Hydrangeas are one of the most impressive flowers in the world. They're also evil, neurotic, easily offended and have an astonishing ability to play dead. They're the opossum of the flower world. Here's how to revive a wilted hydrangea.
This is how it usually goes when I buy hydrangeas:
I'm at the grocery store for the sole purpose of buying 1% milk. I need this milk because I can't go to bed unless I've had my glass of milk and exactly 2 ginger snap cookies, whether I'm hungry or not. This is because I'm probably crazy. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure.
I make my way through the flower department without incident until I see the huge bucket of hydrangeas. A great, big, huge bucket overflowing with huge soft heads of hydrangea petals. So of course I buy a couple of bunches.
I do this even though I know within 2 hours of bringing them home, anywhere from one to all of them will wilt and die.
I will then curse my stupidity and throw them out vowing to never, EVER buy hydrangeas again. Never, will I ever buy another hydrangea.
This scenario happened to me about once a month for 10 years.
Then I discovered a solution that actually works. It's a tip I've used over and over for the past decade without one single failure. So if you too have an issue with a wilted, sorry-ass hydrangea follow this advice:
Just cut the stem and stick it in a cup of boiling water. This tip has saved many, many white wedding hydrangeas.
Table of Contents
How to Revive Flowers
1. Get the kettle boiling.
2. Fill a very clean heat resistant container with boiling water. (any dirt in the container can make its way into the stem clogging it even more.
3. Wrap paper around the stem of the hydrangea to protect the flower from the hot steam. This only needs to be done if the stem isn't long enough to keep the flower tipped to the side and away from the steam and heat of the water.
4. Cut about an inch off the end of the stem and immediately plunge the stem into the hot water.
5.Let it sit for as long as it takes for the flower to refresh. Usually around 3 hours but I tend to do this overnight. See that last set of leaves touching the jug? I forgot to remove those immediately and did so right after I took the photo.
** remove extra leaves so they don't hog all the water**
6. When the flower is revived quickly put it into fresh, cool water.
Below is my hydrangea after 3 hours in hot water and then ½ hour in cool water.
What Causes Flowers to Wilt?
If a newly cut flower wilts within a day or two or even by the time you bring it home, it's because it was out of water and air has made its way into the stem. Those air bubbles prevent the stem from sucking up water to the bloom.
THIS is why you always read that you should cut stems under water. So no air gets in the stems.
Roses are prime candidates for this treatment to get rid of their drooping heads. You know; when you bring your roses home and within a day their blooms look like they're on the tail end of a bender and are nodding off? This will help that.
The hot water treatment does a great job of getting rid of air that's made its way into the stem.
What's in Flower Food
Yep. Flower food actually works so don't throw those packets out when you get them.
Flower food normally contains sugar, acid and bleach.
Sugar feeds the flower.
Acid maintains the proper pH balance that the flower likes
Bleach keeps everything clean and helps slow down bacterial growth.
DIY Floral Food
You can make your own floral preservative if you happen to be human with human type things in your cupboards.
Add these ingredients to 4 cups of water and your flowers will be ready to rumble.
FLORAL PRESERVATIVE RECIPE
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon bleach
2 tsps lime (or lemon) juice
(add to 4 cups of water)
It works EVERY time. I mean, obviously if you've had the flowers for 2 weeks and they've lived a good long life you should just allow them to die a dignified death of natural causes. But if you bring them home and they wilt within the first few days, try sitting them in hot water.
You might just find they were only playing dead.
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