Surprised by Mother Nature

(Question)

I over reacted to the threat of rain and wind this weekend, cutting peonies before they bloomed. My concern is that they would bake in the sun, and droop. I’d placed adequate support around them recently to deal with the drooping. Anticipating quick growth, and protective of their sensitivity to temperature,they’re in the fridge now, as fresh cuts. I noticed the ants deserted the peony ball, as I briefly dipped the head in water to keep ants visiting indoors. I have irises I can add too as I was debating when to take the peonies, as I try to keep up to the annual surprises of nature.
A photo shows six of white and six of red, and one of the garden ones left behind did blossom 2 days later, although it was overcast.

Will they bloom, once I place them in water, in the sun? The plan was to place them in a vase outside as part of a memorial.
Thank you

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

You can cut peonies and store them for several weeks, even up to months depending on the variety. The key to storing peonies in the refrigerator and having them bloom at a much later date is knowing when to cut them and how to properly store them.

To store a peony for proper bloom and achieve a vase life of five to 10 days, you need to cut the flowers when the buds are showing some color and are soft like a marshmallow. From your photo it appears that you are already well on your way to having a vase of long lasting peony blooms.

Garden Making magazine has an excellent article: Cut flowers, harvested fresh from your garden

There is also an interesting article from Michigan State University on Storing peonies to bloom at a later date

If you pick them at the marshmallow stage a couple of days before they’re needed and put them in a vase that’s kept out of the heat and sun the flowers will open.