We have a few peony plants around the yard and every Spring around Mother’s day they bloom into these beautiful soft pillowy flowers. They are absolutely gorgeous and I love cutting them and bringing them in to display around the house, but the ants love them almost as much as I do. We have found a few ways to easily remove the ants from the flowers so you can display them inside without having to worry.
The first and most simple way is to clip the flowers early. When the bud begins to open and a little of the flower color is showing. The bud should be a little squishy to the touch like a marshmallow. Cut the stem and shake off any ants that might be on the outside of the bud. Most of the times at this stage, no ants have been able to get into the bud and petals. Bring the stems inside and place in a vase or mason jar with fresh water.
When the flowers are in this stage you can also store them for future weeks. Cut the stems when only a little of the color of the petals is showing. Remove all of the leaves and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Make sure to close both ends so the entire thing (stem to bud) is sealed up. Store it horizontally in your refrigerator for up to a month. When you’re ready to use them, remove the plastic wrap and recut the bottom of the stem. Place the stem in tepid water and allow the flower to acclimate. A perfect way to keep Spring going long into Summer.
If some of the flowers on your plants outside have already opened and you see ants you can place the cut stem in a bowl of water to wet the petals. Gently shake the flower and the ants should come off. We’ve also found that if you head out to cut right after a Spring rain, most of the ants have left the flowers and you can remove the ones left.