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How to Cut Annabelle Hydrangeas for Arrangements

Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her Youtube Channel.

Annabelle hydrangea blossoms are best cut when they've aged to green.

Annabelle hydrangea blossoms are best cut when they've aged to green.

When Are Hydrangeas Best Cut?

Today I want to tell you the best way to harvest your Annabelle hydrangeas for the longest vase life. It's July in my New Jersey garden, the perfect time to cut some beautiful lime green Annabelle hydrangea blooms.

Annabelle hydrangeas are one of my absolute favorite hydrangeas to grow on the flower farm because once you put them in the ground and they get established, they keep coming back year after year. The blooms are unbelievable—they come in each year on new growth.

All the flowers that you see in the photo above came in this spring. That means you don't have to worry about pruning them back at the wrong time because fresh growth comes each year.

Side by side comparison of fresh white blooms and green blooms that are more dried out with a "papery" texture. The green blooms will last longer in arrangements.

Side by side comparison of fresh white blooms and green blooms that are more dried out with a "papery" texture. The green blooms will last longer in arrangements.

How to Extend Annabelle Hydrangeas' Vase Life

Wait until they're out of the fresh white stage—when Annabelle hydrangeas first bloom, they are a really beautiful white color. However, fresh white blooms don't have a great vase life.

I wait until mid to late summer when they're semi-dried out and they actually feel kind of papery on the stem—you can tell they're more dried out than a fresh bloom.

Side by side (like in the photo above), you can kind of see how the white flowers are totally puffed out, nice and fresh. The blossoms look nice and hydrated. If you really do a close-up look at some of these petals, you can tell they're a little drier. They're a bit curled up. This is great because you're going to plunk them in some water. When the water in the vase evaporates, you'll be left with a beautiful, dry-cut flower that will continue to look gorgeous in the vase for a couple of months.

Once the hydrangea blossom has completely dried out, use floral spray paint to keep it looking fresh for even longer.

Once the hydrangea blossom has completely dried out, use floral spray paint to keep it looking fresh for even longer.

Get Even More Life Out of Your Hydrangea Arrangement

Then, when the colors kind of fade from the dried flower, just give it a shot of spray paint and some floral paint to keep it looking great all year long.

This is a terrific flower to cut for a fresh-cut flower arrangement because it will turn from a kind of fresh semi-dried arrangement into a fully dried flower arrangement.

Finish the arrangement by adding greens from your garden.

Finish the arrangement by adding greens from your garden.

Read More From Dengarden

Creating Long-Lasting Flower Arrangements

  1. Cut the bloom.
  2. Remove the leaves.
  3. Create the arrangement.

Step 1: Cut the Bloom

Remember, you can cut these stems as long as you like because it won't bother next year's bloom. So go ahead and cut the bloom to your desired length by giving it a gentle snip.

Step 2: Remove the Leaves

Remove all the leaves from the bottom because you don't want to have leaves in your vase water—that can cause bacteria and clog up the stems. So get rid of all the leaves. You also don't want the flower to have to worry about hydrating all those leaves. Let it concentrate on bringing water up and just hydrating that top bloom.

Step 3: Make the Arrangement

  1. Gently find some real estate in your vase with fresh water and where there's a little bit of a gap, place the bloom in the arrangement. Feel free to spin the flower head around, so its best face is looking forward. Sometimes the back of the bloom can be a little flat. It looks so much prettier when the best side of the bloom is facing outward.
  2. Continue to add blooms by spinning the vase around.
  3. You can fill in the gaps by adding some fresh greens from the garden. It makes for a really simple, easy-to-make arrangement.
  4. Keep your hydrangeas away from direct sunlight and heat sources, and they should dry out beautifully.

Take Care Not to Damage the Bloom

Whenever you put flowers in a vase, it's a really great florist power tip to hold them like a pen or a pencil. You never want to push your flowers in from the top of the head for two reasons:

  1. You can crack the head of the flower right off.
  2. It can cause browning on a lot of flowers.
I love sharing tips for growing hydrangeas, from my garden to yours!

I love sharing tips for growing hydrangeas, from my garden to yours!

Happy Gardening!

Please feel free to leave me a comment or a garden question below. I would love to hear from you. For more tips on growing, propagating, and harvesting hydrangeas, read my other articles below.

More About Growing Hydrangeas

© 2021 Kelly Lehman

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 10, 2021:

The photos of your hydrangeas are beautiful, Kelly. I will give your method a try. I never knew that there was floral paint. Thanks for your tutorial on how to keep the dried blossoms longer.

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