Delaying peony blooms - and others too??

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

I have a dilemna at times when one of my flowers bloom too early and I would love to have some blooms for a special occasion later on. This is the case with my peonies. Here is what one of my plants looked like on April 21, 2009.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

One week later, it is opening up like crazy.

This message was edited Apr 28, 2009 4:21 PM

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

So, I cut some for arrangements that I can enjoy now. But my problem? I want some of these blooms for Mother's day, which is almost 2 weeks away.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

So, I was thrilled when I came across an article which tells you how to pick peonies early, and refrigerate them to delay blooming for up to two weeks. Perfect solution to my problem. The article is from a blog - will have to find it later. But basically, what you do is to pick the peonies when they are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Make sure the buds are dried, remove the leaves, wrap individually in absorbent paper like newspaper, put in a plastic sleeve, and refrigerate. It was an extremely windy day yesterday, so I knew the buds were perfectly dried. I cut a bunch of buds that fit the size description (though I think the last three are probably too mature), wrapped, and stuck in the fridge. Will see what happens.

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Interesting, do youhave a photo of them wrapped? What did you use for a plastic sleeve?

london England, United Kingdom

Beautiful arrangement Dianne, your Peonies are wonderful! Great information, Thanks for sharing.
It will be fun to experiment with this technique.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

This is the article that I read and decided to give it a try.
http://annieinaustin.blogspot.com/2007/05/bossing-blooms.html

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Candee - I had laid the buds out in order of tightness - the tightest one being number 1, and the most open number 9. Here is a photo of wrapped bud number 5 in newspaper.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

The writer of the blog suggested using the plastic sleeves that the newspaper comes in, but I could not find any at the time. So, I did have a long plastic bag and bundled the 9 wrapped buds into that.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Here is another article on this same technique that was suggested by a fellow DGer in the peony forum
http://www.hollingsworthpeonies.com/AboutPeonies/storing.htm

They skip the wrapping process and lay the buds directly in 2 gallon ziplock bags - I am off to the store to get some 2 gallon bags tomorrow and will try this method too.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Will be awaiting to hear how it works out. Interesting process, will have to read more when I get a bit more time.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

I'm BAAAAAACCCCCCCK.

And thrilled with the results. My original intention was to keep the peony buds in the refrigerator for two weeks until Mother's day. But, I had a bunch of other flowers on mother's day, so I decided to keep the peony on hold longer. We had some guests over the weekend, and this would be a great time to see the results. These stalks have been in the refrigerator for 4 weeks now. This is what they look unlike unrolled.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Following the instructions, I cut off the ends of the stalks to expose a fresh surface and then placed them in water. This photo was taken at the end of the first day, a few hours after the unwrapping. Most of the buds are already opened.

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Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Since I had to cut off most of the foliage before storing the stalks, I added some leatherleaf fern to the arrangement. This is day 3. After 4 weeks, it still makes a great arrangement. Not as good as the original, but to have this vase of flowers 4 weeks later, it is amazing.

Has anyone tried this technique on other kinds of flowers?

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Fabulous, I actually like the ferns better than the leaves on the poppys. This worked great for you, I wonder if same could be done with roses and such? May have to give this a whirl.

london England, United Kingdom


They look great Dianne! Very pretty with the ferns, new vase? very nice!!

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Candee - let us know when you decide to give it a whirl.
Terri - I had that vase for about 3 months now - it was part of the five that I got at the thrift store. It's a nice one for a medium sized neck.

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

Wholesale florists keep peonies in the cold out of water to delay opening. But once you put them in water, they open immediately, as you discovered. Roses are often treated the same way. In fact, roses sold at Valentines have often been cut in October and November and kept in cold storage. Amazing to me that it works this way!

I read an article about this and it said to pick the buds when they were in the marshmallow stage… just a bit bigger than a golf ball but still firmish. I kept mine in the fridge for 2 months and they did bloom. I'm doing it again this spring in the hopes of keeping them for a Sept. wedding. I also read that if the flowers flop over on the stem with either roses or peonies, to submerge the entire stem and flower in cool water laying flat and they will perk up.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks, I might try this too.

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