Flower of the Week – Square Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers.  Although I don’t know why.  They’re snotty little things that look pretty and perky in the store, but 75% of the time once you get them home, they’re ugly and wilted.  Deflated.  A scribble of a flower.

Yet time and time again I come home with them.  Frankly there are only 2 conceivable reasons to explain why I do this.  Either I am sadistic, or I am masochistic.  I’m not sure which one … I always get the two confused.    I’m whichever is the one that describes a person who tortures themselves.

As I explained in my post on how to revive a hydrangea, if you end up with a wilted one it isn’t the end of the world, you just have to spend a little time on bringing it back to life.  But still.  It can be a pain.  I mean, I know with a little work I could bring my bum back to life too, but … I’d rather it just hadn’t wilted in the first place.

Anyhow, consider this fair warning if you’re gonna do today’s Flower of the Week!  I came up with this simply out of boredom.  Hydrangeas must be the easiest flower in the world to arrange.  I mean you can literally just stick them in a big round cylinder vase and they look fantastic.  Tall vase, short vase, square vase, round vase … doesn’t matter.  As long as you stick 3 large hydrangeas in it, it’ll look good.

So I decided to challenge myself a bit to do something I hadn’t done with a hydrangea before. I took my hydrangea out for a night of dinner and dancing.  No I didn’t.

I did this …

The Square Hydrangea Arrangement

You’ll need these …

1, 2, 3 hydrangeas

and a block of this.

Oasis - soaked in water

Just a quick note for beginners … Oasis is floral foam you soak in water for fresh flowers.  Sahara is floral foam you use for silk or other fake flower arrangements.  Soak your Oasis until it’s heavy.  Doesn’t take long 15 minutes – 1/2 hour or so.

Cut Oasis in half

Measure the Oasis.

Cut and add whatever you need to, to make the cube perfectly square.

Secure the Oasis

I just break some wood skewers in half.

And then stick them in the corners.

You have to push them down all the way.  Use the end of another skewer if you want.

Now you’ll have a secure, completely square cube.

Mine measures 4.25″ x 4.25″x4.25″  (WxHxD)

Pinch your flower heads

Take a look at the underside of your hydrangea head.

See how each huge hydrangea is actually made up of 5 smaller flower stems?

And each of those stems are made up of several even smaller flower steams?

You need to snap those off and separate them.

Like this:

I find not moisturizing and not doing your nails helps to create a better arrangement.

It’s par for the course really in the rough and tumble world of flower arranging.

This is one of the 5 branches inside a Hydrangea.

This is one of the branches inside THAT flower head.

Insert your little flower bits into the Oasis cube.

Start with the top and then do the sides.

Start sticking your flowers into the Oasis

Keep the flowers relatively level (I don’t mind a bit of error actually, it makes things prettier if you ask me)

Push the flowers in as far as you can.  You don’t want big and poofy.  You want flat.

Even flat will end up looking huge and poofy.  Trust me.

If you’re having trouble getting the stems into the Oasis you can use your skewer to poke a hole in the Oasis and then insert the flower stem.

With some of the smaller stems the skewer may make too big of a hole, so find something smaller to poke a hole.

A piece of spaghetti for instance.

Keep working around the cube with your tiny flower clumps until it’s completely covered.

I’m gonna warn you right now that 3 large hydrangeas is just BARELY enough to do this cube.  You might be wise to trim your cube down to 4″x4″x4″.

There are also far more fantastic things that you could do with these cubes and floral foam shapes, but I wanted to show you something that didn’t cost 1 million dollars to do.  This is something you really can do with $10 worth of hydrangeas.  Not $50 worth.  Although that would be fun!

Push and pull on your flowers until it’s most cube like.

What I think is the most fun about this is you can place it anywhere.  It doesn’t have to go in a vase, or in a plate with water (although it will live longer if you do that).  You can just stick it on a tray like a sculpture or object d’art and enjoy.

To care for the arrangement, soak it every night in a plate of water.  You can actually plunge the whole thing underwater if you’re careful. Hydrangeas love water.  Then put it back on display.  Like so …

As nice as this is,  you to keep in mind … this arrangement involves Oasis and hydrangeas.  So it’s a crapshoot at best. You could wake up in the morning to a perfectly preserved arrangement, or you could wake up in the morning to something that looks as if you really did take it out for a night of dinner and dancing.   And drinking.  And debauchery.

… cause he’s good like that.


  1. Helen says:

    love it. your talent is once again moving me to tears 🙂

  2. Nicole says:

    I *adore* hydrangeas, but they’re really hard to grow in Dallas, where I mostly grew up. They were all over the years I spent in North Carolina though, and I was fascinated with how moody they are w/r/t color. A friend of mine managed to grow some gorgeous Tiffany blue bushes. They always make me think of the humid swampy area of the Outer Banks…crumbling Victorian houses and dilapidated plantation homes and willow trees reaching for the ground…

    • Karen says:

      Nicole – Forget the hydrangeas … I wanna see crumbling Victorian houses and dilapidated plantation homes with willow trees. Very historical, picturesque description! ~ karen

  3. Anastasia says:

    you’re the masochist for torturing yourself with the hydrangeas. he’s the sadist for torturing you them. the crapshoot is so worth it when ithe dice land in your favor and it works. there’s just nothing like hydrangeas.

  4. mbb. says:

    i’m getting married in august – i love hydrangea and i love this idea, now if only we could get them to cooperate?

