9 Tips for Growing the Perfect Peonies
The tips we are about to present to you today was shared by Claire Austin, an award-winning plantswoman, a specialist in herbaceous peonies, irises and perennials, and the current Chair of the Peony Society. She has a nursery that is offering over a hundred varieties of herbaceous plants, and she is extremely knowledgeable about these plants.
Now, lets take a look at the tips on how to grow the perfect peonies!
1. Shallow planting
It is best to plant peonies between October and March. The most important thing is how deep you plant them, as too deep will cause them to fail without giving flowers. Herbaceous peonies should be planted with the eyes (the budding stems) no more than 2 centimeters beneath the surface of the soil.
2. Make sure you cover the basics.
Peonies are easy plant to grow, even though there are myths that surround them. They need lots of water as long as they don’t get waterlogged, so plant them in soil that drains well. Clay soil is fine as long as it doesn’t stay wet. Peonies need full sun and give the best flowers in that position, however, they can tolerate light shade as well.
3. Patience is key.
Peonies may take 3 years to give their stride and flower freely, but they can live up to 50 years. If you move to a different home take your precious peonies with you as they will easily adopt to new surroundings.
4. Move them at the right time.
The best time to move them is when the plant is dormant, sometime between October and March. Dig around the roots, disturbing as little of the rootball as possible and transplant them to their new home. It is important to cut them cleanly with at least three stem buds on each section.
5. Make sure you cut them properly before arranging them in a vase
Peonies make amazing cut flowers and last longer in a vase than garden roses (up to 10 days). The blooms are large, soft, silky and romantic. You need patience if you want to grow them for cutting. It will take up to 3 years for the most cut varieties to produce enough blooms for cutting. Among the best varieties include: “Monsieur Jules Elie,” pure white “Festiva Maxima” and the famous “Sarah Bernhardt.”
6. Know what to do with ants
We often get a lot of questions on how to get rid of ants on peony flower buds. You shouldn’t. Ants do no harm. Appearing as the bud swells, they feed on the sugary substance it exudes and may sometimes even help the bud to open properly. The ants will disappear as soon as the buds start opening.
7. Take a walk on the Intersectional Side!
Breeders have crossed tree peonies with herbaceous peonies to produce what are known as Intersectional peonies.
These new introductions are rare and are more expensive than herbaceous peonies but they have wonderful green, leathery foliage and appear completely disease-free.
One of the most famous is “Bartzella,” which has large, gentle lemon-scented, frilly, yellow flowers.
8. Consider their scent.
Many peonies are fragrant. In some varieties the scent is light, in others it is released only after the flowers have been picked and placed in a vase.
9. Did you know that peonies are rabbit-proof?
If you struggle with rabbits invading your garden, get planting peonies! Rabbits do not like the taste of plants with large flowers such as peonies, irises, lupins, oriental poppies and kniphofia, and won’t be tempted to snack on their roots, stems or blooms.