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How to dry hydrangeas with silica gel crystals

Whenever you decide to preserve beautiful hydrangeas by drying them, you want to make sure they retain as much of their color as possible. Air drying is less labor intensive than drying with silica gel crystals, but you are more likely to get better color retention if you dry them with silica gel.

Things you'll need:

  • Hydrangea flowers
  • Air tight container
  • Silica gel crystals
  • Small ladle or paper cup for pouring crystals

Cut the hydrangea flower you want to dry. If you want to dry a long stem you should cut the stem to the length you desire. Now cut the flower itself, leaving a short (about 2") stem. (You will reattach the stem with florist tape after the flower is dried.)

Choose an airtight container large enough to hold the flower without touching the sides, top or bottom of the container.

Pour about 2 inches of silica gel crystals into the bottom of the container. Place the flower, stem side down, into the container making sure it's not touching any of the sides.


Gently ladle or pour the crystals around and over the flower until it is covered completely. Lift and tap the container gently to make the crystals settle.


Replace the airtight cover and let it sit for 4 days. Open after 4 days and check the flower.


 Drying time is important. If you leave the flower in the crystals too long, the flower is apt to become too dry and brittle, causing it to split apart.

Gently pour the crystals out into another container until you can lift the flower out. Turn the flower upside down and shake it gently to remove any crystals that may remain.

Reattach the flower to the stem using florist's tape.

Note: silica gel crystals are reusable.

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Copyright 2011 Joan Harrison