Peonies: Everything you need to know

Considered to be the Instagrammer's flower of choice – the hashtag #peonies has been used nearly 2.8 million times on the app – peonies are luscious, luxurious and larger than life.

They're also a limited edition flower, growing and blooming in a very short space of time each year, which makes them all the more special.

We love how peonies can go from tight, spherical shaped buds to lush, fluffy flowers that don't need support from any other blooms to look good in a bouquet. They're the Cinderella of the flower world going from drab to fab but they don't lose their fanciness at midnight.

Want to know more about these stunning flowers and what they mean when featured in a bouquet? We've rounded up everything you need to know in our guide.

10 facts about peonies

1. Peonies are native to China
But these days they're grown around the world as they're in such high demand come late spring. The UK, Holland and France now produce peonies that can be enjoyed in those stunning seasonal bouquets.
2. Peony flowers open up to three times their original size
Peonies will arrive in a bouquet in tight, golf ball sized buds but these quickly unfurl to reveal the gorge puffy blooms you know and love. Each petal loosens up so the flower can open up in all its glory.
3. Peony plants can live for more than 100 years
We wish it were the same for the flowers! But this means if you're the green-fingered type you can plant one of these beauties and enjoy it for the rest of your life in your garden. Unlimited peonies? What's not to love?!
4. Peonies have been around since 1,000BC
These gorgeous blooms have been flourishing for 4,000 years – that's a pretty long reign of power in the flower world.

5. Peonies are the flower for 12 year wedding anniversaries
Did you say 'I do' between April and June? Then a big old bunch of peonies is the choice of blooms to let your partner know you feel the same way about them as you did on that special day.
6. The Chinese for peony is sho yu which means 'most beautiful'
We couldn't agree more! We think they're one of the most beautiful blooms around whether they're stealing the show in a bouquet or featured in a flower wall.
7. Peonies were once believed to have medicinal uses
While we don't fancy swapping our paracetamol for a peony flower, the roots of these blooms were once believed to cure snake bites and even epilepsy. They're still used today in some Chinese remedies to lower pain and improve blood flow.

8. There is a city dedicated to peonies in China
Luoyang, also known as the City of Peony, the hype is real when it comes to peonies. Here you'll find a garden where over 100 varieties of this flower bloom. There's also a festival held each year to celebrate the peony's beauty where you'll enjoy folk performances and see these stunning flowers on display in all their glory.
9. Ants love peonies in the garden
While you may not like the thought of creepy crawlies on your flowers, we think the idea of ants crawling inside the peony petals to get at their nectar and getting cosy inside the bloom is super cute. Plus, the ants won't do the plant any harm.
10. Peonies come with some superstitions
It's believed that if you have a peony plant in your garden and it's full of flowers this means you'll enjoy good luck. If the flowers look a little lacklustre, however, this means you should be prepared for some misfortune.

Peony Flower Meaning

Peonies have many meanings depending on their colour. Overall, the flower is considered to symbolise bashfulness or good luck, while in China and Japan the blooms mean wealth, honour and fortune.

Peony flowers are also said to represent compassion, making them a strong choice for many looking for sympathy bouquets.

Peonies and mythology

Peonies meaning by colour

When do peonies bloom?

You can enjoy peonies between late April and mid-June. That's right, it's a pretty slim window but we think that makes these stunning flowers extra special. Mark it on your calendar and look out for these gorgeous blooms at this time of year.

How to get peonies to bloom faster

On a tight deadline and need your peonies to open up quicker than usual? Then pop them in a warm, bright room. Peonies love to bask in the sun (who doesn't?) and soon their petals will unfurl to reveal the gorgeous flower in its final form. You can also pop them in warm water and they'll open up even faster!

How to make cut peonies last longer

With such a short window for enjoying these blooms, you'll want to do all you can to enjoy them just that little bit longer. Here are our care tips for peonies:

  1. Remove your peonies from their packaging.

  2. Take a moment to remove any leaves that may sit below the waterline in your vase – If they are in the water too long they can start to breed nasty bacteria that your peonies won't like.

  3. Cut 2-3cm off the stems of your peonies – Do this diagonally and with a sharp knife or scissors to encourage your flowers to take in water. It's thirsty work being that beautiful!

  4. Pop your flowers in a vase with clean water – Be sure to also add any plant food that your bouquet came with!

  5. Change the water regularly – This ensures it stays fresh and no harmful bacteria can get at your blooms.

Keep your peonies in a warm room if you want them to open up quicker. But bear in mind that the faster they open up, the shorter their vase life. If you want to slow the flowers down, pop them in the fridge – the coolness of the fridge will stop them from opening up as quickly.

When to send peonies

Uses for peonies

Ready for peony season already? We certainly are! Don't forget our tips and tricks to help you enjoy your bouquet of peonies for as long as possible and wow your friends with your new found peony knowledge!