The Easy Way to Dry or Preserve Limelight Hydrangea Blossoms

How is your weekend going? I’ve been working a little outside. I need to be working A LOT outside! There’s tons of weeding to be done…and other stuff. One little project I knocked out was cleaning out the interior and exterior of this Lazy Hill Farms birdhouse. I didn’t think I’d be posting about it so neglected to take any “Before” pictures, but it was yucky. We’ve had soooo much rain this spring and summer, the exterior had greenish stuff all over it. I’m not sure if it was algae or mold or what.

Fortunately, it washed off with a bit of scrubbing. I have a feeling I’ll be repainting this house in another year or two. When I do, I’ll use my exterior house paint. For some reason, the paint that comes on birdhouses never seems to be as good or as durable as my Sherwin Williams Duration. But it’s looking pretty spiffy for now, so we’ll see how it looks this time next year.

If you need a great focal point in your yard, you’ll find this birdhouse available here: Lazy Hill Farms Dovecote. The same design with a shingle roof is available here: Dovecote with Shingle Roof. I have the one with the shingle roof in my perennial garden. Love them both!

Cleaning Lazy Hill Farms Bird House at the end of Summer


I went ahead and cleared out two old nests I found inside the house. Bluebirds nested twice here this past spring/summer. Those two triangular nests at the top of the photo are the ones that were inside the house.

See that little nest at the bottom with 4 eggs?

Cleaning out old bird nests from birdhouses


A bird (not sure what kind) built a nest on the back side of the wreath I placed on my door earlier in the spring.

Decorate Your Porch for Spring, Spring Tulip Wreath


It was tucked right behind the wreath on the left side. I noticed it a couple of months ago when I came out the front door and found a bunch of long strands of some type of straw hanging from the wreath. I never removed the nest, just left it there.

I don’t know if the bird who built the nest decided the door was getting opened and closed too much and not a good place for nesting, or what happened. Makes me kind of sad they didn’t come back after laying the eggs.

Tulip Wreath


Drying Hydrangea Blossoms

Whenever I happen to post a photo showing dried Limelight Hydrangeas, I always get questions regarding how to dry them. I am definitely not an expect at the art of drying hydrangeas. In fact, the first time I ever tried to do it on purpose, it completely failed. The hydrangeas turned an ugly, yucky brown and I threw them out.

One year I accidentally managed to dry them and didn’t know how I did it. I remember Googling when that happened and reading somewhere that successful drying has to do with timing. I would totally agree with that.

How to dry Limelight Hydrangeas Blooms


The hydrangeas above are the ones that appeared in this tablescape below.

Porch Dining in Summer


They had just been cut that same day and were very fresh. When I took the table setting apart, I placed the arrangement in the kitchen on my breakfast table and forgot about it. A week or so later I left to visit family for ten days.

Sweet Bird Hiding in Limelight Hydrangeas


When I returned, this was how they looked. They had dried naturally in place. They actually look prettier in person than they do in this photo below.

So the biggest tip I can give you is when drying hydrangeas is to wait until it’s very close to the end of the season, or at least until it’s toward the end of that particular blossom’s blooming time. When I’ve cut hydrangeas blossoms early in the season when they are new and fresh, they never dry well and just turn brown as they dry out. But if I cut the blooms late in the season after they have turned their final color, in this case, a pretty green since these are Limelight Hydrangeas, they tend to keep their pretty green color as they dry instead of turning an ugly brown.

Again, I’m no expert on how to dry hydrangeas blossoms, but this seems to work pretty well.

Drying Limelight Hydrangeas at the end of summer


Anyone experienced with drying hydrangeas? Would love to hear your tips!

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 



    Love the hydrangeas. Gardenanswer just did a video on how to dry them! I got hooked on this youtuber this summer! So much to learn. Thank you for your post. I learn so much from you, Susan. Thank you, Julie

  2. Sandra D Joliet says

    I have never dried them but want to learn. I haven’t watched it yet but Garden Answer on You Tube just posted a video on how to do it a couple days ago. I just discovered that channel so I’ve been binge watching.

