When the buds have reached a certain size and softness, they are ready to be cut. Depending on the weather and variety most peony flowers can be cut from half May to the end of June. The harvest continues for approximately six weeks.
When the peony flowers have been cut, they are put in wooden boxes (cubic boxes), with the opening to the side. When the boxes are brought back to their normal position afterwards, the peony stems are straight up. This way the boxes with the peonies can be placed in piles in their storage.
The Peonies are usually cut off at a length of 60 cm. It is very important that all cutters cut at the same length because if this should differ, it will cost precious time to sort all flowers by length. During the harvest time the flowers can either be sold directly, or the cultivars that are vulnerable to botrytis can be prepared first.
It’s not possible to store the flowers too long because that way you’re risking a loss of approximately 40% depending on the weather conditions during the harvest. Storing peonies after harvesting is tempting but takes a risk as well. On the one hand side flower prices often tend to go up later after most peonies are harvested. On the other hand while being stored cool the quality of the peony flowers decreases which has a negative impact on the price.
Therefore it is important that a good eye is kept on the quality when prolonging the season by keeping the peonies in storage.