How to Cut Hydrangeas So They Won’t Wilt


I know it has been a little quiet around here the past week, but I am trying to take some time off to relax and enjoy the summer.  I just got back from a mini vacation down at the southern Jersey shore.  It was hard leaving my favorite place and all the wonderful salt air behind, but when I got home I was excited to see the hydrangeas in my front yard had started to bloom…

…and guess what?  They are pink!!!  YAY!

If you are a hydrangea lover, then you probably remember the post I did in the Spring about How to Turn Hydrangeas Pink or Blue.  It was a test and I told you I would keep you updated to tell you if the product I used worked or not. Well it clearly did!

They are not quite the deep pink they used to be yet, but so much better than the sickly pale blue they were last year.

I was curious and called my local garden center this morning to talk with an expert to find out more about getting the color to be a deeper purple pink.  I was told to apply the garden lime all over the bed again in the Fall. Over the rest of the summer, I should also add some acid to the soil, like Miracle Grow MirAcid every few weeks. Between the lime and the MirAcid, over time the blooms should become purple again.

In the meantime,  I cut 3 blooms and brought them into the house so I could enjoy them.

I found this great tip about how to cut hydrangeas so that they will not wilt after cutting. It is super easy.

No-Wilt Hydrangeas

  • Best time to cut hydrangeas is early morning
  • DO NOT use clippers or a pair of scissors to cut the stems, instead use a very sharp knife with a smooth blade (not a serrated blade).
  • Do not cut stem straight across. When you cut the stems with scissors or straight across the stem gets pinched which does not allow water in.
  • Use the knife to cut a long diagonal cut down the length of the stem – about 2 -3 inches. This allows lots of water to enter and travel up the stem.
  • Plunge the stems into water as soon as you cut them.

If you cut the stems this way  – you will be rewarded with full lush blooms that will not wilt.

Free Vase Idea:  I didn’t have a vase big enough to hold the long stemmed blooms so I used a large pickle jar that you get when you buy in bulk at places like Costco.  Works perfectly. 

How are your flowers growing this year? All the bedding flowers I planted in the backyard in the Spring looked good for about a week and then the rabbits decided they were dinner.  No more blooms  :-(

Our outdoor cat, Mittens, died last Fall.  Since she lived outside, the rabbits stayed away.  One more reason I miss having her around.




  1. says

    So glad you shared this!!! I just planted a hydrangea bush in a container, and am a) hoping it lives, and b) waiting to cut some blooms for a vase. This is my first hydrangea and I’m not sure how to really take care of it!

  2. Kathy says

    Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower! Your’s are beautiful.

    I planted a Nikko Blue at the corner of my house about 10 yrs. ago. It bloomed beautifully the first few years, but has not done well recently, even though I fed it. This past winter killed it down to the ground, along with two new ones that I planted last Spring. I actually thought the Nikko Blue was a gonner, but I left it alone to see if it would sprout leaves, and it finally did. The other two didn’t survive :( Next year I plan to plant some Oak Leaf Hydrandeas across the front of my house and maybe next to my driveway. Unless I get a good deal on some more blue ones.

    Do you have any experience with the variety that is supposed to bloom more than once a year?

  3. Mary-Louise says

    Oh how I’d love to have these in my beds; our planting zone is 10 and I’ve read they like our area of Florida :(
    Therefore, I ardor reading all about yours! Thank you so much for sharing all your interesting blogs!

  4. says

    Such a pretty pink. Hydrangeas are the best. My soil has lime in it and my hydrangeas are a mix of green pink and white. I love them . Yours look so beautiful.

  5. Shirley says

    Beautiful! I am so jealous of those who have such beautiful flower gardens, we can’t have them beacause of the deer and bunnies that eat them.

  6. Christy Keyton says

    Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower! I have over twenty bushes in my yard and several varieties. I have had so many blooms this year that I have given all my friends “cutting rights” in my yard. Right now my lime lights are covered in blooms. I have two that are topiaries – trimmed to look like trees and they are massive. Our zone in South Alabama is hydrangea heaven!

