Can we talk peonies?

joannembJuly 10, 2011

I would like to plant 3 peony plants: One early, one mid, and one late bloomer. I love having cut flowers in the house, and thought that this might give me 3 weeks of blooms to use....

After much research I have come up with the following but am having a hard time deciding between the 2 in each category. I love the look of them all, just would like info on which ones are longer lasting or better performers. If you have any experience with one or the other I would love your opinions to help me choose! :)

Only have one early pick: Festiva Maxima

Mid: (want one white and one pink)

White-- Either Gardenia or Bowl of Cream

Pink-- Mrs. Euclid Snow or La Perle

Late: (want one white and one pink)

White-- Ann Cousins or Casablanca

Pink-- Only one (and I've decided on her for sure--Sarah Bernhardt)

Thanks for your help!

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I am just starting out growing peonies for cutting, so no personal experience yet. But, whenever I come across a reference for a peony good for cutting, I save the name. From your list, I have:
Festiva Maxima
Bowl of Cream
Ann Cousins
Sarah Bernhardt

I also have Gardenia, with a note saying for fragrance.

My list isn't very large at this point, and in no way comprehensive, but it is some input. MOst of the flowers were from a Midwest grower or Gilbert Wild's online catalog.

Good luck! :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 3:45PM
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Pudge 2b

I have several varieties of peony and cut them all (I used to sell bouquets at market). I haven't found one to be better than the other in terms of stem strength. The big doubles or bombs last longer in the vase than the singles. IMO the most important part of cutting peonies is the stage at which they are cut. I think the marshmallow stage (when the bloom is still mostly closed but feels soft like a marshmallow) is ideal - they will fully open within 24 hours in the vase, last at least a week and do not shatter once fully opened.

You can also keep peonies in the fridge for later use - extending the season that you can have peonies in the vase. I cut them at just about the marshmallow stage, trim off all the leaves, set them in water for an hour, take them out of the water and then wrap them in saran wrap (completed enclosed to prevent moisture loss) and lay them in the fridge. They will keep for 2-3 weeks. When they come out of the fridge, recut them and set them in water until they start to open up (may take 12 hours), then arrange in a vase.

The early-mid-late is more of a guide than a hard and fast rule - you may find little difference in bloom times. This year my late Marilla Beauty is blooming right along with my early Shirley Temple.

The following link is a peony bloom data base from earliest to latest.

Lady's Mantle blooms - which for me always bloom at the same time as the peonies - make a beautiful filler for peony bouquets. They have a nice fresh scent, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: peony bloom data base

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 9:06PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Pudge, thanks for this great info. I've been watching this thread to learn from Joanne's question. I don't have much experience with peonies and wanted to try them. I've never heard the plastic wrap thing - I will try this next year.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:10PM
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