Tips on Processing Hydrangeas

Written by Gay Smith

Straight from the box, hydrangea blooms sometimes appear squashed, as if an elephant sat on them throughout the journey…but with correct handling, blooms revive and plump up fast.

Clean conditions, Sharp Tools, Correct solutions:

  • Always start with clean buckets and clean, sharp tools
  • Start with Chrysal Professional #1 (hydration) and let flowers drink overnight
  • Transfer info Chrysal Professional #2 display solution once blooms are fully hardened-off
  • Measure to get the dosage right
  • Prepare solutions using cold water
  • Remove any cotton swabbing on ends of stems and cut off at least an inch
  • Get stems in solution immediately after cut
  • Let blooms sit outside cooler for 30 minutes so condensation evaporates from florets
  • Store hydrangeas at 34-38F
  • Let flowers fully hydrate (overnight) before using in design so blooms are fully hardened-off

What’s in a name?

  • This flower’s name is a dead give away to how much solution they drink (Greek words “hydro” (water) and “aggos” (a jar)
  • It’s not uncommon for hydrangeas to drink a bucket dry overnight (or over a weekend) so be vigilant about topping-up and always use fresh solution, not tap water.


  • Hydrangeas are moderately sensitive to ethylene
  • Keep cuts and flowering pots away from external sources of ethylene as cigarette smoke, auto exhaust and space heaters
  • Never store flowers and fruits in same cooler

Mechanical Damage, ethylene and disease potential:

  • Handle cuts and pots with care because bruising, bumping and petal damage (all referred to as mechanical damage) triggers the internal production of ethylene in any flower
  • Mechanical damage also predisposes flowers to Botrytis invasion


  • Keep flower heads dry
  • Botrytis spores need water to start germinating so condensation, drips, spills or splashes predisposes flowers to Botrytis infection