  7. says


    Nice to find another way to prevent hydrangeas from wilting. I have always dipped the cut stems in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately into tap water in the vase but it’s not always convenient to use this method. Glad you had a nice vacation!


  8. Kathy Kearney says

    Just curious, I’ve been waiting for DAYS on the dill seed EO for sugar cravings. I’m so curious and interested, please explain.

  9. Kim says

    They look great! I was wondering if you could recommend anywhere in the Jersey shore area to vacation at. We are looking for somewhere to go but are not sure which beach to go to. Thank so much.

      • Kim says

        Thank you so much for the information. That must have been nice to be near a beach for 3 years. Thanks for all your service.

    • says

      Hi Kim –

      As Sassafras commented above – Cape May is very nice, but my favorite seaside town is Ocean City. I like the south end of the island. It is where I vactioned as a child and still go with my family. Avalon and Stone Harbor are very nice too. If you like to shop or walk on a boardwalk, – Ocean City has one. You can ride bikes on the boardwalk until 11:00 AM. Ocean City is a dry town. No alcohol is served in the restaurants. There are liquor stores to bring in your own and restaurants and bars right over the bridges. Avalon and Stone Harbor have a few bars and restaurants, but no boardwalk. They both have wide avenues for bike riding and plenty of shops. All the towns in Cape May County have great beaches. You do need beach tags which cost a few dollars a day or you can buy one for the week. If you don’t want to buy beach tags, and want lots of party like action, a big boardwalk, lots of restaurants and late night bars – Wildwood has all that. It is also a bit more crowded than any of the other towns I have listed here.

      • Kim says

        Thanks so much for the information. I was not really sure where to go for a beach trip. It sounds so nice and relaxing. Thanks again and for all the great ideas you share.

    • Lore says

      I have to vote for Ocean City although have never been to Cape May for a vacation. While working in DC years ago Ocean City provided much needed respite from a high-stress job. I have more than one wonderful memory of walking the boardwalk, breathing in the salty ocean air while eating a hot, rolled-up slice of pepperoni pizza. Now I’m landlocked in Kansas City and feeling very nostalgic. The Ozarks are beautiful, but definitely not the Ocean.

      • says

        Hi Lore – Since you said you were in DC – did you go to Ocean City, NJ? DC is close to Ocean City, MD. I have never been there. I would love to get to the Ozarks one day. They look beautiful.

        • Lore says

          Good question. I have never been to Ocean City, MD either. My treks were definitely to Ocean City, NJ, half an hour’s drive from Atlantic City. Great memories. Younger and single and clueless about life’s ordinary challenges ahead. Wouldn’t go back but a lot of fun to remember.

          • Lore says

            Oh, and yes, the Ozarks can be breathtaking in the fall, especially after a rainy summer like the one we’ve had so far. You don’t go anywhere fast, which can be a good thing for most of us these days. The roads are narrow and winding but speckled with fun little diners, sudden bridges over expanding water and cute little tucked away homes. It’s worth the visit.

  10. Vikki says

    Hey Diane,
    Wow your hydrangea looks beautiful. I love that shade of pink. I feel your pain when it comes to the critters eating the results of my labor. The squirrels really love the Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and I know there is a family of bunnies under my shed that are forever at the buffet that is my flower garden. I have missed you lately but happy you had a few days to rest and enjoy. Vikki in VA

    • says

      Hi Vikki – I have been traveling every weekend which makes it hard to get any projects done. I have a long line up of projects that I am doing, but am trying not to stress to get it all done. Come mid August – posing frequency will be back to normal.

  11. Sheryll & Critters. says

    I see your tests resulted in grand results. I knew it would. That is what we do down here in Jax, Fla. Although I have not had any since I bought this house. My neighbor either let hers die or had the lawn guy dig them up……. just about killed me. And she had a Plumbago that she had dug up…… grrrr! I love, love, love them both and want both so much. They both bloom almost year round down here. I am planning to run out one night in the dark and take cuttings of the Plumbago …….. grin.

