How To Force Peonies To Open And Bloom Quickly


As an avid lover of flowers and as someone who lives where the varieties available are so limited, I'm very frustrated! Sure we have every possible kind of orchid known to man/woman here in South FL, but those are out in my garden and rarely do I cut some to bring inside for photo shoots. Grocery store flowers are dismal and florist shops seem to come and go as quickly as restaurants around here. The flowers above are from several months ago on my desk in my French style home office and are my favorite. PEONIES. Peonies are akin to elusive butterflies and they don't grow at all in the tropical south. So I'm forced to find them at florists and occasionally at...

grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes. This weekend I was in shock to see just a couple bunches of peonies at one of the above and they had been imported from Holland. They were $10 for a bunch, or $2 each and were just tight buds about the size of a quarter...sigh. I bought them knowing it was risky business but I've been experimenting.

And I did some research about peonies and found out how the buds have a wax type of coating on them that is eaten by ants to get them to open and bloom in the garden. It's amazing how nature takes care of these things on her own! I simply have not had much luck with the peonies that I find here in town that are probably picked too early due to the fragility and shipped here from Holland and countries in Latin America.


Here is what I have found works and although it's not entirely foolproof, if you have a photoshoot due or an event...try this method.

How To Force Peonies To Open And Bloom Quickly

  • As soon as you get your peonies home, cut them on a sharp angle to allow as much water to penetrate into the stem as possible. I like to use garden clippers and then remove all foliage, except for maybe a few at the top. 
  • Place them immediately in a bucket filled with enough warm water to cover the stems. Having the water as HOT as your tap will allow is best and add a packet of flower food.
  • Keep the peonies in a warm and sunny (if possible) room and repeat this process every 3-4 hours. 


  • After a day or so your blooms should start to open. If they don't, fill a pitcher with HOT tap water and soak the actual buds face down in the water. This will help to melt the waxy coating when all else fails. Rinse and repeat! 
  • I purchased the peonies above yesterday and they would have never bloomed if I didn't force the peonies to open with the method above. The most STUBBORN PEONIES EVER...kind of like a 2 year old that you are trying to get to eat his/her vegetables!
  • Sometimes you have to massage the blooms to force the peonies to open. I did that with these last night and today we have these...below↓


They are adequate, but again I swoon when seeing peonies that you west coasters get to appreciate and for those of us on the east coast this will do in a pinch. 


Try it and let me know if it works for you. I'll be sharing the first of my HOLIDAY HOME TOURS with some other bloggers and on my own too this week, so please join me when you can! If you sign up for the newsletter you won't miss a thing and I have more FREE PRINTABLES and tips coming...