Why are ants on my peony flowers?
Ants and Peonies…
A sudden influx of small ants covering peony flower buds may be distressing to a new gardener, but seasoned ones know the developing buds produce a substance that is highly desirable to ants. Whether the ants interact in either a positive or negative way on the peony is unclear. Some believe that ants eat sweet secretions produced by the bud and allow it to open fully—even that the ants are required for flower buds to open fully. Clearly, this is not the case as peony buds will open without the presence of ants. Do ants bring any harm to developing peonies or flower buds?
There seems to be no evidence that ants harm peonies. Ants are an aesthetic problem for those who wish to cut flowers for indoor use. People do not like ants on their dining room table. You can shake any hitchhikers off your flowers, or swish them in a bucket of water, or arrange them in a vase and leave them outdoors in shade overnight and the ants will leave to go back to their nest.
Hope this helps clear up the mystery of ants and peonies.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service