How to Cut Hydrangeas

Cut Hydrangeas
Cut Hydrangeas (Image: Yourdon)

Cut hydrangeas are prized for their delicate hues of blue, pink, lavender and white. They are popular adornments for weddings, seasonal celebrations and formal events. If your main purpose for growing hydrangeas is to cut the stunning blooms, you already know that the plants suffer from few pest problems. Healthy perennial hydrangea shrubs flower so profusely that you can easily remove all the blooms that you need for an arrangement and the plant will still look appealing. Here are some things that you can do for your plants that will increase the quality as well as the quantity of cut flowers they produce for you.

Things You'll Need

  • All-purpose slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Commercial floral preservative

Situate hydrangeas in an area where they will be shaded during the hottest parts of the day, if you have not already planted them. A well-drained, richly composted location on the eastern side of a building is ideal and protects the stems and blooms from wind damage and breakage.

Apply a good all-purpose slow-release fertilizer throughout the growing season as per the manufacturer's instructions to prepare your hydrangeas for maximum bloom production.

Water hydrangea plants often. If they appear to be wilted, they are very thirsty. Inadequate water during the spring when flower heads are forming results in fewer and smaller blooms. Let the soil dry out only slightly between waterings. These shrubs appreciate barely moist soil, but they will rot if they are constantly soggy.

Remove dead or dying material from the hydrangea the first winter following planting. Cut the entire plant back to about a third of its present size, which will force it to grow long, straight flower stems desirable for cutting. Prepare the hydrangea by pruning it a little more aggressively than you would a plant used only for landscaping purposes.

Cut hydrangea blooms the following spring, just as they fully develop. Cut them early in the morning, preferably before sunrise, while they are still moist with dew. Use sharp, clean pruning shears, and make your cuts at acute diagonal angles.

Prepare a bucket of cool water treated with commercial floral preservative according to the packaging instructions. Place the cut hydrangeas in the bucket immediately, and allow them to soak in a cool, shaded location for 2 hours before disturbing them. This solution feeds the flowers and discourages premature decay.

Create your floral masterpiece with the cut hydrangeas. Set it in a cool location, and protect it from drafts and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add lime to the soil to make blue flowers turn pink, or use aluminum sulfate to turn blooms from pink to blue.

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