It’s always a sad time when peonies are no longer in season. Even with more farms growing them around the world, there is still what we call the “dead zone”, usually September through October when there are no peonies to be found! For brides planning a wedding during this time, it’s often a big disappointment to learn they won’t be able to have their favorite flower; however, we’re sharing a DIY centerpiece that looks like it has peonies!
You’re probably thinking, yeah right….what looks like peonies? You would be surprised how many people mistake other flower types for peonies. Learn how to spot the differences in our post Is This a Peony?
The closest peony look-a-like are garden roses. They have the same full bloom and ruffled petals like peonies and also come in a range of pink colors that can mimic so closely to the real thing.
A second runner-up would be ranunculus. These blooms with their concentric circle of petals have a similar fluffy look that make them a popular flower choice.
Our DIY centerpiece that looks like it has peonies uses both of these flower types which are available year round, so you can count on them to be available for your wedding or event! They also come in more than just pink colors, so if you wanted more peach or white colors or yellow or orange shades, you’ll have options to choose from! We also make it easy to buy with our Garden Favorites Flower Package. It has all the flowers you see featured in this tutorial in one easy customizable package.
Tutorial for our DIY Centerpiece that looks like it has peonies
The “ingredients” used in this centerpiece:
- 3 peach garden roses (David Austin variety called “Juliet”)
- 2-3 pink garden roses (David Austin variety called “Carey”)
- 3-4 anemones (mix of pink and white colors)
- 4-5 ranunculus (coral salmon ranunculus)
- 5-6 greens (leatherleaf fern, israeli ruscus, bush ivy)
Step 1: Hydrate Flowers
If you have read any of our tutorials before, you’ll know that the first step is always to hydrate your flowers. For garden roses, you can follow our detailed care and handling guide to know how to prep them for arranging. You can also read our ranunculus and anemones care and handling guides for detailed tips. All flowers should hydrate at least 5-8 hours minimum. The flowers you see in these pictures have hydrated 1-2 days.
Step 2: Prep Blooms
I prefer to have all my stems prepped and laid out so that everything is right at my fingertips when I’m arranging. Prepping means removing any foliage that would sit below the water line and trimming any thorns from the roses. Ranunculus can sometimes have a few offshoot stems, so for more unwieldy ones, gently trim off the extra buds so that they’ll be easier to work with.
You may also need to trim your greens into more workable lengths and you’ll also want to remove any leaves that would fall below the water line. If you leave these sitting in water, it’ll make it easier for bacteria growth to start which means a shorter vase life for your blooms.
Step 3: Prep Vase
The vase I’m using in this tutorial is a faux concrete bowl which makes it MUCH lighter to handle! The diameter is about 6” wide. You always want to make sure your vase is clean and filled with room temperature water. If your vase is dirty from the last time you arranged flowers, use a little diluted bleach and brush the inside of the vase to clean it out. Make sure to rinse thoroughly before filling it up with water.
Step 4: Arrange Flowers
I like to start with a focal flower which in this case are my garden roses. The pink variety I’m using (“Carey”) has such a beautiful shape that looks very similar to a peony. Give the stem a cut so that the bloom sits about 1-2” above the edge of the vase. Make sure you cut stems at a diagonal to maximize their water intake.
Add a peach garden rose next to it and then start to tuck in greens and ranunculus to start building the centerpiece around your focal flower.
For this centerpiece, I want a more natural shape (vs. something more formed and structured). So, don’t be afraid to let greens flow out and cut stems so that the blooms sit at slightly different heights to create layers.
Continue tucking the flowers and greens to fill in the centerpiece. As you add flowers, make sure to turn the vase so you can view how it’s coming together on all sides. You’ll find a lot of floral designers like to arrange on top of a turntable to make it easier to see their design from all angles.
Step 5: Enjoy your creation!
Once you’ve added your last stem and you’re happy with the way the centerpiece looks, you’re done! So, do you miss the peonies? I think the combination of garden roses and ranunculus make this a DIY centerpiece that looks like it has peonies! It carries that same full ruffled look, but is a centerpiece you can have when peonies are out of season!
For the arrangement you see in the pictures, the centerpiece size (measured from edge to edge) is approximately 11-13” wide. It’s a great size that isn’t too large, but not too small either. It would look great on a standard round or rectangular table. If you are using smaller cocktail tables, you can scale this down in a smaller vase with fewer stems. Concurrently, if you’re planning to use oversized tables or want really large and lush arrangements, you can scale this up with a larger vase using more flowers and greens or group together several smaller vases to create a larger overall centerpiece.
If you want to shop all the flowers used in this tutorial you can get everything you need in our Garden Favorites Flower Package that lets you customize your colors. Also, if you want to see other flower types that look like peonies or view our recommendations of other alternatives, shop our page that’s all about when peonies are out of season. And always feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We are here to help!
I hope this tutorial inspires you to create something for your own wedding or event. Don’t be surprised when guests gush at how pretty your centerpieces are and ask how in the world did you get peonies this time of year! It’s up to you if you want to tell them the truth or keep it a little secret!