The peony is outrageously beautiful in bloom from springtime to summer–with lush foliage all summertime long. Here’s how to grow peonies and get the best peony blooms in your garden.
Peonies are perennials that come back every year to take your breath away. The plants may live longer than you do–some have been known to thrive for 100 years.
Many nurseries offer early, midseason, and late blossom varieties, attaining it is feasible for you to stretch out the peony season over many weeks. There are 6 flower kinds to choose from: anemone, single, Japanese, semi-double, double, and bomb. Fragrances vary as well–some plants such as’ Festiva Maxima’ and’ Duchesse de Nemours’ have intoxicating rose-like fragrances while others are lemony or have no aroma at all.
They’re hardy to Zone 3 and grow well as far south as Zones 7 and 8. In most of the country, the conditions for success are simply full sunshine and well-drained soil. Peonies even enjoy cold wintertimes, because they need chilling for bud formation.
Peonies construct fine sentinels lining walkways and a lovely low hedge. After its stunning bud, the peony’s bushy clump of handsome glossy green foliages lasts all summer, and then turns purplish-red or gold in the fall, as stately and dignified as any shrub.
In mixed borders, peonies bloom with columbines, baptisias, and veronicas, and combination well with irises and roses. Plant white peonies with yellow irises and a froth of forget-me-nots; set off pink peonies with blue Nepeta or violets.
When to Plant Peonies
Peony plants involve little maintenance as long as they are planted properly and establish themselves; they do not respond well to transplanting.
Plant peonies in the autumn: in late September and October in most of the country, and even later in the South.( If you must move an established plant, this is the time .) Peonies should be settled into place about six weeks before the ground freezes. Spring-planted peonies only don’t do as well, experts agree; they generally lag about a year behind those planted in the autumn. Choose and Preparing a Planting Site Peonies are not too fussy, but prefer your location wisely, as they resent disturbance and do not graft well. Peonies like full sunlight, and though they can manage with half a day, they bloom best in a sunny spot. Provide shelter from strong gales. Plant away from trees or shrubs as peonies don’t like to compete for food and moisture. Grow peonies in deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist soil that drains well. Soil pH should be neutral. How to Plant Peonies Peonies are usually sold as bare-root tubers with 3 to 5 eyes( buds ), divisions of a 3- or 4-year-old plant. Space peonies 3 to 4 feet apart for good air circulation. Excavate a generous-sized pit, about 2 feet deep and 2 feet across in well-drained soil in a sunny place. The soil will benefit from the addition of organic material in the planting pit. If the soil is heavy or very sandy, enrich it with extra compost. Incorporate about one cup of bonemeal into the soil. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting. Define the root so the eyes face upward on top of a mound of clay in the hole, placing the roots only 2 inches below the clay surface. Don’t plant too deep!( In southern nations, choose early-blooming ranges, plant them about 1 inch deep, and provide some shade .) Then, backfill the hole, taking care that the soil doesn’t resolve and inter the root deeper than 2 inches. Tamp the clay gently. When planting a container-grown peony, cover it no deeper than it grew in the pot. Water exhaustively.
How to Care for Peonies
Like infants, young peonies take time to develop. They usually require a few years to establish themselves, bud, and grow.
Peonies flourish on benign neglect. Unlike most perennials, they don’t is essential to dig and divided.
Spare the fertilizer. Work the soil well before you plant, mixing in compost and a little fertilizer, and that should be enough. If your soil is poor, the time to apply fertilizer( bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure) is early summer, after the peonies have bloomed and you have deadheaded the flowers. Don’t fertilize more than every few years. Help the stems. If peonies have any structural weakness, it is their stems, which are sometimes not strong enough to support their gigantic blossoms. Consider three-legged metal peony rings or wire tomato enclosures that allow the plant to grow through the center of the support. Deadhead peony buds as soon as they begin to fade, cutting to a strong leaf so that the stem doesn’t stick out of the foliage. Cut the foliage to the ground in the fall to avoid any overwintering cancers. Don’t smother peonies with mulch. Where cold temperatures are severe, for the first wintertime after planting you are able to mulch VERY loosely with pine needles or shredded bark. Remove mulch in the spring.
Many gardeners wonder why so many ants crawl on the peony buds. Don’t worry! They are just eating the peony’s nectar in exchange for attacking bud-eating pests. They are attracted to the sugary droplets on the outside of bloom bud or to the honeydew produced by scale insects and aphids. Never spray the ants; they’re helping you by maintaining your peonies safe!
Luckily, peonies are also one of many deer-resistant plants you can grow in your garden.
Peonies in a Vase
Peonies attain wonderful cut blooms, lasting more than a week in a vase. For best results, cut long stems in the morning when the bud are still somewhat tight.
You can wrap freshly cut peony stems in damp newspaper towel and set them in a plastic suitcase in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. When removing the peonies from the refrigerator give the stems a fresh cut and place them in lukewarm water to wake them up.
Peonies are spring-bloomers, but you are able to scheme your garden for a successive showing of flowers from mid-May to late June. Here are some options 😛 TAGEND ‘Early Scout’: very early, red single blooms ‘Firelight’: very early, pale-pink single blossoms ‘Karl Rosenfield’: midseason double with big crimson blooms ‘Norma Volz’: midseason large, white, fully doubled flowers ‘Elsa Sass’: late-season doubled with pure-white, camellia-like flowers ‘Rare Flower of Frosty Dew’: late-season 3-foot plant with bright pink fragrant blooms
Read more: almanac.com