cut flower of the month
Super Floral Retailing has created this page
for the education of store-level employees.
peony To download a reprintable PDF, please go
to www.superfloralretailing.com and select
BOTANICAL NAME COLORS
Paeonia lactiflora Hues include a multitude of pinks and
(pee-OWN-ee-uh lak-ti-FLOR-uh) reds as well as purple, salmon, apricot,
Paeonia officinalis white, ivory/cream, yellow and bicolors.
(pee-OWN-ee-uh o-fis-i-NAH-lis) VASE LIFE
COMMON NAMES If properly cared for from farm to florist,
Chinese peony, Common garden peony peonies will give consumers two to
(P. lactiflora) seven days of vase life, depending on
Photo courtesy of Pacific Flower Shippers
Common peony, Wild peony, variety and stage of development when
European wild peony (P. officinalis) harvested (see Purchasing Checklist).
Peony blooms are large, frequently up to Peonies are available from both domes-
6 inches in diameter, and have tissuelike tic and foreign growers from March
petals. Flower forms include single; dou- through August, with peak season
ble; semidouble; Japanese (single, with being April, May and June. Many white
large yellow centers); and anemone (sin- varieties bloom early in the season —
gle, with powder-puff centers). Many something to remember when selling
Chinese peony, Common garden peony peony varieties emanate delightful scents. white peonies for special events.
vase-life extenders hydration solution, then place them into fun facts
PROCESSING Immediately remove peonies containers half filled with warm (100 F to
WHAT’S IN A NAME The genus Paeonia is said
from the shipping boxes. These flowers are 110 F) properly proportioned flower-food
to have been named for Paeon, a physician to
susceptible to Botrytis (gray mold), which solution. The hydration solution will help the Greek gods and reputed discoverer of the
can rot the entire flower heads. Botrytis the flowers absorb flower-food solution flowers’ legendary medicinal properties, which
loves dark, moist environments, such as after being shipped or stored dry. were known to cure “21 ills.”
inside shipping boxes, and thrives with REFRIGERATION After processing, place FAMILY MATTERS Peonies are members of the
changes in shipping temperature. Remove peonies into a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, small Paeoniaceae family, the only other mem-
any flowers contaminated with Botrytis from and allow them to hydrate for at least two ber of which is Glaucidium, a poppylike flower.
the bunch(es), and notify your supplier. hours before using or selling them. There are about 33 species of peonies (the
After checking flower quality, recut the Depending on variety, peonies can begin two most commonly grown as cut flowers are
stems with a sharp knife or pruner, remov- opening almost immediately after being P. lactiflora and P. officinalis), and there are
ing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately after placed into flower-food solution, but imme- approximately 2,600 varieties.
cutting, dip or place the stem ends into a diate refrigeration can slow that process. HOME SWEET HOME Peonies are native to
WATER Peonies are heavy drinkers, so check Europe, Asia and the west coast of North
purchasing checklist their nutrient solution level often. America. Today, as cut flowers, the double-
Purchase peonies in the “puffy” stage, when CARE EXTRA If peonies appear wilted or oth- flowered varieties are the most common in the
the buds are about to open. Growers cut each erwise water stressed, submerge the stems, United States while the single-flowered vari-
variety at a different stage of bud develop- up to the blooms, in room-temperature water eties are widely sold in Europe and Asia. sfr
ment to ensure flower opening, but most vari- for 20 minutes before processing them.
eties are cut in a tight bud stage, with only a ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Peonies do not appear Some information provided by:
The American Peony Society,
trace of color visible. This keeps the blooms to be affected by ethylene gas. www.americanpeonysociety.org
from getting damaged in transit and allows for DRY STORAGE If you don’t need peonies Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
the longest possible vase life. Avoid opening Chain of Life Network® , www.chainoflife.org
immediately, you can store bud-stage blooms Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
or fully open blossoms, but watch out for dry (out of water) in a floral cooler at 33 F to Florists’ Review, www.floristsreview.com
overly tight buds as well because they will 35 F for up to three weeks. Opening blooms, Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and
never open. Also check carefully for signs of Ethel Zoe Bailey
however, must be placed into flower-food Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,
bruising, rot or Botrytis (gray mold). solution immediately. by William T. Stearn
18 floral retailing may ’09 www.superfloralretailing.com