4 In Garden/ How To's

How to: Harvest Peony Buds to Open Later

How to Have peonies all summer

Who loves a beautiful arrangement of peonies? We love having them around our homes and always make sure to pick some during their short life span in the spring. But what if I told you that you could SAVE some peony buds so they bloom later and (gasp!) out of season! That you could have those beautiful flowers all throughout the summer or for your upcoming event!


how to save peony buds to bloom later

We learned about this harvest from a friend of Kristen’s who helped us save peonies for Kristen’s July 5th wedding a couple years ago. She had beautiful bouquets and flowers for every table by DIY-ing the flowers ourselves.

wedding flowers

Here is what you will need to harvest your own peonies:

  • Shears
  • Newspapers
  • Extra Refrigerator space

Thats it…This tutorial is so incredibly easy you will be amazed.

garden flowers

Peony’s blooming season is in the spring, and here in Minnesota ours bloom at the very end of May to the beginning of June. If you are looking to harvest some, you will need to keep an eye on the buds so you can pick them at the perfect time.

garden flowers

how to save peony buds to bloom all summer

The buds need to be in what we call the “marshmallow” stage.Where the buds are just starting to color, but aren’t open yet. They will be getting soft (like a marshmallow!) you can actually squish them between your fingers to make sure they aren’t too hard. (If they are too hard and small they won’t open later)

how to save peony buds to bloom all summer

Then you can take your garden shears (or a scissors) and snip the marshmallow bud at the bottom of the stalk. Keep the leaves attached but maybe give the flower a little shake to rid it of ants, who also love peonies.

flower arrangements

Once you are done picking enough buds to keep, take them into the garage or house and grab your newspapers.



All you do is take a sheet of newspaper, take one stalk and wrap it in the sheet.

peony tips


Keep the leaves attached since this acts as food for the bud while in the fridge. Once all stalks are wrapped individually (but not too tightly) you can place them in your fridge for safekeeping. We took a paper grocery bag and organized the stalks in that so they would lay or sit easier.



For Kristen’s wedding, the flowers stayed in the fridge for about 5-6 weeks, but we know the friend that taught us this technique had kept peonies until August before.

Once you are ready for your peonies to bloom, take them out of the fridge, unwrap them, and cut at least 2 inches off the bottom of the stalk and remove any crusted leaves. All you do then is put them in room temp water so they open!

how to save peony buds to save for later

It can take a couple hours to a day to open fully. Make sure to give your blooms some plant food in their water so they last and then…Enjoy!

garden flowers

garden blooms

You can now have peonies all summer if you wish! Or it’s a great way to DIY flower arrangements for your next big event which is what we did for Kristen’s wedding.



Can you believe how easy this is?! The hardest part was probably finding enough fridge room to save them! But luckily Vicki has an extra fridge in the garage that we keep ours in 🙂


Unfortunately, we are not flower experts and have not tried this technique on any other kind of flower…therefore we can’t say that it will work on anything besides peonies. You could always experiment though if you have enough fridge space!


We will most likely be saving peonies every year from here on out so we can enjoy them all summer long.




How to Harvest Peony buds to open later

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  • Reply
    June 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    These are some great tips!! Peonies are my favorite flower! I am going to feature this on my blog as part of Thursday Favorite Things!! Angelina @ Peonies & Orange Blossoms

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      June 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Oh wow! Thank you so much Angelina! Peonies are one of our favorites too!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    This is seriously a game changer! Peonies are my favorite & I’d love to keep them around longer. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Reply
      Kristen & Vicki
      June 27, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I know right?! We love peonies as well and were happy to share!

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