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Peonies

Peonies
Peonies

Peony Information

The peony or paeony is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia and are native to Asia, Europe and Western North America. Peonies are popular for growing in the garden and decorating in the home, due to their sweet scent and large, double-bloomed flowers. Try these large, delicate flowers yourself!

Captivate visitors and neighbors with the loveliness of Peonies. These gorgeous perennials are famous for their spectacular blooms, beautiful greenery and rich fragrance. Available in a variety of red, white and pastel shades, peonies feature an abundance of big, sumptuous flowers that bloom amid luxuriant deep green foliage in a much-anticipated summer spectacle.

Where do peonies grow best?

Remarkably easy to care for, peonies are grown from tubers planted 2 inches deep and 3 to 4 feet apart in well-drained soil. They thrive in zones 3 through 8 in full to part sun, and they grow up to 3 feet tall with magnificent 5- to 7-inch blooms. These stunning yet hardy plants don't mind chilly winters, rarely need fertilizer and are resistant to deer and disease. They occasionally require staking, because the big, heavy flowers sometimes weigh down their stems. Although dividing is not necessary, it is possible to divide peonies plants and share them. Because these hardy perennials can live as long as 100 years, peony plants may be passed down through several generations.

Shiny, attractive leaves stay green long after the peonies' flowers have gone, so they are well-suited for borders or walkways, especially in places where their fragrance may be enjoyed by passersby. Elegant and stately standing alone, they can be truly spectacular mixed with other varieties. Soft, pink peonies are a brilliant match to varieties with fully double white blooms. Or complement red and pink cultivars with bi-coloured peonies. Layers of pink and white resemble a creamy parfait, while yellow and white bi-colours lend a cheery air. Peonies also make lovely companions to roses of any colour. They are outstanding as cut flowers and are favorites for elegant bridal bouquets. Choose these splendid flowers for your garden and you'll enjoy their colour, charm and sweet aromas for many years to come.

How do you care for peonies?

Early Spring: Water well if spring rains don't do it for you. Side dress plants with compost or aged manure. If botrytis blight was present the previous season, cover ground around your peony flowers with a thin (one-quarter inch) layer of sand and spray new shoots with Bordeaux mix or lime sulphur. Set stakes or other supports in place now.
Mid-Spring: Watch for signs of botrytis blight and treat as needed, remove any diseased tissue immediately. Train through plant supports as plants grow. Remove side buds if exhibition-size blooms are desired.
Late Spring: Deadhead Peonies religiously and remove all fallen petals or blooms from the garden.
Summer: Herbaceous Peonies do best with an inch of water a week.
Fall: Cut stems of Herbaceous Peonies back to soil level and remove from the area. Dig and divide plants now if necessary. Mulch new plantings with evergreen boughs or salt marsh hay after the ground freezes.

Tips & Growing Instructions

A sublimely pleasant presence in every landscape, Peonies are a breeze to grow and respond brilliantly to the varied needs of modern day garden designs. An herbaceous perennial of the genus Paeonia, the Peony belongs to the family Paeoniaceae and comes to us from Asia, Europe and parts of Western North America. Peony flowers are large, showy and often fragrant, occuring in a glorious spectrum of colors including purple, red, white and yellow. They bloom in late spring or early in summer, delighting all that behold with their wondrous floral display.

Peony plants relish slightly acidic soils (pH 6.5 to 7.0) with good drainage. They tend to do well in both full and partial sun, becoming ideal candidates for borders, walkways, hedges and some of those unsightly, desperately in need for a facelift spots of the garden. Peonies are great centerpieces and excellent as cut flowers. Some peonies have a wonderful fragrance!

Fall is the ideal time of the year for planting peonies. Addition of organic matter to the soil is always useful and advisable. Peonies should be spaced 3-4 feet apart in the garden. Set peony roots into the soil at a depth of 2-3 inches, making sure the eyes are facing the skies. Gardeners in the South looking to plant early-blooming peonies should wait until fall end, set the roots at a depth of 1 inch under the soil and remember to provide them some cover against the sun. Pack the soil firmly around the roots and water well. Check on the plants regularly as they're developing and irrigate whenever the soil appears to be drying up.

Download Breck's Peony Planting Handbook

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