Peony plants offer big, fluffy, fragrant flowers in a wide range of colors, forms and sizes. These resilient, long-lived perennial bushes have a history of popularity as a garden plant.
How To Grow And Care For Peonies
Peonies grow in zones 2-8 and are best planted in the fall. If you started yours in the spring, don’t worry, your peony will still survive. Plant your peony in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun per day. If you live in zone 7 or 8, your peonies would appreciate some shade, but will still bloom even if they don’t get it. Plant your root so that the top is about a 1/2 – 2 inches below the ground. If you plant them too far down, they may not bloom. And that my friends, would be a crime.
Conditions for Peonies
Most peony plants are sun-lovers. They require almost nothing but full sun and patience. However, tree peonies prefer light shade during the heat of midday, which encourages the blossoms to last 10 to 14 days, rather than fading quickly (two to three days) in full sun. In China, parasols are enlisted to protect the delicate flowers from sun.
Start working your soil in advance and prepare the area so that the roots of your peonies can begin to settle. Peonies need fertile, moist soil, but they also need the soil to be well-drained. If the area in which you intend to plant your peonies is prone to water puddles, then this is not the ideal area for your peonies. Instead, choose an area of your yard that gets full sun, and is less susceptible to collecting water.
At the end of a full year, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the pruning needs of your peonies. This will help encourage healthy foliage growth and beautiful blooms in the years to come. Before Winter settles in, cut back your plant all the way to the ground.
Pests and diseases
Fortunately, they are deer and rabbit resistant. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to botrytis blight, a fungus that can cause young peony shoots to rot, unsightly spots on leaves and prevent flower buds from developing. Learn more about issues that can arise in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s guide to peony problems.
Though peonies actually enjoy Winter weather, they do need some protection from bitter temperatures. This is where mulch comes in. You can purchase mulch and then place a generous amount atop the soil where your peony bareroots have been planted. This will discourage the plant from trying to grow upwards into the frosty weather, which can ruin its chance of creating beautiful foliage. Once your peonies have lived in the area for more than a year, Winter mulching will become unnecessary.