Cutting Peony Stems for Flower Arrangements

The peony is the undisputed queen of all flowers (don't look at me that way, dahlia lovers, I said what I said!). Those big, fluffy blooms and glorious fragrance make peonies an unbeatable choice for cut flower arrangements. Here's a few tips on how to extend the vase life of your peonies.

peonies vase

Cut Your Peonies When They Are Marshmallows: If you're snipping stems from your own garden, you'll want to cut peonies when they are in the 'marshmallow' stage. This is when the buds have moved beyond the tight ball stage but haven't opened yet, so when you squeeze a bud with your fingers it is squishy like a marshmallow. This ensures your cut bloom will have the longest possible vase life.

Be Selective When Cutting: Removing too much foliage from your peonies can harm your plant. Don't remove more than about a 1/3 of the blooms from your peony plant to ensure that it stays healthy.

Shake Off the Ants: Ants are beneficial insects to peonies, so leave them outside in the garden to keep them – and you – happy. Turn your cut stems upside down and shake them overtop your peony plant so the ants can drop off onto other stems where they can continue to enjoy eating peony nectar.

Use Flower Food and Preservative: Using hydrating preservatives and flower food really does extend the life of your cut flowers. We highly recommend Floralife Smither Oasis Quick Dip 100 Instant Hydrating Treatment to dip your stems into for super-hydration, Crowning Glory Flower Spray to preserve blossoms once they opened, and Floralife Crystal Clear Flower Food to add to your water.

Cut Now, Use Later: You can dry-store your cut peony stems to use at a later time. Take a small bundle of stems cut at the marshmallow stage and wrap in newspaper. Then put the newspaper-wrapped bundle into a large freezer bag, tuck some paper towel in there to absorb excess moisture, and lay flat on a shelf in your refrigerator. Just be mindful that you don't have any rotting vegetables or fruits in the same fridge, or your peony stems could spoil. You'll also need to remove any stems that have spoiled to keep them from contaminating the rest. When you're ready to use your peony stems take them out of the bag, recut, use the above mentioned hydrating treatment and place in warm water. Your stems might look at little sad when you first take them out of the fridge but never fear! They will perk up when you revive them with cutting, treatment and water. Vase life is usually about 7 days.