How To Grow Peonies

How To Grow Peonies

Peonies are very popular garden plant with exquisite flowers and forms and colors.  Single flowered, double flowered, semi double, some with bombs in center and  a few other forms.  In my area they start blooming in June and have bloomed through the month of June.  The tree peonies bloom at least a month earlier.  Even after the flowers are finished, the beautiful foliage lasts througout the summer.

There are three types of peonies.  Herbaceous Peonies die down in the fall.   A Tree Peony will lose its foliage the end of the year, but a woody framework remains and sprouts new leaves and flowers in spring.  There are also hybrids between the two called Intersectional Peonies.  Peonies have flowers that range in the whites, pinks and reds to maroon.

These are some of my favorite spring flowers.  I now have about 7 or 8 of them in my garden.  I had lusted over a yellow one, which is rare and rather expensive.  I was fortunate that my work crew gave me a retirement gift of a nursery gift certificate.  I promptly spent this on my prized yellow peony.  The other colors I have are white, red, deep red, and pink.

When To Plant Peonies – Fall best time to plant peonies before hard freeze, although they can be planted in early spring.

Where To Plant Peonies – Peonies prefer cooler climates Zones 3-8 , although they may grow in zones 2 or 9 if sheltered.  Peonies prefer a sunny well drained location (6 hours), although some can tolerate light shade.  They like well drained soil and cant tolerate standing water.  They may rot.

How To Plant Peonies – Peonies need about 3 feet to grow.  To plant them, you need to dig hole large enough for the tuber and roots.  Each tuber  should have between 3-5 eyes.  Herbaceous peonies should be planted in fertile soil, amended with compost or well rotted manure.  They prefer pH between 6-7 but can tolerate a wider variation in pH.  Plant the tuber so that top bud  is about 2 inches below surface. (If they are planted too deep they won’t bloom, too shallow they become subject to winter damage.)  You should add some mulch which will retain moisture.  Tree peonies need to be planted more deeply than herbaceous peonies.

Once established peonies require little maintenance and are also drought tolerant.  Spread occasional granular fertilizer in spring.  There is no need to fertilizer if plant is doing well without it.  Remove foliage at end of season.  And be prepared to enjoy the peonies in the home garden for years to come.