Growing Peonies -
Peonies have beautiful, soft orb-like buds that open up into layered petals around a bright or camouflaged center. The flowers are great additions to arrangements and brighten up gardens with their large blooms in shades of pink.
Growing Peonies: Tips and Tricks for Planting Peonies in Your Garden
Peonies have beautiful, soft orb-like buds that open up into layered petals around a bright or camouflaged center.
The flowers are great additions to arrangements and brighten up gardens with their large blooms in shades of pink.
The flowers are a national emblem in China and are native to Asia and parts of North America and Europe. The peony is a symbol of wealth and honor in China and also represents compassion and shyness. Peonies grow well in many temperate environments, and prefer a neutral soil pH. They are a spring blooming plant and are a low maintenance as long as they are not transplanted.
Choosing and Planting Peonies
Peonies need full sun and good soil drainage to thrive in in your landscaping or flower garden. They even need the cold winters to ensure their buds come to life in the spring. The plants are small, and one sprout will bear several flowers when it blooms.
After you have found the color and variety of peony that matches your needs, plant them in the spring or fall with a spacing two and a half feet apart. The most common colors of peonies range from white to dark magenta and crimson. You can find peony varieties that are bushes, trees, and a cross between the two.
Ask your plant providing company about which varieties grow best in your climate. You can do research online to determine a species’ growing needs, but a local plant nursery will have firsthand knowledge of what shrubberies in your area need to survive. They can help you determine specific growing instructions and placement of your plants, too.
During the winter when peony plants lay dormant, they need about six weeks of very cold weather for their buds to develop before the spring blooming season comes around. It is not impossible to grow peonies in a climate that does not receive the intense chill needed to develop a bloom. Some growers and commercial cultivators will trick the plants into blooming by providing six weeks with ice therapy: placing frozen blocks of ice around the plant and changing them out as needed.
When you are ready to plant, mix the dirt from the hole with sand and compost in an equal ratio. If you are planting a peony from the root, make sure that the eye faces the surface so new growth can make its way easily to the top. The roots can be planted in shallow spaces only two inches deep. Plant in an area that receives full sun during the day. Water the plants weekly if there is no rain. Depending on the heat of summer, you may need to water your peonies more frequently.
Caring for Peonies
Luckily, once peonies are established, they do well with little care or maintenance. You won’t have to worry about heavy pruning duties or fertilizing the plants on a regular basis to keep them healthy. They can tolerate a variety of circumstances with little to no difficulty.
In the winter, peony plants can be cut back completely to the ground. They develop new growth in the spring and failing to cut back the dying remnants of a season’s growth can inhibit the growth of the next season.
Ants are attracted to peony plants. Unless you have small children or another reason to discourage their attraction, the small insects do nothing to harm the plant. In fact, they are even promoting development within the plant. The relationship is symbiotic. When you cut blooms from the plant, shake them to remove ants or rinse them under water before using in an arrangement.
Deadheading is beneficial for peony plants, because it moves nutrients to places in the plant where they are most needed. Simply pinch off any dead or dying blooms to keep your plant healthy throughout the season. Peonies work well in a bed with several other flower types. Consider creating a bed of flowers that can all be cut back in the same manner every year to make your yearly maintenance routine easier.
If your peony plant doesn’t flower during the first year after planting, don’t be alarmed. It often takes two seasons for a peony plant to reach maturity and start producing flowers. If you aren’t seeing blooms by the second year, look again to see if the plant has enough light.
Peony plants can be successfully divided to expand a bed or plant in a new area. The allocated plants must be handled carefully; they carry a high risk of death if not cared for appropriately. Always divide peonies in the fall, and use a very sharp implement to dig up part of a root. You will need at least three eyes in each division. Water any transplants thoroughly, and know that it may take a few years for the new transplant to start blooming.
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