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Why are there ants on your peony flower buds? And how do you get rid of them?
How to cut and enjoy these beautiful flowers inside, and why you shouldn’t get rid of those tiny ants while the plant is blooming!
It’s one of my favorite times of the year — peony season. 🙂 It’s a downright shame they only bloom for a week or so once a year!
I recently shared how to arrange grocery store flowers to make beautiful arrangements, but sometimes I want a bouquet made up of just one type of flower. Bonus points if it’s as fluffy and pretty as the peony!
I picked up our state flower and planted my first bush a few years back. I saw them blooming at the nursery and thought they were lovely, but I didn’t fall head over heals until last year when the bigger plant really started producing:
Now? I’m obsessed. If they bloomed all summer I’d have them everywhere, but for now I stick with hydrangeas for season-long flowers. 🙂
I’m pretty sure the variety above is the Hermione. The scent is heavy and absolutely intoxicating. I’ve never smelled a flower like it!
There are a TON of peony varieties, probably in the thousands, in pink, hot pink, white, red and coral colors.
I wrote a post sharing everything you need to know about growing peonies years back that is very helpful. They are actually quite easy to grow.
The trick is to plant them correctly from the start!
Once open, the full blooms sometimes fall to the ground because they are so big and heavy. I love them!
Why are there so many ants on peonies?
These little critters can be a nuisance if you want to bring your beautiful blooms inside, (more on that in a bit), but you WANT them while the plant is blooming!
Ants are beneficial insects and not harmful to your peony plants!
Ants eat away at the nectar on the peony bud, and many say that this nibbling helps the unopened buds to bloom. I’ve always been told not to use any kind of insecticide near them for that reason.
Some say that this is an old wives tale, but I choose to believe that the little critters are helping. 😉 At the very least, they keep other insects from destroying the buds as they open up. (Ants are very territorial!)
After the peony blooms, you shouldn’t see nearly as many ants, but you will still have some small insects like on any garden flower.
How to remove ants off of cut peony blooms.
These gorgeous blooms should be enjoyed! If you want to cut them to enjoy inside, I have a few tips.
The easiest way to remove them is to hold your cut stems upside down and give them a good shake — sometimes I lightly smack them against each other. This should remove a lot of the ants or insects.
You can also give them a light rinse in a bucket of water or with the garden hose to remove them.
But I go a little further to ensure there are no bugs inside my cut flowers:
I give them a bath in some cool, soapy water. I went a little heavy on the soap in that pic above, you don’t need quite that much. But the soap will not harm the flower.
Let them soak for a few minutes:
At first the water will make them droop but don’t worry, they’ll bounce back and perk up after drying!
Before I put any cut flower in a vase I cut off any leaves that would be in the water — leaving them can turn the water gross fast. I rinsed the flowers very lightly (they look so delicate but are strong!) and then lightly tapped them against the side of the sink to get most of the water out.
After drying they will puff up like crazy again!:
There are about six peony blossoms in this vase and it’s crazy full:
It’s always an internal struggle for me when my flowers bloom — do I leave them outside and enjoy them there or bring them in? But of course I end up bringing them in so I can look at them all day. 🙂
If you are in the right zone (the further north the better) these are incredibly easy plants to grow. I do next to nothing every year. Here are a few more tips on the peony:
- There are two things peonies need — full sun and a cold winter. They need the cold to create buds, so those of you in the south will probably get a gorgeous green bush and nothing more.
- At least in Midwest, the blooms typically open up between mid-May and early June.
- The blooms will look good on the plant for about a week after fully blooming.
- You can cut down the plant anytime after the blooms are gone, but I leave it throughout the summer and fall because it’s such a big, lush plant.
Peonies are one of my all time favorite flowers!:
Have you tried this little trick for removing bugs from cut flowers? Please feel free to share your tips!
Check out my tips for keeping cut flowers looking great way longer: