How to Grow Peonies

The following article is sponsored content on behalf of Reids Florists and was written by Guest Author Charity Rose Guevarra.

Peonies are one of the most beautiful flowers to bloom in the spring and bring color to any garden. Peony flowers are in the genus Paeonia, in the family Paeoniaceae, native to Europe, North America, and Asia. There are about 33 known species and are one of the most popular flowering shrubs grown in temperate regions.

peony, peonies

“Strawberry Shortcake” Peony

Peonies are herbaceous perennials, and occasionally woody shrubs, with sometimes fragrant and always colorful flowers in pink, purple, red, white, or yellow (or a combination of colors).  The flowers are very popular as cut flowers and are available in Belfast florists shops in late spring and summer.

When is the best time to plant Peonies?

Peonies can be planted during the fall in late September and October and are hardy in zones 3 to 8. The only things these flowers need is plenty of sun and soil that is well-drained. Peonies do best in areas with at least some winter weather, as they need the chill in order for their buds to form. It’s also best to plant peonies in fall before the first frost – those that are planted in the spring generally lag one year behind those that are planted in the fall.

Peony growing tips

Peonies do best in a neutral pH, humus-rich soil that drains well. Add organic material to the surrounding soil when you plant and add compost around the root zones after planting, for a gentle feed. Bonemeal may be added to encourage blooms.

For the most part, Peonies are not very high maintenance if you choose the proper location for them. Give them lots of sunshine (at least 6 hours) and protect them from strong winds. Peonies will grow in partial shade, but more sunshine means more blooms. If planting more than one, space them three to four feet away from each other to give them room to grow (they will spread) and sufficient air circulation to keep the foliage dry.

You may also purchase bare-root tubers or divide 3-4 year old Peonies to get the tubers. When planting peony tubers, choose a sunny location that drains well and dig a hole about two feet deep and two feet across. Set the tuber with its eyes facing up, about two inches below the surface of the soil.

Peonies don’t need much in the way of fertilizer, but if you see that blooms are not as hardy as they used to be, add well-rotted manure or compost around the root zone after their bloom cycle has ended and only once every few years. Peony flowers are heavy and tend to lay down, so most gardeners add a three-legged metal Peony ring to support the plant.

Note to southern gardeners in the U.S.: Choose varieties that bloom early, plant in partial shade and plant only an inch deep to keep the plant cool.

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