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Playtime with Peonies at Home

During the spring, peonies, aka peony roses, are our most popular seller by far, and from late October to December, our customers love buying bunches of peonies for their homes as cut flowers as well as as in gift bouquets for their loved ones.

Every year, we wait patiently for peonies to return and for their beautiful season to begin! Peony roses are very seasonal and are only in season for a short time, as they are grown outdoors in flower fields. In Victoria, we get to enjoy peony roses for approximately 6-8 weeks from late October to December (depending on the weather and seasonal conditions). The first varieties to start flowering are Coral Charm, Red Charm and Pink Sarah Bernhardt peonies (peach, watermelon and pink tones), and the white varieties start to flower by early November, just in time for peak wedding season!

Pink peonies in a flower arrangement wrapped in white paper

The Coral and Red Charm peony is locally grown in Victoria (we source from Geelong Growers), but they are also grown in New Zealand. The peony season begins with an abundance of vibrant colours, and we have to patiently wait for the soft blush and white varieties later on in the season. New Zealand produces incredible peony roses at very competitive prices, so consumers are spoilt for choice in October.

Pink coral Peonies

A fascinating fact about the Coral Charm peony is that it arrives as a red/orange tight bud, and as it opens, it changes into a large dark peach bloom. As it continues to open and age, the bloom changes yet again, and it ends up being a beautiful soft peach colour. Coral Charm peonies will change colours many times before they die. For this reason, as well as their magnificent bloom size, Coral peony roses are among our favourite varieties. The only downside to Coral and Red Charm peonies is that they don’t always have a beautiful scent. I describe it as a dirt scent. To better understand the differences between peonies, please take a look at my blog Tree Peonies vs Herbaceous Peonies

Red peony flower

Peony roses make a great cut flower for your home, and they are so easy to design and enjoy! They should last between 5-14 days depending on the variety in your bouquet and the quality. We recommend buying the premium varieties that Kate Hill Flowers source, as they are guaranteed to open and last longer. We don't recommend buying peony roses that are displayed in tiny, tight buds, as they may not open at all. We only source A-grade peony roses, which will open from a small bud and continue to open and age into a large, palm-size bloom.

Pink peonies being held by a Melbourne florist

When filling a vase at home with peonies, we recommend the following:

- Find a vase approximately 15 cm wide and 30-40 cm tall. The perfect vase is approximately ½ to ⅔ the length of the peony rose stems. (If the peony stem is 60 cm long, a 30-cm vase is ideal.) A vase that is wider or shorter will be very hard to style, as you’ll have to cut the stems or buy more bunches to fill the wide vase.

- Purchase three Bunches or 15 stems of peony roses. One bunch will be too lean, but three bunches is a nice amount of flower to fill an average-sized vase.

- Clean the vase with a hint of bleach to ensure there is no bacteria. Dry the vase with a towel, and make sure there is no left over residue. A clean vase will help your flowers last longer.

- Fill the vase half way with fresh, cool water. Never fill the vase with warm or hot water, as it will cause your peony roses to wilt.

- Remove any flawed, marked or brown leaves from the stem. Do not remove all the leaves. We recommend keeping the upper leaves on the stem. If you remove all the leaves, the naked stems will look strange in the vase!

- Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle before placing them into the vase. Make sure all the cut peony rose stems are the same length. A trick is to lay them down on a bench with their heads lined up and then cut the bottoms evenly.

- Display the peony rose stems in the vase, and keep turning the vase as you arrange each stem.

- Place your vase of peony roses in a cool location away from heat vents or warm windows. Always place flowers in your favourite part of the home or office where you will get to enjoy them the most. If you want to enjoy your flowers for even longer, place them in the coldest part of the home or office at night time.

Peonies and other mixed flowers at Melbourne florist Kate Hill Flowers

If you love peony roses as much as we do, I highly recommend booking a day at the annual Victorian Springhill Peony Rose Farm during the spring. The magnificent peony farm celebrates the start of each season with an open-house event called Peony Paddock Picnic Day, where you get to enjoy a day in the field of peonies and hand-pick your own bunch to enjoy at home! It's best to keep your eye open for dates, as the event is extremely popular and limited.

Kate x


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