Guide to Antique Hydrangeas

I know you don't want to talk about it, but it's happening.  Summer is ending. It's as unavoidable as the, uh... passage of time.  Late August has arrived, foreshadowing cooler weather, vacation finales, and back-to-school advertisements. As we slowly and reluctantly start replacing our swimsuits with sweaters, let's focus on the positives of early fall: autumn ales, caramel apples, roasted things, antique hydrangeas....yes, while you can't eat antique hydrangeas, they are definitely as American and Autumn-themed as apple pie; plus, their kaleidoscopic palette is a great reason to look forward to fall.  Here you’ll find your guide to Antique Hydrangeas—the journey they take to become antique and the resulting kaleidoscope of colors and textures that are produced. 

antique hydrangea photo

The Process of Antiquing

First, antique hydrangeas are not a separate species from fresh Hydrangea macrophylla; in fact, they come from the same shrubs.   The only requirements for transforming fresh hydrangeas into antiques are time, proper care, and suitable atmospheric conditions.  Also critical is having the proper variety, as not all hydrangea antique as well as others...luckily, we have this dialed in!

So, as the days get shorter, the nights get cooler, and the air becomes drier, our hydrangea blooms start their metamorphic journey to become antiques.

Sun Valley Antique Hydrangea

Antique hydrangeas require that very weather change which comes with the end of summer.  It is this cool transition which allows them to establish their marbled coloring. No two antiques are the same, each change and morph in their own unique way.

antique hydrangea images

Even as the temperature changes and the colors diversify, they aren't quite ready to be cut. We continue watering and feeding the shrubs, and by leaving the blooms on the plant, the passage of time and cool weather allows the flowers to harden, mature, and marble gracefully.  The shrub continues to provide nutrients to the flowers as they age. 

antique hydrangea for flower design
We have 2 gorgeous acres of these antiquing hydrangeas right now, and we will be continually offering Antique Hydrangeas for the entirety of the fall season, from now through November.

Blushing Autumn Tones and Textures

Antique Hydrangea Florets Sun Valley Floral Farm
The colors of antique hydrangeas are like a dusky fairy tale—bewitching, prismatic, and a little psychedelic.  Their colors develop naturally alongside autumn, its blossoms changing from their bright summer colors into mingled layers of  muted greens, smokey burgundies, variegated hazels, shimmering blues,  and soft lavenders.

While the changing colors gives us some indication of when to pick, we really know they're ready by their texture—the hydrangea florets feels slightly rigid and resist a little when touched.  When the blooms become crisp to the touch, we are good to go. A nice firm bloom head means the hydrangea is ready to harvest, and at this point, an antique hydrangea will last virtually forever—its flowers will never wilt, droop, or die.

And, of course it wouldn't be antique season if we didn't roll out the legendary specter of "Hydrangea Jack" Some know him as a sales representative, to others he is a myth, perhaps waiting in the next row of antiques.
Best Hydrangea Photo EVER

Blue Antique Hydrangeas
Antique Seascape

So, while the languid days of summer seem to be getting shorter, take heart! Technically, we still have a few more weeks of summer, and even with the seasonal change comes plenty of loveliness to look forward to. Enjoy yourself.

Lady Aster Sun Valley Floral Farm