our new hydrangea bushes tucked away in the corner in a shady corner of the house that gets dappled sunlight through the trees.

Another year.

Another season.

Another hydrangea chapter.

And when I look at that those flowers planted in front of the home and the flower beds that my father loved? I know he’s smiling right now…

….because I can hear his whispers in my ear.

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Comments

  1. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Love, love, Love hydrangeas ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️!!!!!!!!!!! Appreciate the drying tips and display tips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!😍

  2. Image for Louann Watts Louann Watts

    I am the “ hydrangea queen” in our historic neighborhood! Luv the flowers and so easy to care for them! Keep watered and they will bloom all summer! Happy Gardening Keri! 🌺

  3. Image for Kati Kati

    Hydrangeas are my favorite flower. I bought a house 3.5 years ago and I planted some hydrangea bushes 2 years ago, but there has been very little blooming. I am going to try the coffee grounds idea. Do you just put them on top of the soil under the plant? Also, I've always had trouble getting bugs (mainly ants) off of cut flowers. Any advice?

  4. Image for Angela Angela

    We moved away from Kentucky last year, I had 5 hydrangea bushes, they are my favorite flower. I had also planted several other blooming bushes, and hostas and flowers , and more. I bought two hydrangea plants to put on the front porch to help my front porch look cute to help sell our house there. Brought them to our home here, put them in the ground, and within a couple days, one of the 15 deer that visit our yard had eaten my hydrangeas plants to the ground! ☹️☹️☹️Now I know why there are hardly any bushes in this yard! My husband has built an 8 foot fence to put around our vegetable garden. He says I can plant a couple hydrangea bushes in there! Not what I would like, but at least I will be able to have my favorite flower!!!

  5. Image for Linda Roberts Linda Roberts

    Oh how I love hydrangeas! They bring back memories of my dear grandparents who had many in yard, One thing I do that was not mentioned..... After I dry them I save them and use them to decorate one of our many Christmas trees. I spray paint them with silver or gold and gently nestle them in the tree. So pretty! We just moved into a 55+ community and the thing I miss most are my spring flowers and my many hydrangeas!

  6. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    I love hydrangeas! First time I saw them was on Nantucket many years ago. I even brought plants home! The originals are gone but their offspring live on in my Michigan garden.

  7. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    Love the hydrangeas! We bought them in bulk from Sam's on-line, and they were GORGEOUS for my son's wedding. I was told to dip them in alum, or QuickDip, which I did, before putting them in water to help them soak up the water and stay hydrated, longer. The hydrangeas were real troopers!! Two days in water buckets, then vases, then buckets again (with no water-eek) for a few hours, then added water, then vases again the next day.

  8. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Hydrangeas are a favorite. I simply cannot get enough of them. Love the basket idea for drying them! Thanks for the idea. Happy Monday!

  9. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Yes!!! Hydrangeas are my favorite too! I want to plant more. I have been reading about starting them from cuttings, I may try it this year. Thank you for all of the tips and tutorials! Hoping I get lots this year and can try some of these! Have a great Monday!

  10. Image for CherylB CherylB

    Love love love them I have 2 small limelight’s in my front landscaping ... If you cut them at about 8 inches down and cut many.. what does that do to the bush? Isn’t it all lopsided and you’ve practically cut the whole bush back ? Just wondering here in the Bluegrass

  11. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    I've always adored hydrangeas but been hesitant to try to grow them myself because my mother always had issues growing them. Last year I planted my first one and I'm happy to report that it's still alive. It was quite small an only gave me a couple flowers but I'm assuming they are like all other perennials and need a few years to really get established. This year I've already planted another one and intend to put in several more and then just keep my fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

  12. Image for Angie M Angie M

    I love hydrangeas! Like you all about the influence. My grandmother had a HUGE hydrangea planted in front of her house. Every Summer it was loaded with blooms. I adored her and that plant. I have a couple of smaller ones growing in my yard. One day I hope they reach the level of my grandmother's.

  13. Image for Carrie Carrie

    What type of sun do they grow best? I want to add hydrangea to our yard! I have full sun areas, shady areas and in between!!! We're building a huge garage and I'm hoping I could plant these along the side that faces the road ( so I can camouflage how big it is)~ but that part of the yard is all sun, all day! Love any story that involves your dad! Sweet memories.

