Do you know the feeling when your favorite plant is in bloom? You admire it from the garden, cut the flowers for a vase in your home and try to soak it up as much as possible. If you’re a fan of peonies, here’s some good news: You can "hold over" peony buds in the fridge for several weeks! So even after the plant has finished blooming in late spring, you can have a vase of garden-picked peonies in summer. Let’s look at the quick and easy steps to save your peony blooms for later.
Save the right peony blooms
To get the most out of your peony bouquet, it’s best to pick budding flowers that haven’t quite bloomed. Pick buds that aren’t too tight and are starting to loosen. It helps to to gently press each bud with your thumb, as shown in the photo here. It should squish slightly and have a density similar to a marshmallow. Gather up as many of these peony buds as you’d like. Stick a handful of them in a vase of water to enjoy a bouquet now, and then follow the rest of the steps below to save your peony blooms for later.
How to save your peony blooms
- After you’ve found the soft buds, use pruners or garden snips and cut just above a set of leaves. (Make sure to cut stems so that they are inch or two longer than what you need for your vase because they’ll need to be trimmed again before arranging.)
- Place the buds inside a large plastic zip bag and seal it to preserve the moisture. Be careful to not bend stems or damage the buds in the process.
- Nothing else goes in the bag! No additional moisture is needed, because too much moisture could cause mold to develop. You can plan to store them in the fridge for one to two months. Imagine pulling out a bouquet of your favorite peonies to enjoy in the middle of July!
Arrange your peonies in the vase
When you are ready to have a bouquet of peonies, take the buds out of the fridge. To encourage them to bloom:
- Cut the stem again about a half-inch from the bottom and at an angle.
- Place them in a vase with room-temperature water.
Next time your peony flowers begin to bud, check them frequently to notice when the buds begin to soften. Then harvest a good supply to hold over. Your homegrown bouquets will be bursting with frilly, romantic peony blooms all summer long.