How to Revive Wilted Hydrangea

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Wilted hydrangea? Let me share the most popular tips and tricks to revive your wilted hydrangea. Learn how to revive wilted hydrangea blooms and easily make them look like new again so you can enjoy them a few extra days!

Hydrangea is one of my favorite flower. They are symbolic of boastfulness because they produce many gorgeous flowers in a variety of species and colors! They look amazing as cut stems in a vase or incorporated into a floral arrangement. Not long after we moved into our new home in Tennessee, I began to plant Hydrangeas and plan to add more to our landscaping. Whether you have cut hydrangeas from your yard or purchased luscious blooms at the store, you are not alone if you’ve ever noticed your hydrangeas drooping.

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white hydrangeas in basket on black buffet cabinet

After you cut your flowers you might be saying, “my hydrangea is wilting and looks like it is dying.” Take heart; you haven’t done anything wrong and can likely remedy the situation. Instead of tossing them, you might be able to extend their lives a few more days. Most blooms will perk up a few more days so you can enjoy them a little longer with these tips and tricks!

basket of white hydrangeas sitting on kitchen counter next to sink

Why Are My Cut Hydrangea Wilting?

Hydrangeas LOVE water but once the stems are cut, the blooms have a hard time getting all the moisture they need. Hydrangeas have a thick, woody stem that produces a clear sap that forms over the bottom of the cut stem blocking the water in the vase. This thick, sappy stem can make it difficult for the water to travel up the stem so they can get enough water to drink in order to reach the entire flower.

The name hydrangea comes from the Greek work “hydro,” meaning water, and “angos,” meaning jar or vessel and roughly translates to meaning “water barrel.” This is a reference to the hydrangea’s love and need for plenty of water. With that in mind, it gives us some insight into how to care for these lovely flowers and their large need for lot of water.

The morning after I purchase these hydrangeas, they were in sorry shape. I knew they still had plenty of life left in them so I gave these tips and tricks a try and they worked!

wilted hydrangea in vase on kitchen countertop

Can You Revive Wilted Hydrangea?

Yes…yes you can! Hydrangeas are usually the first flowers to begin to look sad in a vase or in an arrangement. However, hydrangeas are one of the few plants that can take in moisture through their flowers making is possible to perk up those wilting blooms by submerging them in water. This allows them the ability to rehydrate and bounce back into their gorgeous, floral shape.

Can You Always Revive Wilted Hydrangea?

For the most part, you can revive wilted hydrangea, but that’s not always the case. Nothing in life is ever definite, even reviving wilting hydrangeas. I have revived hydrangeas several times, using the methods below, but there have been times it doesn’t always work. In writing this post, and sharing this video, I began with three wilted hydrangeas and in the end only two revived.

These tips and tricks might not work every time, but if we can extend the life of some these beauties and it’s worth a try!

white hydrangea in basket on black buffet cabinet

How to Revive Wilted Hydrangea by Submerging

This is method one and I did try it and it worked. It really is easy to do but continue reading for other methods of reviving wilted hydrangeas.

  1. Cut your stem at a deep angle so the stem can soak up more water.
  2. Fill a sink or large bowl with water. Some say that warmer water is better; I have used both cool and warm and the outcome has been the same.
  3. Place the entire hydrangea into the sink or bowl of water completely submerging them. Leave your drooping hydrangea in the water for at least 15 minutes to overnight. I have never left them overnight, just up to 30minutes as I am inpatient.
  4. Remove them from the water, pat them dry and place in a vase of water.
  5. Remove all the leaves. I leave this step for last because I don’t always feel it’s necessary. Some say to remove the leaves before soaking but I have left the leaves on and they have always revived. However, leaves of the hydrangea actually steals the water from the bloom itself so you will have to decide.
Wilted hydrangea in sink of water

How Does This Work?

Hydrangeas are among the few plants that can draw moisture in through their florets, so it’s possible to perk up wilted blooms by completely submerging them in water. Hydrangea drooping can be solved with just a sink full of water in most cases.

The three wilted hydrangeas you see pictured are the exact hydrangeas I soaked; the other pictures of the full hydrangeas you see are the two of the three stems that were resurrected. Again, I lost one of the three, but that’s better than tossing them all without trying to revive them!

Wilted hydrangeas in sink of water

Revive Wilted Hydrangea with Boiling Water

Boiling water! Yes..who know? Hydrangeas produce a sap that clogs their stems and blocks water from traveling up it to the blooms and the boiling water helps do away with the sap. I did also try this method and think I liked it better because it was easier than submerging them.

Put boiling water into a cup. Dip each stem into the boiling water for 30 seconds and immediately put them into a vase or container filled with room temperature water.

  • Cut them at a slant
  • Then cut straight up the stem about a quarter of an inch
  • Place stems in boiling hot water for 30 seconds
  • Place stems in a vase with room temperature water and they will last for up to two weeks

Revive Wilted Hydrangea with Alum Powder

I am by no means a gardener or a floral expert, but after being in the wedding business, I learned a few things from florists about flowers. Also, as a wedding planner, you had to know how to fix unwelcome situations and wilting hydrangeas has happened to me more than once.

bottle of alum powder
  • Cut them at a slant
  • Cut up the stem like an X
  • Dip the stems in the Alum
  • Place stems in a vase with room temperature water
hydrangeas submerged in sink of water

Will These Tricks Work on Other Flowers?

Unfortunately, soaking other cut flowers in water will not work. Flowers such rosespeonies, or tulips don’t have the ability to draw in moisture through the blooms like hydrangeas and soaking them will only make them rot and wilt faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does boiling water revive hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas produce a sap that clogs their stems. By dipping them in boiling hot water it helps do away with the sap so the water can travel up the stems.

How do you revive hydrangeas with alum?

Cut hydrangeas tend to secret a sticky sap that can clog up the stem and prevent water uptake.  Alum seems to help dissolve that secretion.


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What Do You Think?

Have you tried the submerging, hot water or smashing of the stem method to revive hydrangeas? Or do you have other methods for reviving hydrangeas? Maybe this is the first time you have heard of a way to bring back dropping hydrangea and just toss them.

Hope these tips and tricks will help you bring more life to your hydrangeas longer. Or, perhaps you have some other tips you can share of how to prolong these lovely blooms. Please share.

white hydrangea in basket on black buffet cabinet

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Yield: 1 bunch

How to Revive Wilted Hydrangeas

Wilted hydrangea in sink of water

Wilted hydrangea? Let me share the most popular tips and tricks to revive your wilted hydrangea. Learn how to revive wilted hydrangea blooms and easily make them look like new again so you can enjoy them a few extra days!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • Wilted hydrangeas
  • Water
  • Alum Powder (optional)


  • Sheers
  • Vase


  1. Re-cut the stems at an angel
  2. Remove the leaves
  3. Fill your sink with room temperature water
  4. Submerge the heads of the hydrangeas right under the water. Leave for at least 15 minutes or submerged overnight
  5. Another method - cut stems, place in boiling hot water and watch hydrangeas come back to life.

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