To dry hydrangeas, pick them when they just barely start to lose some of their color, but still haven't dried on the bush. Before you cut them from the bush, give them a good spray from the garden hose to dislodge and bugs and debris. After you cut them, hold them upside down by the stems and shake off the excess water before you take them indoors. Then simply cut them to the desired length and put them directly into a vase without any water. After the blossoms are completely dry from being sprayed by the garden hose, a light misting of hairspray will help prevent them from dropping their petals as they dry. As they dry, it is normal for them to fade to a light tan and then eventually to a lovely brown color.
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Doris to help get rid of bugs in produce from the garden my Mom always washed her stuff in salt water, the bugs hated it and died. Maybe that would work for your flowers, just a thought.
As far as drying hydrangeas goes, probably the best way to dry them is to bunch a few stems together, secure with a rubber band and turn upside down to dry in a dark, dry area, an attic is great. They will lose a little color, but will dry in good shape if not put in too large of bunches. The bugs die or leave.
I heard something on the radio about this. Take shot glasses and fill them with water. Put one stem in each. If you don't have any shot glasses, take a vase and put a shot glass full of water (about 2 ounces) for each stem. This allows them to dry slowly and not lose their color.
To kill the bugs: cut a flower from the plant. Get a large jar, like mayo jar, and put 1/2" of alcohol in the bottom. Hang the flower in the jar but don't let it touch the alcohol. The fumes from the alcohol will kill the bugs and they will fall out. Should take no more than 1 hr. for each flower.
This is how bug collectors catch bugs too. They get a net shaped into a funnel with a jar at the bottom. The jar contains about 1/2" alcohol. When the bugs hit the net they roll into the jar and die.
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