How to get peonies to open

Updated: May 18, 2019

Peonies certainly set the nations heart fluttering! From pure white (Bridal Shower) to pretty pinks (Angel Cheeks), through to coral (Coral Charm) and deep reds (Red Sarah Bernhardt), their layers upon layers of delicate petals are swooned after and the short peony season eagerly anticipated. However peonies are notorious for not opening if they don't want to! So how do you give them a helping hand? Read on for some top tips!

If your peonies are being a little stubborn about opening up, the first thing to try is popping them in a vase of tepid water in a warm room. Remember to condition your peonies properly first though by taking all the leaves off which will be below the water in vase, cutting the stems off by at least 1-2cms and making sure you have a clean vase filled with clean water. You can also cut up the stem slightly so this helps increase the water take up more quickly.

If the peonies are still resisting you can peel back the green sepal (leaf) which may be enclosing the peony head so that you can just seen the petals rather than the green. The sepal will be enclosing the peony head and hindering it from opening. You can also start peeling very gently some of the petals back this may help to encourage the peony head to loosen and start opening up, you can also blown gently down onto the petals to help loosen them up as well.

Sometimes the peony can feel a bit sticky, this is quite normal but it can act as a sort of glue and prevent the petals from opening up. You can dunk the peony head into some water and gently help wash off the sticky sap.

Another tip is when selecting your bunch of peonies in the shop is to see if the heads are slightly spongy when you squeeze them rather than completely solid. This can give the nod that they are thinking about opening up.

If you want to do the opposite and slow the peony down from opening up so quickly pop them in a cold room and out of direct sunlight in cold water. You can also roll the peony up in brown paper so that the petals can't ping open too quickly.

We hope these hints help. Enjoy your beautiful blooms! If only the season was longer!!

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