  3. I have used dried hydrangeas a couple of years ago from my oak leaf. I also let them progress to their pinkish color on the plant and cut them just before cold weather. I just put them in a vase and they did it on their own. The color went well with fall colors. You can get silica gel beads at a craft store I suppose but since I get fresh flowers every year, they do not need to last forever. When they start to shed whenever, I just toss them.

  4. I harvest my hydrangeas put them in a large pail with three inches water, put them in a closed closet for two weeks, then take them out. I have some that are several years old, and they have turned unto a soft beige color. My flowers come from the mountains of NC. They are a lovely soft green and so pretty.

  5. It was probably a little Carolina wren that built the abandoned nest. They try doing it on my wreath too…and in the ferns, geraniums, etc. I read the Mister builds several nests and then takes Mrs. around to inspect and pick her favorite one. I’m always careful cleaning out birdhouses because of snakes! I came inside my house a few weeks ago to find the kitties batting something around…yep, a SNAKE! How did it get inside?!! The dried hydrangeas are lovely!

  6. Susan, What pretty dried flowers these end of season Limelight Hydrangas are! I’ve had excellent results in tying four to five longer stems of not only Hydrangas but also Snowballs, seasonal flowers and roses, together and hanging them upside down for a month or so-either in an outside laundry room or garage, where it is still and not much air flow. Hope this helps! Bren

  7. I use 1 part Glycerin to 3 parts water to dry my Hydrangea. The Glycerin helps prevent shattering. I finally threw some dried Hydrangea away about a week that had been dried using this method–they were over 20 years old! I fill the vase 2-3″ with the mixture. Just add a bit when the level gets low. When the Hydrangea are showing signs of drying I stop watering. Sometimes you can see very tiny droplets of the water/glycerin mixture on the edges of the petals. When I see this I stop watering as well.

    • Carol Thompson says

      Love this, I did it with magnolia leaves years ago. Never thought to do it with hydrangeas. Thanks for the hints!

  8. A gardening friend of mine years ago told me the best way to dry any kind of Hydrangea blossom is to cut them, place them in a large paper bag ( you can request paper at most supermarkets) , put them in the trunk of the car for several weeks and pretty much forget them for awhile. They will dry beautifully and it doesn’t cost a thing to do it.

  9. I’ve read to wait until they start to get that papery feel, then cut them and put in a tiny bit of water, and let them dry out. I tried that with some blue ones 2 years ago, and that worked well.

  10. Your hydrangea are lovely! Wondering if you or your readers can help me out…. my limelight are 3 years old, have had minimal pruning, and started the season as gorgeous 8 foot tall flower laden shrubs. After some of the heavy storms we have had in NE GA hit in late June, all but a few stems are bent over to the ground. I thought they would straighten when rain stopped, but still arched over and look so straggly. Should I just cut all the blooms off and prune? Appreciate any suggestions anyone has. Thanks!

  11. I have a huge 20′ long limelight hedge. We have massive amounts of flowers with gigantic heads.

    I’ve had great success drying the flowers. It’s actually quite easy. Wait until the end of the season. This is key. Then you just get those 5 gallon buckets and fill them a few inches with water. Place the flowers in the buckets after you have stripped them of their leaves. (These absorb too much of the water. You need the water to go to the flower heads.) Keep them out of direct
    sunlight. Bright indirect light is fine. Leave them alone. In a few days the buckets will be dry. So will the heads. We spray them with a fixative afterwards to keep them from shedding. I make huge arrangements with them. (They look especially nice with burgundy eucalyptus accents.) They last a full year and could go even longer. But by then I have new ones. 🙂

  12. When you talked about a bird building a nest in your door wreath, I had to laugh. It brought back memories of a bird sitting in my front door wreath and when I opened to door to go get the morning paper, the bird decided to make itself at home (literally). He flew in and circled from my living room ceiling fan, my dining room chandelier and onto the top of my kitchen cabinets quite a few times. I had to hurriedly close the bedroom doors and open the front door, the door into the garage, and the garage door itself. All the while I am trying to get him to go out of one of the opened doors. On one of the tours through the house, he decided to leave a little “present” on my sofa! Poor thing was probably scared to death. I eventually got him corralled into the garage and he sat on top of the open garage door and finally got all the way outside. The funny thing is the year before, I had heard scratching through my front door. I didn’t thing anything about it and opened the front door to get the paper and in flew a bird that time, who was a lot easier to get out. He had been sitting in a flower arrangement on the front door…you would think I would have learned a lesson that time and not repeated it a second time! Now if I hear any scratching, I knock on the inside of the door to scare birds away before I open the door.

