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Hydrangea Wedding Bouquet Design Tips

Ask the Expert: Best way to ensure hydrangeas in a wedding bouquet
I have a bride that wants to use hydrangeas in her bouquet and her bridesmaids.  I am really afraid of using fresh blooms as I know they wilt quickly.  Her wedding is in March. Can you tell me the secret to ensuring that the bouquets will hold up and not wilt.  Thank you so much.

Plant Expert Reply:
The first step to ensuring the hydrangeas don’t wilt is the care you give them when they hit your door. Proper hydration is the key. In Hydrating A Hydrangea Bouquet For A Wedding, the steps for hydrating hydrangeas are outlined.

The steps are as follows
1. Submerge heads for 2 to 4 minutes under tepid water. (You can submerge the heads for up to twenty minutes for significant hydration).
2. Gently shake the bloom heads dry.
3. Recut the stems (preferably under water and at an angle).
4. Place in water.

These steps will ensure that the hydrangeas have been hydrated properly. Now you will need to keep them hydrated and how your store them is the key. Keep the hydrangeas in a high humid environment with very little air velocity. In other words, don’t put them near the cooler fan or door and keep the air around them moist (misting if necessary). Temperature is also a factor; 35 to 38 degrees is optimum. Don’t store near fruit, vegetables or other ethylene gas producers. It is best to create the bouquets the morning of the wedding. However, this isn’t always possible. When you create the hydrangea bouquets leave the stems long enough that the bouquets can be placed in water without getting the ribbon wet (if a hand tied bouquet). Leave the bouquets in water until an hour before the wedding. This process should keep the hydrangeas well hydrated for the wedding and alleviate any wilting issues.

Some designers use hydrangeas in floral foam when creating wedding flower arrangements or bouquets. Advanced preparation is still the key in this technique. You will want to cut the stems so that they look like an arrow rather than just a one sided angle cut. Some people recommend using a floral preservative or powdered alum when preparing the hydrangeas, other see no need.  You might want to experiment with a couple of stems before the wedding to see which works best for you.

Good luck and keep me posted.


  1. After many frustrating experiences with hydrageas, I finally found the key. Hydrageas used at room temperature are not shocked into needing water when using in a design. They hold up best when taken out of the cooler a couple of days before designing. I’ve also noted that every box has that one rebel stem that need extra attention and hydrating. I also take some of those giant thirsty leaves off at initial prep and the rest of the leaves off before designing. And, of course, delivering the wedding bouquet in a vase will provide insurance and a nice appreciated touch.

  2. I’ve learned to not take any chances and I actually put each hydrangea in a flower water pick and hide the bulk with extra cut rose or hydrangea stems. It can be bulky but I’ve learned how to manage it so no one even knows there are water picks in the midst of their bouquet.

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