Are you a peony lover like me? If you've ever collected some of these late spring beauties from your yard to bring inside only to discover a small army of ants making their way across your coffee table an hour later, then you'll appreciate this quick tip.
First, how to avoid the problem altogether? Pick your peonies when they are just starting to open. The perfect time is while the buds are still round, but when you gently squeeze them, they feel soft- like a marshmallow. Generally, in this stage the ants haven't yet burrowed into every nook and cranny of the blossom, and any that you see on the outside can be easily knocked off. Bonus? Your blooms will last a very long time if you pick them in this early stage.
BUT, if your peonies are already in full bloom, and consequently full of little anties, I have found this simple method that helps tremendously. -
1. Fill a bucket (or your sink) with cool water.
2. Fully submerge blooms upside down for a few minutes, and gently swish them around until the ants start floating to the top.
3. Gently shake excess water from the flowers, re-cut the stems, and place them in a vase.
4. Allow them to dry overnight on a waterproof surface before moving them to a glass or wooden table to avoid potential water spots.