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Peonies not only enchant in the garden, but are often cut shortly before or during the flowering period and then placed in the vase. There the picturesque flowers seduce for a while until they wither and slowly dry up. In order to let Paeonia bloom and keep it fresh for longer, several methods have been established with which you can admire the floral decoration in your home for quite a while after cutting.

Varieties for the vase

Which peonies are suitable?

In the long span of peony cultivation, numerous varieties have developed from the 32 species. However, only a few of these are suitable for effective flowering in the flower vase. Especially in Central Europe it is the garden classic par excellence, the farmer's or common peony (bot. Paeonia officinalis). The flowers of this species stay fresh for a particularly long time and are therefore easy to keep in the vase. It is also important not to cut off shoots with buds that have the following properties:

  • small
  • green
  • damaged
  • infested by pests
  • ill

Straight shoots with green flower buds are often cut off, placed in water and the flowers do not bloom even after weeks. The reason: green buds of peonies are still too young to blossom alone in water and are therefore not really suitable for this purpose. This is also the case with buds that are too small. So make sure that the cut shoots have buds that don't need long to open and have already taken on a different color. This should of course correspond to the final flower color.

tip: If you then want to dry the "harvested" flowers, you should rely on certain types of peonies, from which you can even conjure up a drying arrangement. Two varieties are suitable for this: 'Alba Plena' and 'Ruba Plena', which for many gardeners are among the most beautiful in their own green oasis.


The location is crucial to let the peonies bloom and enjoy the freshness for a long time. It is quite easy to find a suitable place for the vase, because you mainly have to avoid direct sun and heat. This accelerates the wilting process and thus the use of the peony blossoms in the flower vase. Therefore, choose a place in your living space that is cooler but not a victim of draughts. It must also be bright and protected from external influences. Bright hallways and dining rooms, for example, are good places here.

tip: Conservatories are only suitable as a location if it is not in direct sunlight and is therefore almost like a greenhouse. The Paeonia does not tolerate this at all and therefore you should only decide in favor of the conservatory after careful consideration.


In order for the peonies to bloom, the timing has to be right. This is based on the flowering time of the peonies, because the blossoms, as indicated above, must not yet be fully open. This extends the possible flowering time of the peonies after pruning. The flowering time of the peonies is mainly spread over the months May and June, which lives up to the name "peony". However, there are so many different types and varieties that the time can take place at significantly different dates:

  • early varieties such as P. Hybride 'Claire de Lune' shine from mid-April to late May
  • Medium-flowering varieties such as P. Itoh hybrid 'Bartzella' present their roses from the end of May to the second week of June
  • Late bloomers like P. rockii hybrid 'Fen He' bloom throughout June

Of course, the weather is important for all these dates. For example, if you have a lot of rain, the flowering time can be delayed by weeks. This is even the case with early-flowering strains. For this reason, you need to pay close attention to when the flower buds open and cut off the shoots with them just before flowering. As a result, the peonies will flower in the water for about ten days, after which they will begin to wither and dry up. Visual inspection of the buds is significantly more accurate.

To cut

As soon as the buds of the peonies are sufficiently floriferous, cut them off. It is essential that you use clean and sharp tools so that the peony does not become ill and can quickly develop new shoots and buds after the cut. In most cases, the plants are prunable and cannot be injured even if the buds, including the shoots, are cut off more frequently. This is one of the reasons why the ornamental plants are so popular in the garden and on the windowsill in a vase.


To use your peony as a cut flower, follow these steps:

1. Choose a day when the sun is not shining and it is dry. Wetness increases susceptibility to fungal and bacterial infections, while exposure to the sun right after the cut causes them to burn. So an overcast day is a good idea.

2. Only cut in the morning. This means you run the least risk of the plant suffering from excessive sun rays or too much moisture evaporating from the soil, which could lead to stress.

3. Choose a shoot that is long enough to match the height of your vase. This is the only way she can even look out of it and show her pretty flowers. Don't hesitate to cut off a little more, depending on how high you want the peonies to look out of the container.

4. Pruning is done with either rose shears or hedge shears. These have proven to be particularly effective due to their shape and do not damage the plant. When pruning the Paeonia, apply the tool at an angle and do not squeeze the shoot. The cut should be clean so as not to put even more stress on the peonies.

5. After you have cut off the shoot with the bud at the end, the leaves that would be standing in the water are removed. This can start to rot and have a negative effect on the freshness of the cut flowers.

You don't have to pay more attention to the pruning of the peonies if you want to use them for your vase. Since this cut is particularly easy to carry out, you can always cut off flowers and use them as a decorative element. Don't forget to remove undersized or green buds on the stem if you find any. This extends the freshness a little more.

flower in the vase

Holding blooming peonies in a vase

After you have the cut shoots available, you can now put them in the vase. This should be done promptly, preferably immediately. Use for this exclusively lukewarm water, because cold water can unnecessarily stress the plant material, which also affects the freshness. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem at an angle to improve water absorption. In addition, you should consider the following points if you want to keep the plant fresh:

  • Water must be changed daily
  • Clean dirt in the vessel beforehand
  • Re-cut stems daily
  • this allows them to absorb more moisture

If you implement all these steps, you can look forward to a long flowering season of flowering peonies.

tip: Read here how you can support the blooming splendor of your peonies in the garden in order to keep cutting lots of flowers for the vase.

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