Follow these simple steps to preserve peonies in your refrigerator until you’re ready to display them.
1. Harvest peonies in their bud stage when the green sepals are separated, revealing the petal color, and the buds are at least an inch in diameter.
2. Wrap bunched stems in clear plastic and seal the ends to prevent the flowers from drying out.
3. Use rubber bands to store bunches of five or ten peonies.
4. Store the peonies horizontally in the refrigerator (the lower the temperature, the better). The flowers will keep for 3 to 4 weeks.
5. Remove flowers from cold storage about 8 hours before desired opening time.
6. Place stems in room temperature water. The vase life is 5 to 10 days after the buds open, when left at room temperature.
Learn more about the care and cultivation of peonies from the cooperative extension service of Kansas State University: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/hort2/mf1083.pdf.
Photo: Maria Brzostowska/www.fotolia.com