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Ant myths

Myth: Ants help peony buds to open, but if you pick peonies early in the morning you can avoid getting flowers that are covered with ants.
Fact: Like any flower, peonies will open up on their own. The ants are there because they are attracted to the sweet nectar on peony buds.

The ants are harmless, but it's no fun to have them scurrying across the table after you've picked a lovely bouquet of peonies. However, picking peonies at a certain time of day won't keep the ants away.

Even though a rain or heavy dew can wash off some of the nectar, picking peonies in the morning is no guarantee against ants. That's why you have to remove most of the buds on the stems, leaving only one bud to open and flower. After the single peony opens up, the nectar is gone and so are the ants.

If you don't remove buds, after one flower opens, the remaining buds continue to produce their "honey," which attracts ants.

Ant picture