  5. Farquist says:

    Beautiful! You made it seem so easy that even I could do it.
    My flower arranging consists of a bunch of grocery store flowers stuck in the vase my Mom won at a golf tournament. It’s a crystal vase. My Mom was a good golfer.
    Can you tell me where you got the fantastic pottery and also the tray? Sorry, more work for you.
    PS – your hands look fine. Golfer’s hands.

    • Karen says:

      Farquist! LOL. “Fine” is what my sister and I call everything that clearly isn’t fine. As in … the half cooked turkey? It’ll be fine. The wedding present I bought at the gas station? It’ll be fine. I got the pottery when Style at Home came and shot my house for their magazine. They brought a couple of pieces of pottery with them for propping and I bought it from them! It’s from a store in Toronto called 18 Karat and the vase is the “Ramen Vase”. And the clear plastic tray is a FANTASTIC find. It’s from Fortinos/Loblaws. (in the home section with the candles and such) It was only $15.99 or something from what I remember. ~ karen!

  6. Debbie Doodles says:

    Love the Hydrangea cube. Thanks for this bit of how to. Thanks to your nice boyfriend for flower of the week too.

  7. marilyn says:

    love this karen..looks beautiful and i love the $llerama candle too..lol

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marilyn! Dollarama candleholder, topped with large Ikea tealight! See? I’m not all cheap, all the time. I can add in some fancy if I have to. LOL ~ karen

  8. Todd@PhitZone says:

    We had hydrangeas in our front yard in WA. I loved to turn them different colors with a nail (look it up, it works). They were always so pretty, and surprisingly resilient.

    That’s a very cool looking arrangement. I just can’t bring myself to do flower arrangements though… it’s a guy thing. 😉

  9. shirley huang says:

    I love this. Just happened that I brought a bunch of hydrangea over the weekend too. Sadly, it’s starting to wilt already. BUT Luckily, you reference the “how to revive” post. Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Shirley – I took me years to figure out a reviving technique that actually worked! Try it. ~ karen

      • shirley huang says:

        Karen – I tried it last night. It WORKED!!! Thanks so much. I was jumping up and down after 3 hours of waiting. I thought that the flower might have been wilted for too long to revive in the first 30 minute. I guess patient helps! Thanks again. =)

  10. This is such a great idea! Dying to try it now.

  11. looks so pretty on the tray…nicely done!

  12. Lesley H says:

    Ohhh…so pretty. This arrangement just screams classy. Maybe too much so for my limited talents but I at least have similar ‘undone’ nails-that could help! Thanks to you and the boyfriend for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Lesley – You could do this! You could totally do this. Honestly. You make a square and stick flowers in it. Give it a shot. ~ karen

  13. lori says:

    what a great idea! question can you use any flower?? or is it a stem thing?

    • Karen says:

      Lori! I’ve never done this before, so I have no idea if you could use other flowers to the same effect. I’m sure you could, but some would be easier than others. If you were to do roses for instance, you’d need tooooooo many of them. Daisies are a possibility, and those lime green button mums would work GREAT. In fact, I might just try those and do another post on it! ~ karen

  14. Kelly Kline says:

    Wow, Karen, Thank you!! What a beautiful arragemnet! I can’t wait to try it!! So lovely!!
    🙂 ~Kelly

  15. Inspirational Sketchbook says:

    Even if I never find the courage to do this wonderous trick of turning a hydrangea into a square, I am SO returning to your blog each day to see what you are up to. To read your narriative is a complete delight! I was smiling from start to finish. So very happy to have found you. Roxanne

  16. Anemone says:

    wow…that was unexpected…of course… never seen that before…that is beautiful

  17. sqweeeee! Karen this is gorgeous! Where I’m going to find a Hydrangea in Yellowknife beats me. But if it can be done, I’ll do it!

  18. wendy says:

    i absolutely love this idea – goregous!

  19. Del says:

    Just read this and you are a life/flower saver. Keep looking at my silk hydrangeas and trying to figure out what to do with them. Just redecorated the lounge room and they don’t go but can’t throw them away. My real hydrangeas are growing outside in the shade house and are too lovely to pick. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just need to buy Sshara

  20. dez says:

    What if I were to make a big ball of hydrangeas on an elevated vase for my wedding ceremony. How would I preserve that? Should I make it the night before or on the day of?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dez – It can definitely be done and it would look great! All you need to do is buy a round ball of Oasis and make sure it’s soaked very well. (you can buy balls or carve one out of regular Oasis yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect and in fact it can be done with a square of oasis. You can fake the round shape with how you insert the flowers. Make sure your Oasis is very well soaked. And I definitely wouldn’t do it until the last minute. Practice one a week before or so just so you have the hang of it and you aren’t stressed the day of. Good luck! ~ karen

  21. Nikki says:

    Lovely! Since you posted this quite a while ago, you have probably already figured this out, but I’ll throw it out there! Oasis is a delicate material. Hydrangea is a beautiful, but needy flower! If you treat the oasis carefully and understand the mechanics of it, the flowers will last longer and the hydrangea will wilt fewer times. The oasis absorbs water via air that is pushed out of the oasis and replaced by water. When you put angled and sliced stems in once, they are held against the water without air interfering. The stems on the sides should have the cut side up, so when the flower moves down, the stem will press up against the foam. If you move the stems out after you place them, make a new hole because now you have breached the integrity of the seal. What to soak the foam in is still up in the air for me, but set it in water and leave it to submerge on its own is for sure!

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