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Peonies

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The peony is outrageously beautiful in bloom from springtime to summer–with lush foliage all summer 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 ranges, constructing it possible for you to stretch out the peony season over many weeks. There are 6 flower forms to choose from: anemone, single, Japanese, semi-double, doubled, and bomb. Fragrances vary as well–some plants such as’ Festiva Maxima’ and’ Duchesse de Nemours’ have intoxicating rose-like aromas while others are lemony or have no odor 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 rules for success are simply full sunshine and well-drained soil. Peonies even enjoy cold wintertimes, because they need chilling for bud formation.

Peonies

Peonies induce 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 autumn, as stately and dignified as any shrub.

In mixed perimeters, 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.

Planting

When to Plant Peonies

Peony plants require little maintenance as long as the objective is 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 will be required to move an established plant, this is the time .) Peonies should be settled into place about six weeks before the ground freezes. Spring-planted peonies just don’t do as well, experts concur; they generally lag approximately one year behind those planted in the autumn. Select and Preparing a Planting Site Peonies are not too fussy, but prefer your location wisely, as they resent disorder and do not graft well. Peonies like full sun, and though they can manage with half a day, they bloom best in a sunny place. Provide shelter from strong gusts. 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. Dig a generous-sized hole, about 2 feet deep and 2 feet across in well-drained clay in a sunny spot. The soil will benefit from the addition of organic material in the planting hole. 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. Set the root so the eyes face upward on top of a knoll of clay in the hole, placing the roots merely 2 inches below the clay surface. Don’t plant too deep!( In southern states, opt early-blooming ranges, plant them about 1 inch deep, and provide some shade .) Then, backfill the hole, taking care that the clay doesn’t resolve and bury 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.

Peony flowers

Care

How to Care for Peonies

Like children, young peonies take time to develop. They usually need a few years to establish themselves, bloom, and grow.

Peonies prosper on benign forget. Unlike most perennials, they don’t need to be excavate 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 clay 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 buds. Consider three-legged metal peony rings or wire tomato enclosures that allow the plant to grow through the center of the supporting. Deadhead peony blossoms 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 diseases. Don’t smother peonies with mulch. Where cold temperatures are severe, for the first winter after planting you are able to mulch VERY loosely with pine needles or shredded bark. Remove mulch in the spring.

Pests/ Diseases

Peonies are generally very hardy. However, they are susceptible to 😛 TAGEND Verticillium wilt Ringspot virus Tip blight Stem rot Botrytis blight Leaf blotch Japanese beetles Nematodes Ants on Peonies

Many gardeners wonder why so many ants crawl on the peony bud. Don’t fret! They are just feeing the peony’s nectar in exchange for assaulting bud-eating pests. They are attracted to the sugary droplets on the outside of flower bud or to the honeydew produced by scale bugs 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.

Ants on peony bud

Harvest/ Storage

Peonies in a Vase

Peonies build wonderful cut blooms, lasting more than a week in a vase. For best outcomes, cut long stems in the morning when the bud are still reasonably tight.

You can wrap freshly cut peony stems in damp paper towel and set them in a plastic container 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.

Peony in pink

Recommended Varieties

Peonies are spring-bloomers, but you are able to plan your garden for a successive display of flowers from mid-May to late June. Here are some selections 😛 TAGEND ‘Early Scout’: very early, red single flowers ‘Firelight’: very early, pale-pink single buds ‘Karl Rosenfield’: midseason doubling with large crimson blossoms ‘Norma Volz’: midseason big, white, fully doubled blooms ‘Elsa Sass’: late-season doubled with pure-white, camellia-like blooms ‘Rare Flower of Frosty Dew’: late-season 3-foot plant with bright pink fragrant blooms

Read more: almanac.com

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