HOUSTON – Peonies are beautiful flowers and are available at supermarkets in town! But how do you care for them? Check out the video above for all the tips and tricks from Jen McDonald, co-owner of Garden Girls.
According to McDonald:
THE VERY SMALL WINDOW TO BUY PEONIES IS NOW.
Trader Joe’s carries them from the end of May to the end of June. That’s it.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
-Select peony buds. Gently touch the bud~ if it’s soft, like the texture of a marshmallow, you’ll know that they are close to opening. If the bud is too tight, like a marble, it may not open at all because it was likely harvested too early.
-Buds start out the size of a golf ball but will open up to three times their original size. This takes 4-5 days.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR US, WE CANNOT GROW THEM IN HOUSTON.
-They thrive in cool climates like the Pacific Northwest. Peony growers are also successful in California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina—Trader Joe’s sources directly from Holland.
AFTER PURCHASING YOUR PEONIES, HERE ARE TIPS TO MAKE THEM BLOOM AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!
1. Fill the vase with room temperature water and make sure it covers ¾ of the stem.
2. Remove all leaves that will come in contact with water.
3. Cut the stem on an angle to maximize surface area for water intake
4. Add flower food or a half teaspoon of sugar
5. Change water every two days
TIP: IF YOU BUY PEONIES FOR A PARTY AND WANT TO PRESERVE THEM BEFORE DISPLAYING
-You can wrap them in a newspaper while in bud state, and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
-They won’t open in the fridge, and you can give yourself an extra day or two if you need them to really last!
-If you have a bouquet of all buds and need them to open up faster, you can trim the stems and put them into a vase of warm water. Put the vase in a sunny spot. When the buds open up, you can move them!
WHAT FLOWERS CAN WE GROW IN HOUSTON THAT RESEMBLE PEONIES?
Ranunculus ~ plant corms in the fall for blooms in January and February
Dahlias~ plant tubers in April for late spring / early summer blooms
Cosmos~ plant by seed in spring/bloom all summer
Zinnia~ plant by seed in spring or summer and enjoy through fall. The more you cut, the more they continue to bloom.
Garden Girls is a local company that specializes in kitchen garden design, installation, and education for newbie Houston gardeners.
If you’d like to connect with them, click here.