Peonies are perennial flowers that bloom once a year during summer. These dazzling flowers are capable of blooming flowers and live up to 100 years. Peonies are also low maintenance plants and thrive better in a colder climate. Even with minimal care, these flowers can live longer.
Planting peonies are easy even for beginners. As long as you have the right condition, it is possible to successfully grow these flowers.
Types of Peonies
Peonies have over 6500 different varieties. But there are only 3 most common peonies that you can find in people’s gardens.
Tree peonies have woody shrubs and produce enormous flowers that can grow as 10 inches wide. It can also grow as high as 7 feet and stems stay above ground all throughout the year. It blooms normally between April and May.
Tree peonies thrive better if planted 4-6 inches below the ground level. They don’t require freezing weather but requires a dormancy period. Forced dormancy can be done by trimming off the bush if there’s no winter in the region.
Herbaceous peonies are low maintenance peonies and can produce flowers up to 100 years on the same spot. It requires 5-6 hours of sunlight per day, little water, and good drainage. Herbaceous peonies die back to the ground during winter but reemerge in spring.
Herbaceous peonies should be planted half an inch above the ground in warm areas while it needs to be planted in 2 inches above the ground for cool areas. This breed also thrives better in the cold climate.
Itoh or intersectional peonies
Itoh peonies are hybrid plants that combine the perennial characteristic of herbaceous peonies and the enormous flowers of tree peonies. It also dies back in winter, a similar characteristic that can be found in herbaceous peonies. It normally blooms around June and requires 5-6 hours of sunlight every day.
Itoh peonies should be planted half an inch above the ground in warm zones while it needs to be planted in 1 and a half inches above the ground for cool zones. This hybrid is more tolerant of humidity and heat.
How to plant peonies?
1. Choosing the right location
Choosing the right location is important for peonies. These plants don’t like to be moved around and resist disturbance. Moving them might cause delay the flowers to bloom. So when choosing the location, make sure it will be the permanent spot for your flowers. Don’t plant peonies on the same spot where old peonies have been previously grown. The old soil is more susceptible for fungal infection and has reduced soil nutrients. This can cause problems and risk the peonies growth.
2. Space them out
When planting peonies, make sure to space them apart by at least 5 feet. This will give peonies enough room to grow. They can grow up to 6 feet wide but they grow very slowly. Also, keep them away from other bushes and trees as they tend to compete for nutrients with peonies.
3. Prepare the soil
If the soil is not healthy enough for your peonies, enrich the soil by adding well-draining soil, compost, and fertilizers. First, dig between 14-18 inches deep and around 18 inches, creating a hole on your flowerbed. Add compost, fertilizers and then fill the hole with well-draining soil. Leave at least 2 inches from the top.
4. Plant the buds
Now that the soil is ready, plant the buds based on the required planting depth from the surface. Or the plants might not grow at all. Add more soil to level out the flowerbed. Press the soil slightly to remove any air pockets or it will dry out the plants.
How to care for Peonies
1. Water the plants thoroughly after planting. Keep the soil moist but not soggy until the plants emerge. And only water them at least once a week after that. No need to water peonies throughout winter as the plants are dormant.
2. No need to use fertilizer but consider it when the peonies’ stem becomes weak and requires more nutrients.
3. Add support cage for your peonies. Peonies tend to fall over the ground without a support. Create a support cage based on the variety of peonies and how tall they can grow. This way it doesn’t limit your plant’s growth while making sure it doesn’t fall over. Add these support cages before Spring or before the plants grow too tall.
4. Remove dead flowers right away or seeds will develop and will take nutrients out of the plants.