Thursday, May 24, 2012

Peonies are Blooming

Garden peonies are an herbaceous perennial that grow 2 to 4 feet tall and enjoy full sun (or a little shade).

Mine are all in bloom, from white with a yellow center to pink to red to burgundy in color.  They are easy to grow and will provide years of great color this time of year.  They don't like to be disturbed, so pick your location well.  The best time to plant is the fall, they need winter cold in order to flower (so you don't see them down south too often).  They like well-drained soil, and protection from strong winds (neither of which mine have, and they are doing great...).

The buds burst open into large (4" to 6") double flowers.

They have a tendency to fall over because they are so  heavy when they bloom, so stakes or frames can help if you like.

Peonies aren't bothered by many pests.  If they only set a few flowers after the first couple years, its time to divide them and give them some more room.  Divide a clump carefully into pieces with 3 to 5 eyes and a good set of roots.

When the flowers fade, remove the flower and leave as much foliage as possible, so the plant can prepare for next year.  In the fall, after a hard frost, cut the stems down to within 3" of the ground, and then wait for next spring!

I  have 8 plants, set 2 feet apart, and they fill up their space in the garden every year with very little care.  You can enjoy them without knocking yourself out caring for them.  PS - don't cut a lot of the blooms for cut flowers.  By cutting the blooms before they are faded, you're restricting the number of blooms you'll see next year.

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