  12. Sheryll & Critters. says

    I meant cuttings from a Plumbago another neighbor has close to the street & by her driveway entrance. lol

  13. Lore says

    Your hydrangeas are beautiful – they look so perfect! I planted my first last year and have been feeding them to turn deep blue (to go against what will hopefully soon be our newly painted grey and black home) but they are pinkish white. Obviously I’m not feeding them enough. I need to take a soil sample to our local Extension office to have the pH balance checked. I absolutely love hydrangeas. They never fail to turn my head if spotted when out driving, or to get me to click on a picture if I see them while browsing the Internet. I have much to learn about these magnificent flowers, and know that even more after reading your blog and these comments!

    My dill oil and reference book came last week. The dill seems to be working. Had to get used to smelling like pickles though. ;)

    • says

      Hi Lore – To turn your Hydrangeas blue to need to add acid to the soil. MirAcid from MiracleGrow will do this as will the Espoma Soil Acidifier. I will be posting about using the dill oil later today. You do get used to the smell and it does go away after about 20 minutes. :-)

      • Lore says

        Thank you Diane. I have been adding the Organic Espoma Soil Acidifier according to the directions on the bag. Maybe still not enough? Do I need to be concerned about neighboring plants, like azaleas?

        Yes, the dill smell does go away after a while. Good thing! Instead of wanting to reach for candy I wanted to grill burgers! ; )

  14. Karalane says

    Normally my hydrangea bush is a lovely rich purple color. I always thought the color was influenced by the nearby pine trees making the soil acidic. This year I’m so disappointed that, as of yet, I don’t have a single bloom on my hydrangea. Only one lone flower on my Crape Myrtle, and my butterfly bushes are tiny and barely blooming. The daylilies did not last long, either. Not sure if this harsh winter is the culprit, but I don’t know what else it could be.

    In recent years we have been going to Rehoboth and Ocean City, MD. But in my childhood years we always went to Sea Isle City, NJ and Ocean City NJ.

    • says

      Hi Karalane – My bushes do not seem to be flowering as much this year either, even the ones I have in my backyard that I never do anything to. Maybe it is going to be a late blooming summer. I have Butterfly bushes that my husband also trims every year. They have bloomed, but not as full and lush. I have been to Rehoboth, but not to Ocean City, MD. Maybe one of these days I will get there.

  15. says

    I read somewhere that Alum added to the water for cut hydrangas keeps them alive a long time. That plus what you’ve written might make them beautiful forever ;)

  16. says

    I love Hydrangeas! I’ve planted them in my yard for 3 years in a row and they NEVER grow. They’re fine as long as I keep them potted. The minute I plant them into the soil in the beds, they never bloom again…..just small stumpy plants come back each year.

    • says

      Hi Keisha – I have had the same problem and have been told many different things on why it happens. I summed it up that it has to do something with the variety. If you buy it as say a Mother’s Day gift in a pot – it probably won’t bloom again after the first year. If you buy a “brand” like Endless Summer. It is been cultivated to bloom and will keep blooming no matter where you plant it. It is frustrating.

  17. Olivia says

    I work in a flower shop and our tried and true method is just to put them in a tall vase full with the hottest water you can get out of your tap. Happy Clipping!

  18. Kay Hendricks says

    Bought my first PINK hydrangea nearly 4 weeks ago. I can see it is beginning to turn blue, but I did plant it where a pine tree was just removed. I will be going to the store today to get the garden lime to correct the color….thank you so very much for the suggestion. I do have one question though. Some areas of the hydrangea seem to be wilting. What could be the cause for this? Thank you for any suggestions you may be able to provide.

    • says

      Hi Kay – I know that Hydrangeas love water. You can never give them enough. They may just need some more water or the water they do get is not getting to the whole root system. If the plant is on a slight incline that could be a reason it is not getting water all around. I would make sure to drench all around the plant daily and see if it helps.


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