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Fiery Peony Foliage and Cut Flower Storage

Posted Oct 20 2011 1:38pm

The trees and shrubs are flaunting fiery fall foliage around here, and so are my peonies. Since they bloom for just a few weeks in June, it's nice to have a second season of color from them.

All of these photos were taken of herbaceous peonies in my yard. The Intersectional peony leaves are still completely green, but you can see there's a big range of color from the herbaceous types. By the way, I've got my two new 'Capitol Red' tree peonies planted. They look like a couple of twigs right now but will be pretty in a few years.

Although it's a strange time of year to talk about peony cut flowers, I just found this link from the Martha Stewart Show and Peony's Envy farm. It talks about how to store cut peony flowers in the refrigerator for up to six months!

The video is 15 minutes long and covers peony flower shapes and how to plant them as well as cut flower storage. The cut flower portion is in the last few minutes of the video.

Here's the basic process - you cut 1 to 1.5 foot long peony stems when the flowers are showing color but still tightly closed. You put a bunch of them into a cellophane wrapper (you can get them from your grocery store or floral supply store), set them in a vase filled with a couple of inches of water, and put them in the fridge. Or you fold the dry stems with newspaper, secure with a rubber band, and lay them in the fridge.

I assume you'd have less luck storing the peonies if you have apples or other ethylene gas producing fruit nearby (ethylene gas makes flowers and fruits ripen and eventually rot).

I'm excited to try storing some peonies next year! This is great information if you're wanting to have peonies for a late-summer wedding.

This is yet another reason to love peonies. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy their fall foliage before winter sets in.
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