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Peonies 101 - Everyone's Favorite Flower

InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

It's really no secret that peonies are some of the most prized flowers on the market.  All year round, we wait for those beauties to pop up in the Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for $6-13 a bouquet.  Which, as we know is a steal considering some peonies are $13-18 a stem in the off season.  But, I have to say the grocery store options pale in comparision to the beautiful arrangements that i-Fleur here in DC (and DMV) offers.  I've never seen a delivery arrangement more beautiful than these. (More details at the bottom of the post.)

Peony Facts

  • Peonies initially were grown for medicinal purposes.  They were used to treat headaches, asthma, and childbirth pain. 
     
  • Peony petals are edible. The petals can be parboiled and sweetened for use in teas, summer salads, or as a garnish for punches and lemonades.
     
  • The state flower of Indiana is the peony.
     
  • Peonies are often called “The Dolly Partons of the Garden”
     
  • Long ago, people believed that peonies protected them from demons.
     
  • Peonies are traditionally used for celebrating the 12th wedding anniversary.

Where Are Peonies Grown?

Interestingly enough, Alaska is the only place in the world that supplies fresh-cut commercial peonies in the wedding season from July into early September. Alaska? You may be asking yourself. Surprisingly, peonies could in fact be Alaska’s next big cash crop. Peonies thrive down to 60 below and require cold weather to flourish. A well cared for peony bush can live up to 100 years.

How To Keep Peonies Fresh

1. If you're buying, get the buds.  While they might not be pretty at first, you'll appreciate them more as you watch them grow and bloom
2. Keep them cool. As you would with other fresh flowers, stashing peonies in the fridge at night is a guaranteed way to help them last longer. 
3. Cut the stems at an angle and trim them every day. This will help maximize the water absorption and helps the flower get more water and nutrients. 
4. Change the water daily.  No brainer here - fresh water = fresh flowers
5. Make your own flower food. My Grandmother would mix sugar and water to feed her flowers and they always last longer. 

Where to Buy the Prettiest Arrangements

As always, I'm a huge proponent of supporting local businesses, particularly those owned and operated by women.  i-Fleur is an amazing and not to mention, a far less expensive alternative to 1800-Flowers or other floral delivery services for peonies.  The bouquet you see pictured here is the round petite option. And this stunning bouquet has lasted more than a week (far longer than the grocery store flowers mentioned above.) 

Be sure to check out i-Fleur's website for ordering as well as their social media channels.
Instagram  / Facebook / Pinterest 
Right now, they are also offering 15% off of their bouquets with the code SUMMER15

Happy Summer!

Photographer: Libby Rasmussen