Tips for How to Keep Your Peonies Blooming Longer

Peonies are one of the most beautiful flowers you can grow in your garden. Their large, showy blooms are a sight to behold, and they come in a wide range of colors, from pure white to deep red. However, the peony season from first bloom to the end of flowering is short. 

In this post, I’ll share some tips for how to keep your peonies blooming longer. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, these tips will help you get the most out of your peonies and enjoy their beauty for as long as possible.

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Proper Care of Your Peony Plant

Peonies plants are very hardy in Illinois and they can live for 100 years if planted properly. There are a few things that you need to do to ensure large beautiful blooms each spring.

Caging Your Plant

As soon as you see the little red buds peeking out of the ground, in your garden bed, you should cage your peony bushes. They grow very quickly so it’s important to get your stakes around them early. This is the best way to hold the peony flowers upright as the flowers grow on long stems and can get very heavy.

Pruning your Peony 

Once your peony grows into a large bush and puts out the peony buds, it’s time to prune them. What you want to do is cut all the side buds off of the peony stem. You’ll want to leave the tallest, largest bud on the stem. 

Click the Photo to Watch Me Pruning My Peony Bush

Cut Peony Care for Longer Vase Life

Once your flowers start opening, you’ll want to bring some of the cut flowers inside as there is nothing like a peony bouquet to decorate your home with fresh flowers.

As a flower enthusiast, I understand the importance of keeping a bouquet of peonies looking fresh for as long as possible. With a few simple steps, you can ensure that your cut peonies stay vibrant and beautiful for days to come.

My very favorite: Sarah Bernhardt Peony

Cutting and Preparing Stems

The best time to cut the peony bloom when it is the consistency of a soft marshmallow. This will allow you to enjoy the bloom for the longest possible time. 

When you’re cutting peonies, it’s important to use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears to avoid damaging the stems. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle to allow for better water absorption. Remove any leaves that will be submerged in water to prevent bacteria growth.

Once the stems are cut, place them in lukewarm water immediately. Warm water helps the flowers absorb water more quickly. Let the peonies sit in the water for a few hours before arranging them in a vase

Choosing the Right Vase and Water

Select a vase that is tall enough to support the peony stems and has a wide enough opening to allow for air circulation. I love using all shapes and sizes of vases. But first, add water:

I create a mixture that works very well as a peony floral preservative. Fill the vase 3/4 of the way up with the mixture below:

  • 4 cups of room-temperature water 
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp., of sugar
  • 1 tsp., of bleach

I’ve found that this mixture extends the life of the blooms for days. However, if you don’t want to make this mixture, I’ve found that the flower food that comes with flowers from the grocery store will work better than just water. 

Change the water every two to three days to prevent bacteria growth. Before adding fresh water, trim the stems again at a 45-degree angle to ensure they can absorb water properly. I also move my blooms from a tall vase to progressively smaller vases as I cut the flower stems down. 

In conclusion, by following these simple steps for cut peony care, you can enjoy your beautiful bouquet for days to come. With the right vase, water, and floral preservatives, your peonies will stay fresh and vibrant for longer.

Preserving Blooms for a Longer Season

As a peony enthusiast, I know how disappointing it can be when the blooming season comes to an end. This can happen sooner than you are hoping, especially if you get a good rain. When my peony season seems to be slowing down and a thunderstorm is heading our way, I harvest all the peony buds that I can and prepare them for storage to be used later.

Before Annie’s Backyard Wedding, I did this to most of my peony blooms as I knew they would be gone by her June wedding date. This way we were able to use them in bouquets and vases.

Proper Time to Cut the Peony Bloom

Timing is crucial when it comes to cutting peony blooms. Cutting them too early or too late can result in a shorter lifespan. Again, I recommend cutting the buds when they have a soft marshmallow feel to them. This means they should be firm but have a slight give when pressed.

That being said if you are going to lose them, you can harvest flowers that have also started to open. 

Click on Photo to take you to the Video

Preparing for the Refrigerator

Armed with several rolls of paper towels, I start preparing the buds for the refrigerator. 

Remove all the green leaves at the bottom of the stems

Lay out the paper towel on a long stretch of a table and lay down the flowers about 6″ apart from each other. Then gently roll up the flowers. You can watch me do this in the video above.

Once you’ve rolled up the flowers you need to put them in plastic grocery bag both over the stems and another over the blooms. Then store them in a refrigerator, They can be stored for weeks to be used at a later date. I have only done it for two weeks but from what I understand they can be stored this way for up to 6 months. 

You can also use a sheet of newspaper for this process if you are someone who has that available. It’s a great way to recycle. 

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your peony blooms for a longer season. With a little care and attention, you can make the most of your beautiful flowers.

Gardening Things I Love

Peony Care Tips

If you love peonies, you know that their blooms are one of the most beautiful sights in late spring and early summer. To keep your peonies blooming for an extended period, you need to take good care of them. Here are some tips on how to maximize your peonies’ bloom time.

Deadheading and Pruning

To deadhead your peonies, simply cut off the spent blooms just below the base of the flower. Be sure to leave the foliage intact.

Pruning is another important aspect of maximizing your peonies’ bloom time. Prune your peony plants in late fall. I cut back the bush right down to the ground. 

NOTE: Do not put your peony clippings in your compost pile. Peonies can have fungal issues that will get into your general gardens through composted soil. I throw my peony cuttings into the burn pile or the garbage.  

Fertilizing for Healthy Growth

Fertilizing your peonies is important for healthy growth and maximum bloom time. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10, in early spring. Apply the fertilizer around the base of the plant, being careful not to get any on the foliage. Water the plant well after fertilizing.

Protecting from Harsh Weather

Peonies are hardy plants, and I have never had to protect them from our harsh Illinois winters. Peonies take more of a beating with heavy rain when they are flowering. This is why I stake my plants. I also cut any late blooms if thunderstorms are in the forecast and preserve them in my refrigerator. 

By following these tips, you can maximize your peonies’ bloom period and enjoy their beauty for as long as possible.

Happy Gardening!

Peace and Love,

Meet Me

I’m an Interior Designer, Professional Organizer, and Party Planner who lives in the suburbs of Chicago in a 1,300 sq., ft., home with my “Handy” husband, Keith.

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  1. LindaSonia says:

    Just for your info, the link to watch you preparing peonys for the refrigerator does not work.

    1. Hi Linda –
      Thanks so much for letting me know. I will correct that right now.