Peonies, originally from Japan and China are virtually unrivaled to bring impact and drama to the garden. Once established they flourish for decades, bringing large quantities of flamboyant blooms in a magical range of hues and outstanding and often finely cut foliage. Peonies with their delicate scent and huge flowers are highly prized garden plants. The cut flowers last well in the vase.
Although they cost a little more than the general garden plant, they are extremely long lasting and a worth while investment. These dramatic and beautiful flowers are easy to grow and are at long last available.
A few Tips for Growing them Successfully
- Depth of planting
NB. Plant shallowly. Do not cover the roots with more than 2.5 – 3.5cm of soil. If planted out from the pot, plant at the same depth that the plant was planted in. As plants should remain in the same position for a number of years, planting holes should be at least knee depth. Pots should be at least 400mm deep
Prepare a deep hole, add lots of compost with one cup of bone meal mixed with bounce back to plant. Acid compost can also be added. Peonies do very well in a clay soil. At the bottom of the hole place some well rotted manure well below the roots to provide nutrients as the plant could stay there for many years to come.
Soil should be kept moist in winter, water frequently in summer
A mulch of bark chips or compost around the roots will help to maintain a constant temperature. This can be replenished four times a year. Do not cover the top of the plant.
- Position and Conditions
The ideal condition for peonies is Morning sun and afternoon shade. Peonies can take full sun where summers are not too hot, otherwise a part sun position (4-5hours) is good. Plants which are planted in part shade must receive a lot of light. Plant in the garden or in pots making sure there is good air circulation. Although peonies thrive in icy winters they are grown successfully where there is a marked temperature drop from summer to winter. Do not dig the plant up if you want it to flower the same year.
Feed in winter, spring and summer. Feed with liquid fertilizers such as Multisol, Seagrow all year to feed the underground tubers and the foliage. Feeding promotes flower production.
A little dolomitic lime and bonemeal 3-4 times a year will not go amiss.
As peonies require a long dormancy period cut off all the foliage in mid May to simulate dormancy. Remove all cut foliage as this may cause fungal disease. Mark the position of the root with a firm stake, as all the foliage will die down in winter. Remember the plant is not dead, but making food for the following season. New shoots will appear in September.
As plants may develop botrytis (a fungal disease) spray with a fungal preventative in spring and summer.
Roots can be divided easily after the plant is a few years old, but remember that flowering will only take place 2-3 years later. Best to choose the position where plants will remain and not to disturb tubers.
Look forward to a beautiful summer with peonies in your garden which should last a lifetime.
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