I think I hear over and over, that Peonies are one of the most favorited flowers around. What’s not to love? Perfect colors, a romantic cupped shape, some are even fragrant! They are not that difficult to grow, but they do have some requirements that make them a little more high maintenance than, say, petunias. But they are worth it. Amazing in the garden, and as cut flowers, here’s how to grow Perfect Peonies! (and some of our fav’s to grow!)
There are both herbaceous peonies, and tree peonies. Herbaceous are the bush kind that are the most common, and easier to grow.
Peonies live for up to 50 years, so think of them as a long term investment in your garden.
They like full sun, thrive in zones 3-8, grow 3-4 feet and bloom in May and June, depending on the variety.
If you buy peony crowns in the fall, it’s a lot like choosing healthy bulbs. Choose a crown with at least three good buds, then plant them facing up no more than 2 inches below the soil. Number one way to keep your peony from blooming? Plant it too deep.
Peonies like deep, fertile soil. Basically, that means before you plant your peony, dig deep, add lot’s of organic matter, and make really sure you’ve picked the right spot. They do NOT like to be transplanted. They make their home a forever home, so keep that in mind.
Peony do not have strong stems, so they tend to flop over, especially when in flower. The best way to deal with this is to create a “cage” of support just as the peony is peeking out of the ground in spring. That way, the plant grows into it’s support, gradually covers it, and never misses a beat!
At the end of the season after the plant has died back with the frost, cut back and discard the old foliage. Do not add it to your compost pile, to prevent disease.
That’s it! Love ’em and they might outlive their owners! And in the meantime, provide you with spring flowers that are beloved by both gardeners and non gardeners alike.
These all should be easily available and are good choices for any garden!
Sarah Bernhardt is one of the most planted peonies of all time, and is an old fashioned variety from the early 1900’s. It grows to 36 inches and blooms in June, and has a light fragrance.
Festiva Maxima is another old variety that is still extremely popular, and my fav white variety. Pure white and flecked with red, growing to 36 inches.
Raspberry Sundae is a two tone variety with a round cupped form.
Bartzella blooms mid season, and has a rare yellow peony flower.
Gay Paree is another bi-color peony with strong seems and a mid season bloom.
Big Ben is a good choice for peony virgins, because of the natural vigor of the plant. Oh, and it’s fragrant!
America is our choice for a red blooming peony. It blooms early and has a nice, strong habit.
Don’t you just love peonies when they are still buds and just before they start to bloom!
Finally, want to be more inspired?
If you love peonies, you should also check out our post on how to grow english roses!