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How and When to Cut Peonies for a Vase

Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her Youtube Channel.

Knowing when and how to cut peony blooms will help them last longer once they're in a vase.

Knowing when and how to cut peony blooms will help them last longer once they're in a vase.

I want to show you the best way to harvest your peony flowers to get the longest vase life. As the owner of a flower farm, I'm no stranger to harvesting peonies. In my years of experience, I've learned that cutting your blooms at just the right stage will help them last longer and look more magnificent in a vase.

Ideally, peonies should be harvested while in the "marshmallow" stage.

Ideally, peonies should be harvested while in the "marshmallow" stage.

When to Cut Peony Flowers for a Vase

When you come out to your peony flower, take a look at the blooms that are in a sort of soft, squishy marshmallow stage. This is the best stage to cut them at for the longest vase life.

If you cut a bloom that is still very tight, it may not open up in a vase. And if you cut one that has really opened up already, it's only going to last for a few days in a vase. So your best bet for the longest vase life is to cut it in this marshmallowy stage.

How to Cut Peonies to Extend Vase Life

The best cutting practice for peonies is to go down a little way on the stem. You want to make sure that you leave at least two sets of leaves, even more if you can, because this plant needs to continue to produce food for itself throughout the rest of the season so that it can bloom again next year.

Use a sharp set of shears to cut the stem on a diagonal.

Me and Lucy with some freshly harvested peonies. You can see blooms in various stages, here, from the marshmallow stage to the full-blown bloom stage.

Me and Lucy with some freshly harvested peonies. You can see blooms in various stages, here, from the marshmallow stage to the full-blown bloom stage.

More Tips for Cutting Peonies

Now, sometimes we miss the boat. Maybe we didn't get a chance to get out there in time, or factors beyond our control force us to cut our peonies a little early. Here's how to handle those situations.

  • What If My Peonies Already Bloomed? When temperatures warm up, these flowers burst open super fast. If you go out to your garden and your peonies are already full-blown open, it looks magnificent. And this is still a good time to cut these blooms down, even if they won't last quite as long in a vase.
  • What If a Storm Is Coming? If you know that there are thunderstorms or rainstorms coming, you should cut your blooms since the water is going to wind up knocking them over anyway. That way, you'll still get a few days of flowers!

Once again, to cut a bloom in these situations, you're going to go down the stem and cut on a diagonal, leaving some leaves on the bottom. Just know that you're not going to have as many days of vase life as if you cut it in the marshmallow stage.

Keeping blooms in a cool environment can help extend their vase life.

Keeping blooms in a cool environment can help extend their vase life.

How to Get Peony Blooms to Last Longer in a Vase

Make sure that you leave your peonies in a cool environment. You can even put them outside, like on your deck or in your backyard (unless a storm is coming!). If you can, I also recommend putting them outside at night, when those temps get really cool; this will give you a few added days of vase life.

Happy harvesting!

Happy harvesting!

More Peony Tips

If you're hoping to harvest even more peonies next year, it's important to start out right by ensuring you plant them correctly. Here's a step-by-step guide to planting peonies to ensure that your plants thrive and produce an abundance of blooms.

For more tips on what to do with your peonies now that you've harvested them, check out the video on flower arranging below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Kelly Lehman

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