Very little can match the natural beauty of peonies and one of our favorite things about them is watching the blooming process, from bud to huge bloom, and seeing the petals change color. For some varieties the fading of the flower’s color is much more pronounced than others. If you’ve thrown away your peonies when they start to fade, you’re missing out! The color transformation is one of the most amazing things to see when it comes to peonies! You may have wondered what is it that causes this to happen?
I asked FJ, our flower expert, for a layman’s explanation of this beautiful phenomenon. He explained, as a peony starts to open, it is at a stage where the pigment (color) is most intense. It’s the flower’s way of attracting pollinators (like bees). As the flower ages, the cut bloom no longer has the energy to spend on producing pigment which means the color will start to fade. The same thing would occur if the flower had been left on the plant. The peony plant focuses on other new blooms and foliage, so older blooms on the plant also begin to fade. Adding to this is the sun whose rays can have a bleaching effect that can contribute to fading peony color.
We show you some of our favorite images that capture this process. I love how a bouquet can slowly change over time with each stem fading at a different rate. It’s a marvel of nature that I will never get tired of watching! The varieties that tend to fade more include Coral Charm, Pink Hawaiian Coral, Lovely Rose and other vibrant single bloom varieties (petals on singles are more translucent so fading is more pronounced). When I have these in the house, it’s fun to see every morning what has changed. The peony season is not long, so I try to maximize every moment of enjoyment that I can get from them. Only when the petals start falling off do I reluctantly put them in our compost pile!
And don’t forget to pick up some peonies while they are still in season!