Every time the short but sweet peony season comes around, I get excited to venture out to Trader Joe’s where these beauties are patiently waiting for me, to give them a chic little corner of my home for a week. I lovingly pick out the best blooms and immediately start my wishful thinking that these will last forever. Since I unfortunately do not have magic flower power (ugh!), I have to settle on some tried and true techniques to get every extra minute of life out of my peonies. I thought I would share my peony tips with you today, since so many of us are rushing out to grab our bunches this month!
HOW TO BUY – Depending on when you will need your blooms, be sure to buy accordingly. Though you might think you got lucky to find some big open peonies at your local store, these are actually already halfway through their life cycle. So, unless you need them that day for a photoshoot or a dinner party (ok a social distancing party in the back yard) stay away from buying peonies which have already opened. I go for fully closed bulbs that are as large as possible.
HOW TO PREP – When prepping your flowers, remove all the leaves which would be touching water but leave one or two at the top. This will help to absorb extra water and food for the flower to keep growing. Cut your stem at a sharp angle while holding it under water. This way air won’t get into the stem and block some of the water when in the vase. Try to have your stems stay right side up (not drooping) in the vase to allow for the most water absorption. Change water daily. *My research states every other day, but I have found that the water gets a bit murky even after 24 hours. Always use the provided flower food to mix into your water, but if you don’t have it, a teaspoon of sugar will also do the trick!
3. HOW TO BLOOM FASTER OR SLOW DOWN BLOOMING TIME – If you want your peonies to open up as quickly as possible, cut at least 2 inches off in warm water and place into at least 6 inches of warm water in your vase. (warm but not hot!) Avoid direct sunlight, but place the vase in a warm room for quickest blooming time. Alternatively, to keep your peonies from opening too quickly, place them in cold water with a few ice cubes, and store in a cool place. I usually use my garage or the fridge if we have extra free space. *Make sure you do not place your flowers next to fruit or vegetables inside the fridge because these emit ethylene gas which will speed up the aging of your blooms.
4. PRO TOP: BUY AN EXTRA BUNCH & DON’T PROCESS THEM – Fun fact! You can keep your unprocessed peonies fresh in your refrigerator for up to a week! I usually do this at the tail end of the season to give myself that last little bit of peony time. Place your peonies flat on top of a dry Ziplock bag and lay them (also flat) inside the refrigerator. Make sure that there is no moisture on the blooms or the bag. Keep the bag unzipped. This will trap and give off just enough moisture. When you are ready, just process your stems as outlined in the above steps and they will bloom as normal! You’re welcome, peony junkie!
- HOW TO STORE TO EXTREND LIFE – Just like with anything that’s worth it, you need to put in extra effort to keep your peonies lasting longer! Here’s is my peony routine: I change out the water every night before heading to bed, trimming the stems just a bit (under water with ice). I then place all the vases outside in the backyard, where they will be nice and chilly. If you don’t have outdoor access, find the coldest part of your home, like your tub or garage. Then say good morning to your fresh blooms!
I hope you have found these tips helpful! Enjoy your beautiful blooms!