Large clusters of flowers make hydrangeas among the most widely planted flowering shrubs in American gardens. While 60 species exist, most native to Asia, a few North American hydrangea species work well in gardens, too. Hydrangea flower heads look alluring on the plant or if cut and placed in bouquets. Even after the flowers die and dry, they are ornamental and endure for months.
Clipping off the old, spent flower clusters on hydrangea shrubs is called deadheading. Gardeners who find the faded flower colours or the beige dried petals ugly may tidy the plants by trimming branch tips in summer. Bigleaf or florist hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) and many new hybrid cultivars will develop side branches after deadheading to produce small flower clusters several weeks later.
Creating Seasonal Interest
Fading pink, white or blue hydrangea flowers often go through a colourful change. As the petals dry, they may attain pink or lavender hues before becoming light beige. After the plant leaves turn colour and drop away in fall, the dried flower heads persist all across winter. The beige colour further bleaches to nearly white, adding visual texture and colour to the fall and winter garden.
Drying Cut Flowers
Hydrangea shrubs that produce full, rounded or pointed flower heads dry well after being cut and may be later used in dried flower arrangements. Flat-topped lacecap hydrangea flower clusters do not dry well. Hang cut branches of flowers upside-down in a warm, dry and arid location until all tissue is dry. Hydrangea blossoms first used in bouquet vases may also be dried, but do so before the petals droop or mould or rot occurs on the lower stems, according to Lane Greer of Learn2Grow.
Dried Bloom Revitalization
Whether dried upside-down in the garage or basement, or clipped from the shrub already dry in fall, dried hydrangea flowers last for years if not crushed and broken. If the natural beige or white colour of dried hydrangeas is too visually dull, spray paint them to embellish Christmas wreaths, garlands or to fill other dried flower arrangements. Use any paint colour to match your decorating theme.