Peonies: Pure Elegance!
Paeonies (Peonies) are surprisingly easy to grow given the correct growing conditions.
Being planted in the correct location and given a little attention, most Peonies will grow profusely in the same spot for many many years, and will become a focal point of your gardens.
They thrive in frosty cold areas, and require some cold to flower successfully. Ideally requiring at least 3 frosts a year. They are also incredibly drought tolerant through the summer.
- Choose a well-drained site where they’ll get full sun. Deep, fertile soil is an advantage, however Peonies can still perform well in relatively poor soils providing they don't get waterlogged. Allow an area of around one square meter for when they are fully grown (around 3 years from planting). It's important to keep Peonies away from trees and shrubs (even overhanging branches are a pest) as this is one of the main factors for failure to thrive.
- For normal Herbaceous Peonies, Plant the roots with the eyes facing upwards, and the roots on a slight downward angle, to a depth of 5cm below the surface of the soil.
- For Itoh Peonies, Plant so that the tallest eye is just below the surface of the soil. Plant so that the roots are horizontal.
Caring for your Peonies...
Adding a sprinkling of general purpose Fertilizer to your Peonies once a season can usually help improve the colouring and size of the Blooms - Peonies aren't gross feeders, and to be perfectly honest, don't require fertilizer at all, but we have found that the blooms will be slightly better with a sprinkling.
We would recommend not using compost, as this has been known to cause Botrytis (a grey Mould) which causes stem rot and blackened leaves. On that note, if you find your Peonies with Botrytis, your best method to rid your plant of it is to remove diseased parts as they present themselves.
It's a good idea to mulch over your Peonies, to keep the weeds suppressed.
Peonies don't tend to like being moved, so it's highly likely that you won't see many, if any, flowers in the first season of growth. This is nothing to be worried about.
It's important not to cut any stems in their first year of growth, as they are building up strength for their next season.
Peonies usually flower from late October to Early December, and make excellent cutflowers.
If you're wanting to bring your beautiful blooms inside, then Peony flowers should be picked while they are still in bud form to give them their longest vase life - it's important to only cut around 1/3rd of the stem (half at most), as the plant needs this to continue to thrive.
Removing side buds will increase the size of the main flower. However, leaving the side buds prolongs the flowering display time, so it's up to you whether you de-bud or not.
Once the foliage has died down and changed colour after blooming, cut it off and remove it to avoid disease.