It’s best to buy…
When they are fresh cut and still in bud stage, because it allows you to enjoy the full blooming process. If you get peonies that are already fully open, they will look gorgeous but will only last a few days at most.
Once your peonies are purchased…
1. Quickly process the flowers. Don’t worry if the leaves appear a little limp. They just need some water to perk up!
2. Peonies will usually arrive wrapped in paper. Carefully remove and put the paper wrap aside.
3. Fill up a clean container or vase with at least 3″ to 4″ of room temperature water.
4. With sharp floral shears, cut at least ½” to 1″ off each stem at a diagonal and quickly place it in the water. You’ll want to make sure you remove any foliage that falls below the water line.
5. After you’ve cut each stem, recommends re-wrapping the paper around the peonies. Depending on your container, you can wrap around the whole vase. This is not necessary, but wrapping around the peonies keeps them upright and enables them to hydrate better.
6. You can remove the paper wrap after 3-4 hours.
7. The rate at which the blooms open will vary and depend on a variety of factors. Some peony varieties (e.g., coral charm) open quickly, while others may take a few days to start. The temperature of the room they are kept in will also affect how quickly they open: warmer room = faster open rate.
8. You’ll want to keep an eye on the water levels as peonies can drink quite a bit of water so you may have to re-fill the vase often. Also, you’ll want to clean and refill the vase and re-cut the stems at least every 2-3 days to maximize vase life.
If you’ve already cut and put the stems in water, don’t worry you can still slow down the process. If you have a fridge big enough, just place the whole vase inside (making sure to keep them away from fruits and vegetables).