Planting peonies

Mon. Aug. 15, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Planting peonies

Peonies are a herbaceous perennial (they die back each year) and are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America.  Tree peonies are different.  I’ll go into them in another Garden Bite.

It’s that time of year.  Planting peonies!

Peony 'Bowl of Beauty'
Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’ – this one does NOT need staking!

Give them full sun and good drainage. (Although I have a gorgeous red one that came with my house that’s in part shade)  Dig a hole 1 1/2 feet wide and 2 ft. deep, add organic matter such as leaf mold, peat moss or compost.  Plant the peony with it’s “eyes” up no deeper than 2 inches below the soil surface.  Water well.  You may have to let the newly dug hole settle a bit to make placement easier.

Red peony on the north side of my home!

Red peony on the north side of my home!

For the first winter only, mulch your new peonies with straw or some other mulch AFTER the ground has frozen.  In the spring, pull the mulch up.

Peony 'Coral Supreme'
Peony ‘Coral Supreme’

There are so many beautiful choices.  Be sure to check with your local garden center first!

Peonies produce their extravagant display in early June every year, regardless of weather, because they are among the most durable and longest-lived plants. They have no natural enemies, no exacting cultural requirements beyond full sun and neutral to slightly sweet soil, and they shrug off cold. After bloom is complete, you are left with a handsome mound of glossy, deep green foliage that will happily anchor the next sequence of bloom in the neighborhood. Finally, Peonies make superior cut flowers, lasting more than a week if cut in full bud. From White Flower Farm.

And this is why peonies are not my favorite plants despite their pretty petals!  I could’ve staked it but, alas, I did not.

Peony root!

Peony root!

And now for a shorter, sturdier Peony …

Peony 'Do Tell' does NOT need staking!
Peony ‘Do Tell’ does NOT need staking!

For a more complet list and a looksee at peonies that don’t need staking click on this link to The Plant Expert.


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