In China, white peonies have long been used for its medicinal properties; The peony's roots and seeds were frequently used to treat headache and asthma and to relieve pain associated with childbirth. Little wonder then, that the Chinese call it 牡丹 (mǔdān) which means “the most beautiful”, 富貴花 (fùguìhuā) which means “flower of riches and honor” and 花王 (huawang) “king of the flowers”.
Peonies come in beautiful shades of purple, pink, red, white and yellow colors. Pink peonies symbolise love at first sight and are used frequently for weddings. White symbolises shyness or shame, and are often used as apologies or regret. Red is the colour of royalty in China, and so represents wealth, prosperity, honour and respect. And although red symbolises love and passion in Western culture, but for us, red peonies signify unattainable or striking beauty. Violet and purple peonies are closely related to the myth of Paeon, and without looking too closely, could symbolise envy or encouragement depending on interpretation.
What makes the peony even more precious, is while it is an evergreen shrub that when cultivated properly, can last up to 100 years (or more!), its blooms can only last 5–10 days, blooming once a year.
So, once cut, how can we make sure they last as long in our homes? Here’re 3 KEY things to keep in mind; From choosing your peonies, to processing to maintaining them!
- Gently touch the buds before buying—if they're soft & bouncy like a marshmallow, they're close to opening
- Buds aren't always pretty, and slight deformities—like little brown spots—are normal – choose buds when you want to keep your peonies for longer or if you enjoy the wonder of seeing them slowly open
- Avoid ones that feel hard like a marble because they may not be developed enough to open and will need some intervention/ manipulation of the flower
- Prepare your clean vase with clean water
- Remove all the leaves from your peonies – this will ensure the bloom gets all the water to keep it hydrated and to prevent the leaves from rotting in the water, causing bacteria to form
- Cut your stems at an angle with a clean shear or knife – this creates a larger surface area for the stem to draw in water – remember HYDRATION IS KEY
- Cut your stems every other day or when you change the water
- Keep your cut blooms in a cool area of your space and away from direct sunlight
TIP: Help your peonies bloom faster by trimming the stems and put them directly into warm water. Put the flowers, vase and all, in a warm place in direct sunlight and check on them periodically. Once they start opening, you can move them to wherever you'd like them to be.
- For beginners, we want to keep it simple with similar shapes, shades and size. Paint your peonies with hydrangeas and ranunculus to keep your arrangement in an easy round shape
- For the adventurous, you can pick blooms like, heather, yarrow, irises, eustomas and various foliage. We like to recommend you pick companions that have the same bloom window as the peony so your arrangement can last for longer!
And remember, HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE with CLEAN WATER and stay out of the heat and direct sunlight to help them last as long as they can.
Oh, and one last thing… check out if we have peonies at BloomsXTwigs. Our beautiful blooms get a refresh weekly and you can pick them up in store at Simei or Punggol and online as well!
Until our next blog, XOXO
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