How to Force Peonies to Open

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There’s nothing more frustrating than ordering flowers for a special occasion–and finding many of the buds tightly closed. Letting nature take its course is always advisable, but in a flower emergency, human hands may have to step in. Peonies, in particular, can add a softness and romance, as well as a heady fragrance, to any occasion. But neither will be in evidence if the buds are closed. Happily, encouraging peonies to open can be a fairly simple matter. Unfortunately, until peonies are cut, there is no way to make the buds open.



Things You’ll Need
  • Cut peonies
  • Sunlight
  • Warm water
  • Warm area
    1. Test the buds with your fingers. If they are rock-hard, it is unlikely you will be able to coax them open. If they feel softer to the core, almost marshmallow-like, you will likely be able to work with them. Another indication you may be able to force them to open is that one of the petals appears to be starting to separate from the bud.
    2. Snip off the stems while you are holding them underwater. Although the stems have been cut once, when you are ready to try to open the buds, you will have to cut them again.
    3. Place the stems in warm water. Warm water will travel to the buds via the newly cut stems, encouraging the buds to open.
    4. Place the peonies in a warm area. Warm air will further aid in coaxing the buds open.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are cutting peonies from your own garden, be sure the buds are at "marshmallow" stage, that is, soft to the center, before you cut them.

  • You will need more heat and more time to get a double bloom to open, as compared with a single bloom.

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