Best Practices Keeping Peonies Fresher for Longer
On my flower farmer in the foothills of California, I grow hundreds of peonies, ranunculus and snapdragons that countless people have called “bodacious.” When you have blooms that look that good, you want to make sure they have a long vase life.
My knowledge about how to manage peonies for maximum vase life was strongly influenced by the Annual Peony Growers Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska where I learned about research on peonies. I’ve since put this research into practice at my Bodacious Blooms flower farm. I want share these three tips with you because they can help ensure that your beautiful peony bouquets will stay fresher longer.
Hold off on the water
The first tip may come as a surprise and seem counter-intuitive for most gardeners and flower lovers, but research shows that the life of fresh cut peonies is maximized when they are NOT put immediately into water. It may sound strange, but it’s true!
Instead, you should cut your peonies and lay them flat in a cool place. Immediate submersion into water causes the blooms to open rapidly. Laying the peonies in a cool place slows their metabolism, which will extend their vase life. I don’t use this method with any of the other flowers I grow; but I assure you, it is the best approach with peonies.
Cold storage is best for extending the vase life of your peonies
Another related research project showed that the vase life of peonies increases dramatically when the flowers are put in cold storage versus when they are not cold stored. All of my peonies enjoy time in my walk-in floral refrigerator that is set at 33 degrees. This process helps slow peony metabolism and extend vase life for you, my customers.
Need to buy peonies now, but your special event is a few weeks away? No problem!
Simply do what I do with my peonies at Bodacious Blooms. Cut your peonies in the bud stage and dry store them (e.g. out of water) in a spare refrigerator. I suggest wrapping your peony buds in newspaper, write the date you refrigerated them and then lay them on a shelf.
Pro tip: Don’t put your peonies in a fridge that is also being used to store fruits and veggies! Fruits and vegetables emit ethylene, which will cause your peonies to spoil prematurely.
The day before your party take your peonies out, cut 1” to 2” off the stems and put them into water. You’ll find your peonies will open rapidly and beautifully!
Keep your water fresh
The last tip is simple, but it’s super important: keep your flowers hydrated with a good supply of fresh water. I change out my water every other day to keep bacteria from building. Also, cleaning your vases with a touch of bleach will help banish bacteria. If you have a packet of flower food from a florist or store, add that to the water. If not, adding ½ part soda (such as sprite, 7-up or club soda) and ½ part water is the second best option for extending the vase life of your flowers.
These simple tips will help you maximize the life of your beautiful peonies.