extending peony season.

I feel like there should be some sort of formal recognition when the peonies are in bloom, like maybe an official holiday or something.  Let’s call it Peony Day.  That’s not terribly creative though, is it?  Give that some thought readers and let me know what you would call it.

Peonies have such a short season though, so I feel like I need to make the most of it each year.

I was heading out to visit my bff yesterday so I thought it would be nice to bring her some of my earliest blooming peonies.  They just started to open up here a few days ago.  I dug through my cupboards looking for a suitable container and I came across this old silver flower bowl.  My friend Jackie had gifted me with a big box of vintage silver last year and this was one of the items in the box.

You might be wondering why I thought it was specifically for flowers, well that’s because it came with a perfectly fitted plastic flower frog …

I thought about getting all fancy with my flower arranging and adding some other flowers, and maybe some greens, but in the end I thought it looked amazing with just the peonies.

It smells amazing too!

One way to extend the short peony season is to plant early, mid and late-season blooming varieties.

My old fashioned pink peonies bloom earliest, but my dark pink peonies are still tight buds.  The dark bud in my arrangement below center was the only one that was even partly open.  I also have a white peony that blooms quite late (along with the one I used in my arrangement that opens earlier).

My neighbor nnK recently told me that she read about another option for extending peony season.  You can refrigerate the buds and bring them out in a few weeks time to open in a vase.  I did some googling and found several websites with more info on this technique so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Step one is to cut the stems when the flower is at the ‘soft bud’ stage.

According to Hollingsworth Peonies, this is how to tell if your buds are at the right stage …

“Hold the stem between two fingers under the bud and press with thumb on top. If the center of the bud feels about like a fresh marshmallow, it is at soft bud. For the many-petalled, full double flowers, part of the petals will be unfurled.”

So I chose a few buds that I thought were about right and brought them in the house.  The next step is to remove most of the leaves.

This helps reduce water loss.

I found several different suggestions for how to best wrap the peonies before placing them in the fridge including wrapping them in wet newspaper or wrapping them with plastic wrap.  But Hollingsworth suggested simply using a large Ziploc bag.

That seemed like by far the easiest solution to me, so I went with it.

Be sure to place your peonies in the fridge horizontally, or laid flat.

Now, we wait 3 to 4 weeks.  By then the peonies in the garden will be pretty much done.  It will be interesting to pull these out and see if this technique worked, assuming Mr. Q hasn’t tried to eat them in a salad or something before then.  I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the results.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the peonies both in the garden and in cut arrangements in the house while they last.

So tell me, have you thought of any good names for my new peony season holiday?



24 thoughts on “extending peony season.

  1. This method works! Last year, I wrapped a couple dozen peonies in plastic wrap and refrigerated them for about a month so they could be used for my daughter in law’s bridal bouquet.
    My son and his then fiancée had planned a large wedding but then the pandemic got in the way. They decided to get married anyway in a small outdoor ceremony and Meg asked if I would put together her bridal bouquet using her favorite flower, peonies. After taking them out of the refrigerator, the buds opened up within a few hours. I started saving buds yesterday so I can enjoy peonies in a couple of months. ☺️ Your peonies look beautiful in the silver bowl!


  2. What a great idea – had never heard of this! Haven’t had peonies since I was a newly wed (the first time!) and we had 3 or 4 big plants in our back yard. We didn’t know what they were and mowed right over them a few times before we realized they must be a flower. Lol. This is a problem when you aren’t a plant person. Luckily, they thrived and were just gorgeous, once we realized what they were.


  3. I too love peonies!! I have several varieties. It will be interesting to find out if yours will bloom after 3-4 weeks in the frig. 😊


  4. I hope Mr. Q doesn’t put them in his salad, unlike my husband that one year cut up my hyacinth bulbs along with the celery for stuffing the turkey. I didn’t realize it until I went to look for my bulbs. Not bad stuffing either!


    1. Ha, Megan! Ulysses is one of my favorite novels. I’m chagrined that I didn’t think of that! I feel like James Joyce would have unfriended me. 😀


  5. Love Peonies! dont have them in my garden, but i can almost smell yours from here! Good luck with the experiment!


  6. I saved peony buds ten years ago to use for our 40 anniversary party. I have always loved peonies but we got married late August, so just had roses. I saved my buds in June before our 40th, , using newspaper cones , in the refrigerator and brought them out the day before the party Aug. 21, they opened beautifully. I had seen the hint in an old newspaper. I also had giant double cactus zinnias as a backup just in case, another favorite.


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