Peony Growing Tips
I often find myself writing a gardening post after a friend asks me a question about a specific plant. This week I received a few questions about growing peonies. In response, I thought I would share peony growing tips that I hope you will find useful.
Peonies have much too offer and are one of my favorite flowers. Not only does the peony offer gorgeous blooms, it has lush foliage that stays green late into fall. They make excellent cut flowers and a number of the varieties have a beautiful fragrance. This perennial is long lived with some varieties being said to last for one 100 years.
There are 4 different types of peonies: woodland, herbaceous, intersectional, and tree. This post is focused on the herbaceous type. They come in a number of different colors, including white, pink, coral, red, and multi-colored. Similarly, there are a number of different bloom types, including single, double, and semi-double. They can range from two feet to over three feet in height. Herbaceous peonies start blooming in late spring into early summer and bloom for approximately one week. Once the blooms have past, deadhead them and enjoy the foliage for the remainder of the season.
Caring For Peonies
Although peonies are easy to grow, there a a few things you need to know to be successful with them. First, peonies are fickle when it comes to moving. If you do have to move them your best bet is to do so in the fall. Prepare your hole and plant your peonies with the eyes facing up approximately 1-2 inches deep. If you are in a warm climate plant 1 inch deep and plant 2 inches deep in areas that have cold winters. When planting ensure that your soil is neither too sandy or too heavy with clay. Peonies like a fertile, well drained soil. Lastly, plant three feet apart in an area that gets plenty of sunshine.
Peonies are very versatile. Due to there shrublike appearance, they can be used to create a lovely hedge (that gets cut back in late fall). They also make a beautiful focal point in a garden when only one is planted. They pair well with many other perennials including roses and irises. You might also consider planting them with perennials that will bloom after the peonies such as yarrow, phlox, or pincushion.
Peonies are an easy plant to care for once established. They do sometimes have issues with wilt, blight, and botrytis (gray mold). It is best to ensure that they have good air circulation and that they are cut back in the winter. They are also sometimes bothered by Japanese beetles and nematodes. The good news is that they are not favored by deer. This is a major benefit in my area.