Peonies are a popular flower, and there’s no reason to wonder why. With an eye-catching form, a rainbow of natural hues, and lovely scent, this bloom is a natural for wedding flowers, gala arrangements, a romantic bouquet, or a spirit-lifting centerpiece on your kitchen table. While we might associate this blossom with celebrity events today, it has been cultivated for hundreds of years, acquiring significant cultural associations along the way. Here are four things to know about this stunning flower:
1. They have a definite season.
Peonies are a spring flower, starting to bloom in April and continuing through June, with May usually marking the peak of their availability. The season can vary somewhat because cooler regions have later blooming times, and certain varieties of peonies tend to bloom later than others. However, out of the general season, obtaining peonies means importing them, which can be a pricey proposition. Our advice? Enjoy peonies to the fullest during their natural season, and ask us about alternatives for occasions during other times of the year.
2. For the longest vase life, buy when the buds are still closed.
With many flowers, your best bet for getting a good display and longest beauty in a cut arrangement is to look for buds that are just starting to open. Not so with peonies. Look instead for buds that are closed but slightly soft, about golf-ball sized, with green petals still visible on the bulbs. These will open at room temperature into lush, multi-petaled blooms.
3. There’s more to them than just beautiful cut flowers.
In China, peonies have been used for flavoring food since ancient times. They were also cultivated for medicinal uses—in traditional Chinese medicine, peonies are believed to combat inflammation, and are used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, muscle cramps, and fevers. They also carry mythological meaning. In Greek mythology, the flowers are considered to be named either for Paeon, the physician of the gods, or for the nymph Paeonia. Depending on the version of the myth, it symbolizes either compassion or bashfulness. Nowadays, the flower is considered to mean romance, prosperity, and good fortune, which is just one of the reasons they’re so popular for weddings.
4. They come in many colors and varieties.
Though we’re most likely to think of the type of blooms famous explorer Marco Polo described as “roses as big as cabbages” when we think of peonies, they come in many sizes, forms, and hues. There are three main types: tree, herbaceous, and itoh (or intersectional) peonies. Additionally, they’re classified by their flower form, for example single-petaled or double-petaled. Possible hues range from pure white through deeply saturated purples—in fact, the only color of peony you can’t get is blue.
At Rachel Cho Floral Design, we find beautiful inspiration in the flowers that each season produces. We can help you find the blooms that express exactly what you want to convey, whether you’re planning an event or simply choosing blossoms to brighten your home. Our top-quality flowers are matched only by our dedication to superior design and customer service. For help with all your floral needs, contact us today.