Peony Hydration Prior to Storage and Shipping Increases Vase Life

Cut peony production reached nearly 140 million stems annually in 2019, with production occurring in 20 countries (Kamenetsky-Goldstein and Yu, 2022). The large flowers, diversity of flower color and characteristics, and the high value per stem contribute to its popularity. Peony availability is no longer dependent on the local season as production occurs from southern Chile to Alaska, providing availability nearly year-round.    

Peony can be stored for weeks with refrigeration and much of the current academic research is focused on optimizing storage conditions to maintain flower quality. Peonies also dry ship well. They are harvested when the round flower bud starts showing color and begins to soften (the ‘marshmallow’ stage). Harvesting at this stage maximizes packing density and minimizes susceptibility to physical damage, while promoting consistent opening. Some growers are hesitant to provide newly harvested flowers with any initial hydration prior to storage and shipping for fear that they will open prematurely. We are currently investigating the effects of this ‘no hydration’ technique on peony vase life. 

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