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How to make peonies last longer

29th May, 2024

Peonies. We just can't get enough of them. They’re somehow dreamy and dramatic at the same time. These illustrious stems have only a short vase life - typically around 5 days - so you'll want to know how to look after yours to get the best from them. That's where this handy guide comes in. Read on for peony care tips and some helpful hints from our brilliant florists.

How long do peonies last?

Peony season is short, and all the sweeter for it, much like the blooms themselves. When they’re in a bouquet they’ll usually look their best for around 5 days – as long as you look after them. That’s where we can help. This step by step guide to peony care covers all you need to know about giving these lush blooms the TLC they need.

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How to care for peonies

1. Find them a nice clean vase

Choose a vase that’s sparkling clean (give it a good scrub in hot water with your fave eco-friendly detergent, and then dry it thoroughly) and fill it about two thirds full with fresh water.

2. Add flower food

Never, ever throw that sachet of flower food that comes with your flowers away – it’s packed full of good stuff to keep your blooms going. Just open the sachet, sprinkle the flower food into the water and stir until it disappears. Your water is now prepped and ready to house those gorgeous blooms.

3. Unwrap them carefully

These beauties are precious, so handle them with care. Recycle any wrapping and take care to leave the florists’ tie in place – this is what keep the bouquet in that beautiful shape and it’ll save you having to arrange the flowers yourself (an expert florist has already done the hard work!)

"We hand-tie our peonies in bud so you can enjoy the magic of watching them bloom before your eyes. The tightly packed golf ball sized buds will usually open to reveal blooms up to three times the original bud size. Peonies are really impressive flowers!" Jo, The Daisy Chain, Shepperton

4. Cut the stems

Use a sharp pair of shears or floristry scissors to trim the stems by 3-5cm. Always cut them at an angle. This means the stem has a greater surface areas for taking up water, allowing your peonies to get a good drink.

5. Remove any leaves

Time to trim any leaves that may fall below the waterline. If you don’t, these will sit in the water and invite lots of nasty bacteria which your peonies definitely won’t thank you for!

6. Pop them in

The stage is set, now for the stars of the show! Pop you peonies in the vase and gently fluff them up a little to make sure they sit right.

"If you can't wait for your peonies to open, you can give them a helping hand. Just gently massage the buds at the neck of the stem and pop them in a sunny spot and you'll find they open up quicker. Strange but true!" Steph, Pickerings Florist, Barnsley

7. Find them the best spot

It’s all about location, location, location. To help your peonies last longer you need to put them in a good spot. You’re after somewhere with no direct sunlight and no drafts (they really hate a breeze!) A hall, coffee table or bedside table is just right.

8. Keep an eye on them day-to-day

Peonies are thirsty flowers so make sure you top up the water daily. Change the water completely every other day (this helps keep bacteria out) and keep trimming the stems to help them drink. There’s no need to deadhead peonies (where you remove the dead flowers), and luckily for the not-so-green-fingered peony pruning is reserved for gardeners, you don’t need to do it with cut flowers.

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"If you can't wait for your peonies to open, you can give them a helping hand. Just gently massage the buds at the neck of the stem and pop them in a sunny spot and you'll find they open up quicker. Strange but true!"

Steph, Pickerings Florist