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Peonies are great cut flowers, and the classic varieties were selected especially for this purpose. Some varieties are well known. Certainly worthy of mention are P. Sarah Bernhardt, P. Duchesse de Nemours, and P. Marie Lemoine. If you are looking for a more exotic look to entertain your guests or indulge yourself, P. Cytherea and P. Bartzella are certainly worth considering.
Cutting peonies implies removing leaves from your plant, and less leaves mean less growth next year. Hence, it is wise to cut no more than 30% of the stems.

Timing is essential. The best time to cut a flower bud is linked to the shape of the flower. The rule is: more petals imply more patience. Single flowers should have a somewhat firm bud when cut. Double flowers should feel like a marshmallow, and bombs may reveal a hint of colour. This, however, is not an exact science!
Remove all excess leaves, cut the stems and place the stems in a vase partially filled with water at room temperature. Flower food helps extend their vase life, as does changing the water daily. Place the vase in a draught-free location, not exposed to direct sunlight. If possible, place the cut flowers in a cool place overnight.
If in a hurry for flowers, use slightly warmer water, and place the flowers in a somewhat warmer room.

To delay flowering, cut the flowers in the morning and keep them dry. Cut off the lower leaves. Place the flower buds in paper towels, in a large plastic container. Place the container in the coldest part of your refrigerator, Oº C if possible. It is important that the container is airtight. Ethylene gasses produced by fruits speed up the development of flowers. The flower buds can remain in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. This can be extended to six weeks, depending on the variety. Take the flowers out of the refrigerator a day before you need them, and treat them as described above. This is the procedure I used, but it is not foolproof. Nothing beats a peony freshly picked from the field early in the morning.

The above applies mainly to herbaceous and Itoh peonies. Tree peonies, however, also have stunning flowers very well suited to beautiful flower arrangements. The expression less is more definitely applies to these gorgeous flowers.

If you want grow your own "field" of flowers, feel free to browse our
online selection of cut flowers.
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