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Peony Season | How to Care For Peonies

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How to Process & Care For Your Peonies

This has been the most celebratory peony season in my floral career. If I’m honest, I don’t work with peonies a ton. In the past, they’ve been that temperamental wedding flower that I would try to avoid.

But this year has been different! I’ve bought peonies weekly since May for deliveries, events, and even for myself. They really are so stunning and I think I’ve cracked how I like to design with them and how I like to process them.

Caring For Your Peonies

For you floral enthusiasts, but non-professionals, the best way to care for your peonies is to put them in warm water to encourage opening faster. You’ll want to avoid warm water if they are already open, as this will shorten the vase life.

When purchasing peonies from your local florist or market, select the ones that are still in bud form. I know this seems crazy, but this means you’ll have more time with them and that they won’t wilt as fast.

Be sure to change the water every two days so that it stays fresh and free from foliage and bacteria.

Lastly, keep your peonies away from harsh or direct sunlight. They can be a bit fragile as cut flowers, making heat and direct sunlight not ideal.

How To Process Your Peonies

For you professional florists, I’ve found that processing peonies is all about a specific series of events. Here’s what I do when I am using peonies for a project or event:

I always buy my peonies in bud form and I avoid buying peonies the day I need to use them. Things happen though, and if I do need to buy them for day of delivery, I still prefer bud form. Peonies can open very quickly and I want clients to enjoy them as long as possible.

This next step is all about timing. I keep my peonies out of water (but in the cooler) for as long as possible so that I can strategize when they open. For instance, If I have a wedding on Saturday and I have picked up peonies on Wednesday, I will leave them dry packed in the cooler until Thursday late afternoon. Then, I will process them and place them in water so that they are open for the next day.

This second step is important because if you allow peonies to open too quickly before an event, they don’t look their best on the day of the event.

Lastly, if needed, I remove the guard petals to encourage opening! This usually works wonders and it’s amazing to see how peonies can pop after this simple step.

Shop Peonies

I rounded up a few of my favorite peonies! Peonies are stunning garden flowers and you can even grow them in pots. Let me know your favorites and be sure to plant them in the fall, six weeks before your zone’s frost.

Shirley Temple
Karl Rosenfield
Bartzilla Itoh
Julia Rose
Sarah Bernhardt
Butter Bowl Peony

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After almost 12  years working with flowers, I can honestly say, I'm still not over them. This career has been the happiest accident of my life and I can't imagine  a life without flowers. What started out as hobby became my dream career. It has taken me all over the world, introduced me to new people and to new cultures, challenged me, and has given me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall to the most beautiful celebrations of love. It has been a joy.   

This space is meant to share my work, but also a bit of my life. I've learned over the years that flowers make  their way into so much of what I do, in work and life,  so I'll be sharing that here! For a bit of floral inspiration or where we've traveled (what garden should we head to next?), head over to the blog. To work together (the sky's the limit), click below.  Thanks for being here. 

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