Research on Economics and Markets of Fresh Cut Peonies

Holloway, P. 2014. Peonies a plenty? Not yet, but.... Georgeson Botanical Notes No 132. Originally Published in 2012.

A short summary of peony cut flower production in 2012 reported by the handful of growers who actually had peonies available for sale.


The state of the Alaska peony industry 2012. by Patricia S. Holloway and Kathleen R. Buchholz. 2013. Poster. Presented at the Alaska Peony Growers Association Conference. 13-15 February. Fairbanks, AK.

In 2012, 101,000 roots were planted or in the ground as reported by Alaska statewide peony growers. The number of fresh cut stems sold in 2012 was 25,741. The largest market was domestic sales to the "lower 48" followed by state sales and international sales to Canada and Thailand. Most sales were to Alaska pack houses that packed and graded flowers for sale to all other markets. The top cultivars were 'Sarah Bernhardt, Duchess de Nemours, Festiva Maxima, Coral Charm and Mons. Jules Elie


Production and Transportation Considerations in the export of peonies from Fairbanks, Alaska. by Marie Klingman. 2002. University of Alaska Fairbanks Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Senior Thesis. ST-05-01.

Peonies are grown and harvested as a marketable cut flower worldwide. They are commercially available throughout the seasons, except for July and August. However, this is a time when they bloom in Fairbanks, Alaska. This paper examines the potential of developing peonies as a cut flower industry in this region. Specific considerations of production and transportation and the feasibility of such a venture are addressed. Methods include interviews with persons involved in the industry as well as extensive Internet research. A cost analysis table was constructed to consider potential profitability. Developing peonies as a cut flower industry in Fairbanks, Alaska is promising. However, this study serves as only a guide. Potential growers need to conduct their own research and adapt these results to their own individual circumstances.


Harvesting and post harvest management of Alaska Grown cut flower peonies and hedonic analysis of United States wholesale peony markets by James D. Auer. 2008. University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Natural Resource and Applied Economics MS Thesis.

There has been growing interest among Alaskans for the past several years in cut flower peonies as a potentially marketable crop. This interest stems from the fact that Alaska peonies come to bloom at a time of year when the flowers are largely unavailable to markets worldwide. Beginning anew in the cut flower industry it is necessary that Alaskans learn both the standard operating procedures for the industry as a whole, as well as the specific details of the necessary steps in taking cut flower peonies from field to market. Personal interviews with individuals at all levels of the cut flower industry were done, review of academic and non-academic literature was undertaken, and a hedonic price model was applied to the wholesale cut flower peony industry in the United States. Key points for Alaskans to focus on in flower production are 1) proper harvesting stage specific to individual peony cultivars, 2) postharvest handling and packaging, 2) marketing and cold chain management, and 4) examining closely the costs and benefits of selling flowers in available markets. To achieve success in the cut flower peony industry attention must be paid to all of these key points, especially in marketing the flowers.


An Introduction to harvesting and selling Alaska cut flower peonies by James Auer and Patricia S. Holloway. 2008. University of Alaska Fairbanks. University of Alaska Fairbanks. Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Misc. Pub. 2008-03.

For Alaskans to be successful as cut flower growers it isimportant that they use proper practices in harvesting and storing flowers. Using good practices, developing the unique skills required, and building strong relationships with all businesses involved will allow for the highest quality cut flower to be achieved in the most efficient manner possible. Attaining top quality flowers will allow growers to get the highest possible price for their product, while maximizing efficiency will lead to higher prices attained at market while minimizing costs— which together will lead to Alaska's cut flower industry being a success.


Peonies. An Economic Background for Alaska Peony Growers by James D. Auer and Joshua Greenberg. 2009. University of Alaska Fairbanks Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Miscellaneous Report 2009-08.

In the modern cut flower industry, trade takes place in nearly every country of the world. This high degree of geographic diversity in the cut flower industry can be credited
to two factors: the constant search by flower producers for areas of the world where weather conditions are better suited for growing flowers, and the costs of production are low. As a result of working to optimize these two factors history has seen the regions where major cut flower production takes place shift steadily in the direction of the equator. The primary factor facilitating the movement of cut flower operation to more remote regions, farther from areas of high cut flower consumption, has been the improvement of available modes of transportation. The peony industry has seen the areas where major production takes place change throughout time, but not in the same way as the rest of the cut flower industry. Because peonies need cold winter temperatures to undergo dormancy, locations near the equator by and large do not work for the production of the flowers. This has led peony producers to locate their operations in areas of the world not usually thought of for the production of cut flowers. Further, beyond the usual factors contributing to the motivation of flower producers to relocate, peony growers seek out new regions of the world for their farms to affect the time at which peonies bloom. Because the bloom time of peonies is highly correlated with the microclimate in which the flowers are grown, flowers produced in differing climates provide blooms at different times throughout the year. So, by finding areas of the world with unique climates peony growers can diversify their product in terms of the timing at which the flowers reach their harvest stage. In today's industry peony production now comes from many countries, including Israel, New Zealand, Chile, the Netherlands, and the United States.
In terms of the United States cut flower industry as a whole current trends show decreasing flower production. However, the total value of stems sold has increased in recent years suggesting that flower growers in the United States are moving production toward higher value cuts. In 2006 and 2007 Canada and Japan were the only countries to which more than $1 million total value of U.S. grown cut flowers were exported. Between the years 2006 and 2007 a large increase in the total value of cut flowers exported from the United States to Canada was seen; this is, as mentioned above, possibly due to the decreasing position of the dollar relative to other world currencies. Over the last several years cut flower peonies have shown an increasing trend in per stem prices, but no discernible trend can be found in quantities sold based upon the analyzed data. The data collected for this study clearly shows that a niche does exist in the peony market for flowers grown in Alaska. With the unique timing of their blooms Alaska flower growers will be able to provide a product never seen at this season by the cut flower industry.


Other Literature


The University of Alaska Fairbanks Georgeson Botanical Garden, PO Box 757200, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 (907) 474-1944, gbgardensuaf@gmail.com