    • I had a bird trying to nest in a wreath on my door, fly into my house, too. I finally got it back out the next morning. Now I shake the door a bit this time of year before I open it!

  13. Cyndi Raines says

    Love that bird house! Did you have a special cleaner that you used? I have a collection of birds nest on shelves in my potting shed. I just can’t throw them away after all their hard work. When I think of the many trips back and forth with their little beaks full and the intricate weaving of all those twigs with mud sometimes packed in as mortar, I stand amazed!

    • Joanne Fisher says

      Bird nests are quaint, but can pose a serious health threat if there is bird poop in them, which is very likely. Several years ago, my sister was hospitalized for weeks with a very, excruciating headache, found to have been caused by bird excrement dust that been inhaled unknowingly while moving hay bales to retrieve a rather large planter. A neurosurgeon diagnosed her disease as cryptococcal meningitis. After being discharged, she had to have intravenous antibiotics for six weeks. Very scary-she nearly died. Nice to admire bird nests, but be very careful. Hope this is helpful.

      • Joanne Fisher says

        I’d like to add this info about my previous comment. There was pigeon excrement in the barn, as is common in barns and my sister probably inhaled the contaminated air unknowingly. Pigeons carry the culprit germs for cryptically meningitis.

  14. Sometimes I “mist” my dried hydrangeas with spray paint…currently metallic rose gold…I like as filler in my Christmas tree…gaaa…did I just write Christmas…franki

    • Linda Thompson says

      Frankie, I never ever thought of using the blossoms in my tree…and a light mist of metallic. Lovely idea!

  15. A few years ago a mama bird built her nest in one of my door wreaths. (I have double doors with a wreath on each.) Fortunately for me, the doors are glass and I have plantation blinds on the interior, which I usually keep 3/4s open. Every morning I was able to pass by and standing in front of the other door, peek out the blinds without being too noticeable. 😀 I watched that nest from that moment until the last fledgling flew away. I took many, many pictures and even a few short videos. I was even able to capture a nighttime picture with the mama bird standing on the nest, as well as several with her sitting on her eggs. I had pictures of the babies as they were first born, all pink with sparse ‘hair,’ all the way up until they were crowding the nest and ready to go out on their own. I even had pictures of her with squirmy worms about to feed some very open mouths. 😀 That was such a wonderful memory and I have the pictures to help me relive it. :o) Hopefully, the next mama bird who builds a nest in your wreath will come back to hatch her eggs.

  16. Timely tips on drying limelights. Thanks, Susan.

  17. Cyndi Raines says

    LOVE Franki’s idea of “misting” with rose gold metallic spray paint! Awesome!

  18. Linda thompson says

    I merely arrive at my sons late in September, select the prettiest blossoms and cut with a nice long stem. I do remove most of the leaves, arrange in an empty vase…and they are lovely for several years. I prefer fresh ones each year, but once I missed hydrangeas for several years…they were a lovely bleached wheat color by then. I’ve been doing this for about 8years and always the same lovely result.

  19. Cyndi Raines says

    Joanne, thank you for that information. Knowledge is power. I know there are crazy viruses and super bugs out there, we all have to be careful. I will think twice about gathering future nests and will look at my current collection with a mask on to see if I should keep or discard. I hope your sister is fully recovered and in health now.

  20. paula lewis says

    I take down my door wreaths when the wrens try to build nests in them. They will give up and find another place, I told my sister to do the same thing when a wren was building a nest in her wreath, but she thought it was cute and let it keep building the nest. It was cute until she opened the door and the mother bird flew into the house where my sister’s dog killed it within moments. Then all the baby birds died too. Sad and upset my sister. Just sayin’

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!


Send this to a friend