Peonies are truly spectacular!! Their outstanding scent and flamboyance of bloom make them a necessity in every yard!
There are two types. Both produce the buds for next year’s flowers in the fall. With the tree-type, these buds form on the stems above the ground. With the herbaceous varieties, the buds are formed underground at the crown of the plant.
Most varieties flower for about a week in late spring, but you can extend bloom for six weeks by choosing early-, mid- and late season types. Colors range from white, yellow, shades of red, pink and mauve.
Peonies grow two to four feet tall in sunny locations with well-drained soil. You’ll have the most success with good soil, rich in organic matter. These perennials are heavy feeders.
It’s better to use compost or well-rotted manure to feed your plants than chemical fertilizers. Feeding your plants with that which nature intended just MAKES SENSE! Top dressing your peonies in the fall and again in the spring improves the soil structure. Don’t dump the compost directly on the crown of the plant; make a circle around the plant.
Planting and dividing peonies is best done in the early fall, but may be done in the spring as well. Each plant requires an area about three feet in diameter. Dig a good-sized hole and add some aged organic matter in the bottom. Place the peony in the prepared hole so that the eyes (small red-colored buds) are one to two inches below the surface. Fill the hole and water well. Don’t dig your hole too deep or your peonies won’t bloom.
To avoid fungal issues, overhead irrigation.
With regard to pests, ants are often seen as a “pest” and have been blamed for damaging the blooms. Conversely, it’s been said that the peony “needs” ants to help them bloom. Neither story is true. Ants are drawn to peonies because the buds give off a sugary-sweet nectar on the flower scales. If anything, they may help by predating on aphids. Scales and thrips can be an...