Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 29

expert panel picture-9

                                                                                                                                                                                  image via Giverny Design

The Question:

How do you condition hydrangeas? Do you treat all colors of hydrangeas the same? Some seem to be a bit more fragile than others.


The Answers:

I've always had pretty good luck with white hydrangeas, and I have noticed that colored ones are trickier!  I simply give them a fresh cut, then cut up into the stem once, as far up as my clippers will go. Then I just let them hydrate in fresh water [no quick-dip or anything added]. 

I have used them in hand-tied bouquets, but always make sure to deliver in water and warn the bride ahead of time that they WILL wilt, so if she wants hydrangeas, she needs to keep them hydrated, and of course just make sure to have the photographer take photos while they’re still fresh!

It really doesn't get hotter than the low 90's here in the summer.  But even so, most summer weddings have an indoor reception area because we have lots of rain the ENTIRE rest of the year, so we need lots of indoor venues. Again, I think I have been lucky for the most part with hydrangeas and floral foam, but I will always design in water if possible [low centerpieces, design the aisle pieces in jars or other vessel w/water, etc.]  As long as you keep them hydrated, they're happy from my experience.

-Liz Rusnac (Fleurology)


When the hydrangeas first arrive at my studio I begin with processing each stem.
I clean off all unnecessary foliage. I then submerge all hydrangea heads into
lukewarm water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. I then give them a fresh
clip on the stems and place them into buckets filled with fresh water. I let
them dry completely before placing them in the cooler. When it is time to
design with hydrangeas I do finish each piece with a healthy spritzing of
Crowning Glory.

-Alicia Schwede (Bella Fiori & Flirty Fleurs)


I always treat hydrangeas the same way, regardless of colour. I remove all the leaves, give them a long cut (about 10 cm) and warm water. Then I change the water every 2nd day. This way works good for me and I've never had any problems with hydrangeas.

-Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar)


No special treatment. A clean sharp cut of the stem then straight into water. We tend to wait a little later in the year than some florists before we start using Dutch grown ones. We are confident to use them from around June time when the stems tend to be all new growth rather than half the woody part from the previous year. We condition hydrangea exactly the same whether we are going to place them in water or foam. The only difference being that we would put hydrangea into a vase arrangement as early as the day before the wedding but would wait until the morning of the wedding before putting them into foam. If the head does collapse then we have found using a product such as Quick Dip works most of the time. However we do use a lot of the ivory coloured Columbian hydrangea as the quality and price is excellent the whole year round.

Some photos of hydrangea designs are attached below. The domed arrangement with the purple/blue hydrangea is in a foam ball. For the archway arrangement the hydrangea have no water supply. We find with the varieties with the word “Classic” in their name available in the Autumn/Fall that these last extremely well out of water. They also tend to be the varieties that dry best.

-Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

Hydrangea 3 mood flowers

Hydrangea Full Arch

Hydrangea 1


I find some colored Hydrangeas can be more fragile than others, deep purples and hot pinks in particular. I always request the hardiest varieties, which often cost more but they are more reliable and often have a larger head. Upon arrival I give them a fresh cut, put them in fresh water, mist generously with water and put them directly in the cooler until they are used. For any wilted heads I recut the stem and wet a cheese cloth (or paper towels) and drape over the entire head of the hydrangea and continue to mist throughout the day, this usually perks them up. I also continue to mist them with water up to the moment before we leave for the event.

-Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)


Hope you won’t mind me jumping into the discussion today…hydrangeas are near and dear to my heart…

As soon as a shipment arrives, I remove the hydrangeas, make a fresh slanted cut on the stem, dip the stem in Quick Dip, remove the lower leaves and place the stem in a bucket of water containing Floralife Crystal Clear. I allow the stems to sit at room temperature and take up water for several hours. Several times during this waiting period, I spritz the heads with plain water. After several hours of hydrating, I place the buckets in the cooler. I make sure the heads are dry before placing them in the cooler. I never design with hydrangeas until they have had plenty of time to hydrate. Ideally, the hydrangeas arrive with petals that are firm and crisp to the touch. Occasionally, a shipment will arrive with hydrangea heads that are soft and slightly wilted. In that case, I float the entire flower in a cool bath for 20 minutes before moving on to the process I described above. After placing the hydrangeas in a design, I spray with Crowning Glory and allow the design to dry completely before placing it back in the cooler until time for delivery. I also spritz with Crowning Glory moments before delivery. 

Even though I treat all hydrangeas the same, varieties that contain green petals seem to be the hardiest…green/burgundy (antique)combo, blue/green combo, plain green, green/pink combo. Often these varieties will dry right in the design over time. Fuchsia, purple, blue and white tend to be a little more challenging in the intense Texas heat. I rarely design with hydrangeas in foam.  I much prefer to use them in hand-tied bouquets and vase arrangements because of our climate.

-Amy McGee (Botanical Brouhaha)


Thanks Elisabeth, Nick, Emelie, Alicia & Liz!


Hydrangea designs seem an appropriate way to close out the day…

hydrangeas Events_Landing_9 philippa craddock

Philippa Craddock Flowers 

hydrangeas planet flowers564421_10153167249405510_376974110_n

Planet Flowers 

hydrangeas IMG_3935 Hart Company UK and rebecca honeywell

Hart Company and Rebecca Honeywell Photography 

hydrangeas Women in film_studio floral art

Floral Art 

IMG_1690-e1334167432373 angelas flora bella

Angela’s Bella Flora

img_8520 adrienne gunde photo

Adrienne Gunde Photography 

Lake_Louise_Wedding_P35 backhash flower.artistry and orange girl photo

Flower Artistry and Orange Girl Photography 

runner 426744_10151453889366203_196887703_n events in bloom houston and J Cogliandro Photography

Events in Bloom and J Cogliandro Photography

Have a great Wednesday!



Lesa Atteo said...

Thank you, Amy, for this post. You are very kind. Also, thank you to all, designers, including, Amy, of course, for passing along all your generous knowledge. Bring on the hydrangeas, as a matter of fact, today!

Janice Bear said...

Remember the time we had to build an arbor for a wedding at Messina Hof? You were so worried about the hydrangeas because we had to build so early in the day. Then SOMEBODY, who shall remain nameless but has the first initial K, used quick dip in place of the plant food. It took almost a week before you figured out why those danged blooms looked as though they were wilting before our very eyes.

That was also when we ate all those chemically treated grapes during set up.

Ah, memories.

Mimi said...

it's so interesting to hear the various ways people condition hydrangeas. I do what my wholesaler once told me which works very well. First buy them when they're in good condition. firm never soft and wilty. I give an angled cut then one up the stem. I place them in pretty warm water and place them directly into the cooler. If the arrangement calls for the leaves I will remove some, but leave the fullest ones.