Online Peony Nursery

Plant Your Peony In The Spring

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Dutch Gardens, Inc.


What Dutch Gardens Says About Peonies

Peonies are easy to grow; just provide them with the basics. They should be planted in a sunny location with average, well-drained garden soil. A site with good air circulation will help minimize leaf spotting and fungal diseases. Peonies have few insect pests. Some people get alarmed when they see ants on the peony buds in spring. These insects are merely enjoying the sugary syrup produced by the buds and are doing no harm to the plant.

In addition to their extreme hardiness (many peonies can make it through Zone 2 winters!), they are treasured as fragrant cut flowers that make magnificent bouquets. Peonies are also perfect partners for herbaceous perennials, blooming early in the season and then providing handsome foliage that serves as a backdrop for later-flowering plants.

Plant peonies in full sun to part shade. Plant the roots so the "eyes" (nubs where new growth emerges) are no deeper than 2 inches below the soil level and about 3 feet apart. If peonies are planted too deep, they will not flower. Peonies usually do not flower until their second or third year after planting. In the south, it is important to plant them where they will be shaded during the hottest part of the day. Plants can be grown, without dividing, for decades.

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Frequently Asked Peony Questions Answered By Dutch Gardens

How come my peonies don't bloom?
Failure to bloom is usually caused by two things: improper planting and insufficient light. When planting peonies, make sure to plant the eyes (the point at which new growth emerges) no more than two inches deep. Also make sure your plants get plenty of sun. If they're planted in a shady site, they will not flower well--if at all.

Also note that newly planted peonies usually don't flower the first year, which is spent developing a good root system and foliage. By the second spring after planting, you should see your first blooms.

What are tree peonies?
Although tree peonies are related to regular (herbaceous) peonies, they are much larger, reaching up to 6 feet. Their form is actually more like a shrub than a tree. Plants bloom just before the regular peonies; flowers are equally fragrant.

Can peonies be divided?
Yes. Unlike most perennials, peonies rarely need to be divided. The only reason to do it is to get more plants-or share them with friends. It's best done in the fall. Dig up the clump and use a sharp tool to divide it into sections, keeping three to five eyes in each division. Be sure to water the transplants thoroughly, unless you get plenty of rainfall. Keep in mind that divisions (and transplants) might not begin blooming again for two or three years.

Ants are crawling all over my peony buds. Are they going to eat the flowers?
No. These insects are merely enjoying the sugary syrup produced by the buds and are doing no harm to the plant.

The foliage on my peony has blackened and wilted. What can I do?
Peonies suffer from very few pest and disease problems. Nevertheless, they sometimes get fungal diseases, such as botrytis blight, which you describe. Other similar problems include blackened and/or rotten stems, withered buds, gray mold near the base of the plant. In all cases, remove and destroy the infected plant parts. Make sure the plants aren't getting overwatered; avoid sites with poorly drained soil. Good air circulation around the plant will also minimize fungal problems. After fall frosts have come, trim the stalks to the ground and clear away any remaining foliage.

We recently moved to Florida and want to grow peonies like we did in Connecticut.
Unfortunately, you cannot grow peonies successfully in Florida, southern California and most of the deep south. Zone 8 is the warmest zone for peonies. And if you're growing them in zone 8, it's wise to check locally to see which varieties are known to thrive.

My peonies are gorgeous, but when it rains, the flowers bend to the ground. How can I prevent this?
The best solution is a grid-type support, which helps keep the top-heavy blooms upright. Ring supports will also work, but they aren't quite as "invisible" as the grids. Be sure to put the grids in place in early spring--before the plants are more than a few inches tall. Visit the Decorative Stake Shop!

 

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