Peonies are among the most widely used cut flowers for a reason.They’re elegant, versatile, and, most of all, stunning. The flowers have a large, delicate, silky, and sensual appearance. They come in muted tones and a few brighter hues, making them great for parties, weddings, and home decor.
They are superior to roses in many ways but only bloom for a short period and, therefore, cannot be used as cut flowers. You can buy fresh peony flowers in late May and all of June. However, they will last much longer than a rose if placed in water. Peonies for cutting require a lot of time and effort, so be patient. Most cut flower plants take up to three years to mature enough to harvest blooms for arranging. It could be five years for some. Three years after planting, ‘Myrtle Gentry’ yielded about 12 stems in sandy soil, while ‘Coral Charm’ yielded only three. The flowers are large, so even a small bouquet can make a room feel more luxurious.
In this post, we’ll show you how to cut a peony into a beautiful flower that will look great in any space. We’ll also provide tips on cutting peonies last longer so you can make a statement without spending much money. Don’t miss out – hop on over and check it out!
Table of Contents
Tips on How To Make Cut Peonies on Vase Last Longer
Find a Marshmallow-Stage Bud
When you go outside to look at your peony flower, look at the blooms that look like soft marshmallows. At this stage, they will last the longest in a vase.
Make a 45° Cut
To make a 45° cut, stick with the stem for a few nodes down. This increases the exposed area, which aids water absorption and keeps the cut from touching the vase’s bottom.
Leave At Least Two Sets of Foliage
Be sure to leave at least two sets of leaves on the stem, ideally three. These leaves provide vital energy storage for the peony’s crown before they die back for the winter. They will have a hard time reemerging the following season without these leaves.
Take Care Not To Remove Too Many Buds All at Once
Only lop off a few blossoms at a time. The plant’s energy will be depleted, and it may go into shock as a result. Cut a moderate pace so the peony can continue to flower.
Put the Cut Stems in Your Warm Water Bucket
Place the trimmed stems directly into the bucket containing the hot water. The length of time the stems are allowed to remain dry negatively impacts their total lifespan.
Bring All Cutting Inside
Take all the cuttings inside once you’ve gathered enough. With your shears, snip off any leaves from the stems that will be submerged. If the stems are too long, cut them down to create a more dynamic arrangement.
Put the stems in a vase and store them somewhere cool and out of the sun.
Best Equipment For Cutting Peonies
Using pruning shears is the most important tool for snipping Peonies. Your cut flower’s longevity and overall plant health depend on its stem, so make sure it’s as sharp as possible before you use it.
Gathering shears, a bucket, and a clear vase or mason jar are also recommended. To ensure the stems remain hydrated until the very end of their display life, fill your bucket with lukewarm water. To prevent the stems from breaking and the large flowers from toppling over, the vase you choose should be fairly tall.
Before beginning, disinfect your shears, bucket, and vase with a 5% bleach solution. Potentially harmful bacteria can live on shears and be transferred to your cut flowers and the main plant.
By reducing the number of bacteria in the bucket and vase, you can keep your cut flowers fresh for longer. A pair of gardening gloves is optional if you’re concerned about dirt getting on your hands, but they’re a good idea.
Harvest Time for Peony Cut Flower
According to the Peony variety you’ve chosen to plant, you may have a different cutting season.
In the home garden, herbaceous Peonies are the norm. These varieties, which include the well-liked Paeonia lactiflora and Paeonia officinalis, bloom for about a week and a half in May and June. Most peonies bloom in late May or early June, but tree peonies bloom in April and May.
Specific timing considerations are species- and cultivar-specific. Herbaceous peonies come in various blooming times and seasons, with some blooming as early as spring as ‘Early Scout’ or ‘Claire de Lune’ and others blooming as late as spring as ‘Karl Rosenfield’ or ‘Dinner Plate.
Bloom time in peonies can be affected by environmental and cultural factors. You should consult our handy blooming season guide to understand better when your peony will be in flower. Follow our fertilization guidelines to ensure your peonies bloom and thrive every year.
When Should You Cut Peonies for a Flower Arrangement?
Peonies that have had time to become established in the soil and produce a high volume of blooms each season are perfect for floral arrangements.
Flowers from a first-year plant can be cut, but it’s best to let as many blooms stay on as possible so the peony can put its energy into setting itself up.
You can cut back on a few if you can’t wait, but it’s best to wait at least a year, preferably three, before doing so regularly.
Identifying the Optimal Time to Make a Cut
From the moment you see the first signs of growth, you must keep a close eye on the buds to ascertain the ideal time for harvest. They are most tender, ready to be snipped when still closed, and have a marshmallow-like consistency.
Avoid making your incisions while the buds are still closed; doing so could prevent them from opening. Once the flowers show signs of opening, you can cut them; however, if you wait too long, their vase life will be significantly reduced.
Ideally, you would water in the morning and then cut. This precaution will ensure that dry flowers do not ruin your peony bouquet or vase. Alternatively, if the evenings are cool, you can do your cutting.
They will last longer if you cut your flowers at the right time. If you cut a bloom while the petals are still closed, it might not open up in a vase. If you cut one already pretty open, it will only last a few days in a vase. So if you want it to last the longest in a vase, you should cut it when it looks like marshmallows.
When squeezed, it should have a smooth texture and not be overly firm. Additionally, keep an eye out for buds that have only started to open.
If the peony bud is solid and resistant to being pinched, there is a good chance that it will not open after it has been harvested. The marble stage refers to the later stages of development when the buds are smaller and firmer. They have the same firmness and spherical shape as marbles, and their texture is identical.
