No flower so fittingly illustrates the blooming strength of May as the peony. The buds are balls of compressed energy that – when the time comes – open very quickly and smell beautiful. The single-flowered peonies then display a fabulous heart, whilst the double-flowered varieties produce a cheerful full mophead of soft petals.
They can have a diameter of 15-18 cm, and are particularly offered in white, various shades of pink and claret. They flower in May and June, and offer a romantic taste to the summer to come.
The Peony originates from China and arrived in Europe around 1785. They are in their own family (Paeonia) with just one genus: the peony.
The range of peonies is large, and there are hundreds of cultivars. Alongside white, pink and claret they also come in lilac, salmon pink (this is particularly popular as a match for living coral, the Pantone colour for 2019), pale yellow and red. The flower shape can vary between double-flowered, single-flowered and anemone-flowered. Many peonies have a very strong sweet scent which makes the flowers even more appealing. The transformation from a bud which is some 3 cm across into a flower with a diameter of over 15 cm is always spectacular.
What to look for when buying peonies
- Check that the peonies are unbranched or branched (more flowers but often smaller) and that the stems are fairly straight.
- The ripeness of the bud is essential for them to be able to open in the vase. The stage of ripeness depends on the cultivar. Some cultivars are offered unripe , whilst others need to be slightly coloured to guarantee flowering. It’s ideal if the bud is slightly soft and the petals come apart slightly. Peonies that are too unripe will not open.
- The flowers must be free of pests and disease, Growers pre-treat the flowers to improve the lifespan. The only thing that peonies sometimes suffer from is botrytis, which can be seen by on the flowers or leaves.
- When peonies are in bud they exude nectar, probably to stick the bracts together slightly during the last powerful stage of growth to keep them closed. That how they protect their reproductive organs in the wild until they’re ready for the romance of the birds and bees.
Care tips for your Peonies
- Use clean vases
- Use a sharp knife to cut 3-5 cm off the stem, remove any leaves that will be under water.
- If the buds are very sticky because of the nectar, gently pour tepid water over them. This will dissolve it so that flowers can open beautifully.
- Do not place peonies in a draught, in the sun, near a heater or near fruit.
Peonies for you wedding
One of the things that make the peonies so popular for wedding flowers on the past number of years is the fact, that they are not available all year round. What makes them extra special when they are in season in May, June and part of July each summer.
Lamber loves working with the delicate blooms of the peonies for weddings. Weather it is a large globe of only open white peonies, creating an almost candyfloss globe as a wedding bouquet as Lamber created for famous Irish blogger and business woman, Suzanne Jackson, on her wedding day.
There are so many ways of using these stunning blooms for a summer wedding and at Lamber de Bie flowers we are just mad about peonies.