  14. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Loved reading your post! I love hydrangeas, too! They are such a beautiful flower. Thanks for the tips on drying them. I am going to do this in fall. KariAnne, hope you hear more whispers from your dear Dad when you are out in your yard near your hydrangea bushes! I loved my dear Dad, too, and we are living his dream for us here at the lake! Have a wonderful week! Blessings!

  15. Image for Hillary Hillary

    I love hydrangeas so so much. Each tiny flower reminds me of a little butterfly. The limelight green ones are my favorite!! www.paperandvine.com

  16. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Couple more things to add:: In a wide mouthed vessel (such as an old ironstone chamber pot) use a flower frog or two - or use florist tape to tape down some chicken wire - and then they stand up and you can fill to the gill. Cut them in the early morning - best time to do the cutting off the mother plant. Add a REAL copper penny - use older ones, they naturally kill bacteria - just plop in the water. Also an aspirin (non-coated kind) is helpful as well - hydrangeas love them some acid, as you know. I have a lot of luck with hydrangeas by pouring unused unsweetened leftover tea or coffee around the base,. ALSO I fork in spent tea leaves and coffee grounds at the base every once in a while - ESP at the bottom of your plant hole when planting new ones. (Don't forget to water down some Miracle Grow plant feeder at bottom of plant hole for anything ya plant. Anyway, it will be a long long while before our hydrangeas will be getting green - but sure love your pics and advice. Thanks, KA.

  17. Image for Loryl Loryl

    My grandma had the largest pinkest hydrangea right outside her back door. It’s probably why when we moved in our house 25 years ago the first Mother’s Day we were here I asked for hydrangea plants. They bloomed for 23 years but became over grown and it was so sad to have to get rid of them. People used to stop and just gush over how beautiful they were. Last spring I planted a new variety Pistachio. Here’s hoping they survived our brutal winter.

  18. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Couple more things to add to your wonderful ideas:: In a wide mouthed vessel (such as an old ironstone chamber pot) use a flower frog or two - or use florist tape to tape down some chicken wire (or just make a grid with floral tape too) - and then they stand up and you can fill to the gill. Cut them in the early morning - best time to do the cutting off the mother plant. Add a REAL copper penny - use older ones, they naturally kill bacteria - just plop in the water. Also an aspirin (non-coated kind) is helpful as well - hydrangeas love them some acid, as you know. I have a lot of luck with hydrangeas by pouring unused unsweetened leftover tea or coffee around the base,. ALSO I fork in spent tea leaves and coffee grounds at the base every once in a while - ESP at the bottom of your plant hole when planting new ones. (Don't forget to water down some Miracle Grow plant feeder at bottom of plant hole for anything ya plant. Anyway, it will be a long long while before our hydrangeas will be getting green - but sure love your pics and advice. Thanks, KA.

  19. Image for Tracey Tracey

    I love hydrangeas I saw the first ones of the season at Costco just a few days ago. Maybe I can bring one home the next time I go.

  20. Image for Shelia P. Shelia P.

    Hi Karianne! Happy Tuesday to ya! I’ve adored hydrangeas ever since I was a little girl. It seemed like all the women on our street grew them. I’d sneak and cut some to take home to my poor lil old Mama. She’d ewww and ahhh over them but would ask where I got them from, and tell me I was sweet to bring them to her but the other ladies would want to have the flowers to share wth their families. I didn’t get in too much trouble, lol. So I’d ride my bike into town to the old florists shop and he always dumped his,, past their prime flowers, in the alley behind the shop. Sometimes there were even vases. I’d scoop all that up and take it home to my play shed and fix her up a bouquet of those and she didn’t get upset with me about those because they’d been thrown out to the trash. They were usually old hydrangeas, lol. So your story brought back that childhood memory for me Karianne. It was one of the few times I could make my Mama smile. 😊. Thank you and you have a wonderful day! 😊

  21. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I fell in love when we moved to Maine. They were everywhere! I put some in a vase of water & then learned I needed to rush back to Michigan. So just before leaving I poured a good amount of blue food coloring into the water in the vase& left. When I returned I had the most beautiful blue dried hydrangeas! I had them several years, even thru a move back to Michigan. I have them surrounding my home now. Thank you for your tips. I had read on another blog to dip the stems in Alum. That does seem to help them live longer.

  22. Image for Sandi from the Cape Sandi from the Cape

    Karianne, where on Cape Cod did you stay? Do you have a home here? I'm in Orleans and would love to say hi if you still come during the summer! The hydrangeas are a beautiful plant and I have a couple in my yard! Thanks for a lovely blog and hope to see you in the future!

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