Peony buds that have reached the marshmallow stage are ready to be picked and harvested. This is an earlier stage than a peony that has reached the fully open stage or a soft bud already in the open stage.
The marshmallow stage is characterized by the bud becoming more pliable and swollen and the beginning of the production of color. When you pinch the bud, it has the same marshmallow-like consistency as one would expect. At this point, the sepals have begun to separate from the bud and are looser than they were previously.
At this stage, the flowers should be harvested so they have the longest possible vase life and can be stored.
It is still possible to pick the buds even if they have moved past the marshmallow stage and are just starting to bloom, as long as they are slightly more open than that stage. They can still be harvested at this stage, and they will still have a vase life that is longer than that of a fully opened flower.
The fully opened flowers that have already bloomed are too far along in their development to be cut. Because these flowers won’t keep for very long when placed in a vase, it’s best to leave them where they are on the plant so you can enjoy them in the garden.
How Long Do Fresh-Cut Peonies Last?
The best practices for cutting flowers, such as trimming and water changes, go a long way in extending the life of your flowers. However, a few “hacks” or tricks may extend the vase’s life by one or two days.
Keeping your peonies cool is the best way to prolong their life, as we have learned from florists’ experiences. Leave them in the refrigerator overnight to increase their lifespan if you have the room. Alternatively, if it’s still cool outside, you can move the vase outside in the evenings to take advantage of the chilly evening temperatures.
Additionally, you can extend the life of peony blooms by periodically adding specific household items or flower food to the water:
- Sugar and Apple Cider Vinegar: Sugar and apple cider vinegar nourishes the flowers while limiting bacterial growth.
- Drinking Soda: A half-cup of clear soda adds enough sugar to the water to nourish the flowers. However, it does promote bacterial development, necessitating more frequent water changes and vase cleanings.
- Vodka: A few drops of added water limit ethylene gas production, slowing the flower’s opening and the aging process.
- Bleach: A very small amount of bleach added to the water will stop bacteria from growing. Never use more than a few drops to prevent changing the pH of the water, and never combine with other substances, as this could result in the production of hazardous chemicals.
Peony Flower Preserving Tips
Flowers from a Peony bush can be cut and stored for later use. You can store them in the fridge and use them later.
Remove the leaves and wrap the bare stems and buds in newspaper or plastic when you bring the stems inside. Lay them flat in the fridge after storing them in a container or plastic bag with a tight seal.
They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month and used whenever you need them. After rehydration, they can be expected to open and bloom in a vase for about a week.
Flowers can be dried and stored for months this way. Remove the lower leaves when the blossoms are fully open, and secure the stems with a rubber band or string. Keep the color by storing them upside down in a dry place from direct sunlight.
Within two weeks, the blossoms should be dry enough to arrange in a
How to Grow Peonies to Use as Cut Flowers
You can put it anywhere in the garden, whether in direct sunlight or partial shade, but a protected spot out of the wind is ideal.
Condition of the Soil
Any soil will do, as long as drainage is good. If your soil is lighter and sandy, you should amend it by adding organic matter to the bottom of the planting hole and increasing the frequency of your feedings.
Optimal Time to Plant
Planting peonies can be done in the UK in spring or fall because of the moderate climate.
Planting Depth and Spacing
Don’t bury them too completely. No more than 2.5-5cm should separate the eyes from the water’s surface.
The peony you order from us will arrive in a pot at the appropriate depth for planting, saving you the trouble of adjusting the plant once you get it home. Peonies require much room to breathe, so give each plant at least 60 centimeters to grow. Also, this facilitates the selection process.
How Long Until Harvest Season
If your peony plants are younger than three years old, you probably will notice few flowers on them, if any at all. Peony-cutting gardens take some time to get off the ground because the plants mature relatively slowly and require some time to become well-established before the flowers can be harvested.
The absence of flowers on a plant is not necessarily a bad sign because it indicates that all of its resources, including its energy and nutrients, are being directed toward forming a solid base. You want a robust plant that will continue living for decades so that you can continue enjoying the wonderful benefits for as long as possible.
Beginning at the age of four years and as we advance, you will notice a significant difference in the number of flowers produced. At Primrose Hall, we take care of all our plants and wait until they are at least five years old before we allow them to bloom, ensuring they are mature Paeonia plants. It is, therefore, much more likely that you will see it flowering from the very first season that it is grown in your garden. Little patience is required.
Peony Best Varieties for Cut Flower
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Boule de Neige’
Beautiful double white flowers with crimson dots on the petal edges and a strong scent grow on dark green foliage.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Vogue’
Great herbaceous perennial with glossy dark green leaves and enormous white double flowers trimmed in crimson and featuring silvery reflexes on the inner petals. The results are stunning.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Madame Calot’
Large, double, pale pink and cream flowers top this herbaceous perennial. Highly fragrant and floral.
Paeonia lactiflora’ Honey Gold’
Flourishing atop sturdy stems are fragrant semi-double flowers of a creamy white hue with a pale yellow center.
Paeonia ‘Claire de Lune’
The peony Claire de Lune stands out due to its unusual lemon-colored flowers and gorgeous scent, and it also happens to be a great cut flower. The Claire de Lune plant is easily identified by its broad, mid-green leaves and stunning, single, cup-shaped flowers in bright lemon. Peony is a dependable, impressive, and prolific bloomer.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Doreen’
Huge, single, pink outer petals and yellow stamen flowers decorate this herbaceous perennial—big, fragrant flowers.
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Victoire de la Marne’
Double flowers of medium size, ranging from deep purple to red, with lighter edges. A beautiful flower with a unique hue.