Bunches of peonies in brown paper

Peony season: where to buy peonies and how to take care of them

Posted by and for Home and interiors

Peony season is here! Here’s everything you need to know about getting your hands on some beautiful peonies, as well as lots of pretty pictures to pour over.

If you’ve walked past a flower market at all recently, you might have spotted the tell-tale pink buds of a peony bouquet. That’s right: peony season is officially here – and the fluffy flowers are about to take over your Instagram feed once more.

While peonies have definitely become more of a ‘thing’ thanks to social media, it’s hardly surprising that so many people love welcoming these romantic blooms into their home. Not only do they look great IRL and in pictures, but they add a burst of spring-like colour and fragrance to any space.  

Their appeal is also proven: the flower delivery company Bloom & Wild previously said that, during peony season 2020, it sold two peony-focused bouquets every minute. Its top two most pinned Pinterest posts were also all about peonies. That’s a lot of peony love!

So, if you’re in the mood to moon over the prettiest pictures of coral, peach and pastel peonies, find out the best places to buy them and exactly what you need to do with them once you’ve got your hands on them, sit back and enjoy this beginnner-friendly guide to Instagram’s favourite flower.

Why are peonies so special?

A bunch of peonies
Peonies get their name from Greek Mythology.

Peonies look beautiful but is there more to this pretty flower than aesthetics? Larry Walshe, founder of luxury London florist Bloom which sources flowers straight from the grower, explains the history behind these coveted plants. “The peony’s name is derived from Greek Mythology and is commonly associated with notions of romance, compassion and bashfulness,” he says.

“This stunning flower is an official emblem of China and as such, plays a huge role in Chinese culture, public holidays and religious traditions. It’s the flower with the longest continual use in Eastern culture and is tied in deeply with royalty and honour in those societies. The Chinese name for Peony literally translates to ‘most beautiful’. 

“There’s significance in its colour, too. For example, pink is the most romantic form of peony, making it the ideal colour for wedding bouquets and table arrangements for couples. Deep red is the most prized peony variety in China and Japan and has the strongest ties to honour and respect. It’s also the most symbolic of wealth and prosperity in those cultures.”

Tips for looking after peonies 

Light pink peony flowers
One of the keys to looking after peonies is keeping them out of bright sunlight.

Rosie Conroy, florist, wedding stylist and founder of flower subscription service The Bloom Bunch, tells Stylist.co.uk everything you need to know about making your peonies last at home.

1. To make your peonies last longer, put them in a huge bucket of cold water as soon as you get home, and store in a dark place for six hours.

2. Every two days cut the stems of your peonies (at an angle so they can drink up as much water as possible) and replace the water so it’s fresh.

3. Make sure you choose a clean vase and remove any leaves that fall into it; peonies will get sick if they drink dirty water, just like humans would.

4. It might be tempting to put your new vase of peonies on a windowsill in the sunshine, but direct sunlight actually hurts peonies so keep them somewhere a little further from the window.

Where to buy peonies

  • Bloom

    Charm peonies at Bloom
    Bloom peonies

    Bloom’s selection of peonies is, as the website says, truly ‘fabulous’. The brand is owned by celebrity floral stylist Larry Walshe and he knows exactly what peony-lovers want, bringing together big, blousy bouquets of fluffy charm peonies in the most beautiful colours.

    Think classic peony-pink, pale lilac, hot pink and rich red peonies snuggled together with huge heads that will make a statement in your home.

    Shop Peonies at Bloom, from £45

  • Bloom & Wild

    Bloom & Wild peony bouquet
    Bloom & Wild peonies

    Bloom & Wild famously loves peonies and creates a whole section for them on the brand’s website every year. 

    This year there are seven different bunches that feature peonies, with a mixture of pale pink, coral and bright pink blooms. Bloom & Wild’s florists have created some unique arrangements by pairing everyone’s favourite flower with other stems such as carnations, roses and lisianthus. 

    Shop Peonies at Bloom & Wild, from £38

  • Flowerbx

    Primrose peonies from Flowerbx
    Flowerbx peonies

    Flowerbx has an extensive range of peonies on offer this year, including a beautiful deep red ‘boudoir’ variety.

    We love these purplish primrose peonies because of their maximalist frills and fluffiness. Thanks to their flamboyant shape, they’ll fill out a vase easily and create a big impact.

    Shop Primrose Peonies at Flowerbx, from £55

  • Waitrose

    Waitrose bouquet of peonies
    Waitrose Florist peonies

    Waitrose has a selection of three different peony bouquets, but this multi-coloured variant is our personal favourite.

    Delivered in bud, you’ll be able to watch the pink, coral and purple blooms open up before your eyes.

    Shop Abundance Peonies at Waitrose, £42

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Images: Bloom and Wildcourtesy of brands

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.