One of the most sought-after flowers for weddings, the spectacular peony causes nervousness for many the bride and their flower arrangers. The huge, long-lasting blooms come in dozens of shades of pink, red and white and make stunning bridal bouquets and centerpieces. Our favorite flower buyer Greg (who is up to his ears in flowers 24x7x365) brings only one type of flower home to his wife… the domestically grown pink peony!
So what’s the problem with peonies? Many flowers in the wholesale market like roses, carnations, and hydrangea are commercially grown in hothouses and bloom year-round. Peonies, on the other hand, are all field grown in many areas of the world, but each field yields one crop of cut flowers for a couple of weeks only once per year. Wholesale flower buyers locate and buy peonies in the US starting in California in mid-May. They then move to the Florida fields and work their way all the way up the east coast right into Canada. So literally each week peonies in the wholesale market are from a different grower and a different state. All this happens for the short season beginning in mid-May and running through most of June. But on top of the sourcing issues, weather plays an additional factor throughout the season. Too Hot in one area and the crop will come in too fast and bloom too quickly, too cold or rainy in another area and the crop may not be of top quality. Once the last field is harvested somewhere in Canada, there are simply NO peonies to be had. Needless to say, the timing for all the summer weddings could not be worse!
Simply put, during August, September & October a fresh cut peony is not to be found.
Beginning in November and running through the winter there is another source of Peonies from Europe. They are smaller and much more expensive than domestic harvests but do provide an option for peony die-hards.
So if you are determined to have fresh cut peonies for your wedding or party, now you know the story, and you will need to plan accordingly!