Overview of Peony

  • Peony ‘Show Girl’ is a lovely hybrid peony featuring large and eye-catching anemone-shaped blossoms with blush pink petals on the outside and a ring of creamy-yellow stamens adorned with a tuft of pink central petals at their center.
  • Peony blooms are available in many alternative forms, from single flowers with a number of petals and a large yellow center, to double flowers with literally hundreds of petals making up the dome-shaped center.
  • Peony ‘Pink Parfait’ (Paeonia lactiflora) produces huge, fully double, soft pink flowers with large, nicely rounded guard petals surrounding multiple layers of pink petals, adorned with a silvery edge.
  • Peony ‘Bartzella’ is an intersectional peony, bearing large, frilled, yellow flowers with a flash of pink around a ring of bright yellow stamens, and a delicate, citrus fragrance.
  • Peony bloom time in the garden can be exseemed to about 6 weeks (late April-early June) by growing a combination of early, midseason and late blooming cultivars.
  • Peony ‘Instituteur Doriat’ has anemone-type flowers in deepest pink, with a central core of deep pink, strap-like petals, called petaloids, with white tips.
  • Peony ‘Nippon Beauty’ is a late-flowering herbaceous peony, bearing sumptuous deep red, semi-double flowers in contrast with dark green leaves.
  • The peony is a beloved flower of early to mid-spring — as early as April in Washington, though the main display occurs from May into June.
  • Peony, (genus Paeonia), genus of about 30 species of flowering plants (family Paeoniaceae) known for their large showy blossoms.
  • Peony’s a charming lady, she doesn’t like a spot too shady; likes to live out in the light, dressed in red or pink or white.
  • 10Can I Use Peonies as Cut Flowers?


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    What peonies are most common?

    Herbaceous peonies that are common to many home gardens typically growing three- to four-feet tall with a round shape and lustrous, dark green foliage.Their flowers are large and fragrant, often blooming in late May or early June along the Front Range.In autumn, the foliage can take on a yellow or reddish-maroon color.

    Do Peonies Need Full Sun?

    Plant peonies in an area where they will receive plenty of sunlight.Be sure to water until the first freeze.

    6Can I Grow Peonies in Containers?

    Yes.Provide a nice, big container (at least 18-inches in diameter) and they can last for many years in pots.Some gardeners have kept their peonies in pots for over 20 years.

    1Will Ants Harm My Peonies?

    No.Ants on peonies are harmless.

    2Is Transplanting Harmful to Peonies?

    No.For years we have been told that peonies do not like to be moved and may not recover if we transplant them.

    1Does the plant look healthy?

    Black or darkened stems are caused by a fungal infection (botrytis) also known as gray mold, triggered during cold, damp spells.

    Do peonies attract bugs?

    Ants are attracted to the nectar on the flower buds.They are not necessary for the flowers to open nor are they an indication of a problem.

    2Was it planted at the correct depth?

    Planted too deeply, peonies will not bloom.See the recommended planting depths here.

    Where do peonies do the best?

    Herbaceous peonies do best in full sun but will tolerate light shade.Tree peonies prefer light shade and a protected location.All types of peonies prefer rich, loamy, well-drained soil but will tolerate and bloom in a wide range of soil types.Plant peonies about four feet apart to accommodate their mature size.Herbaceous and Itoh peonies should be staked early in the growing season since the flowers are very heavy and tend hold water and flop over.Fertilize in the spring and mulch in the winter for best growth.

    4Should I Deadhead My Peony?

    With herbaceous peonies, deadheading is optional for cosmetic reasons but necessary if you want to prevent seed production.

    How do I plant peonies?

    Pick a spot with room to spread; peonies don’t like to be crowded or compete with other perennials for nutrients, says Jabco.Peonies need full sun to bloom, which is about 6 or more hours a day.Make sure they’re in well-drained soil because they don’t like standing water.They’ll grow in most soil types, even clay as long as it drains well, but they prefer light, rich soils.If you get a bare root (no soil attached), which resembles a skinny sweet potato, plant it just 2 inches below the soil line, says Jabco.Potted peonies go in the ground in a hole about twice as wide as the pot, even with its depth in the pot.When planting, add some organic matter, such as compost, and a slow-release 10-10-10 organic fertilizer, according to package instructions.Be patient! Some peonies will flower the first year, while others may take a few years to get established and bloom.

    3Does your peony get at least 6 hours of full sun each day?

    Too little sun and the buds may never open.

    How often should I water my peony?

    They are not overly thirsty plants—in fact, overwatering can lead to problems.Give your peony bush excellent drainage and begin watering in spring if you go more than two weeks without rain.Then, provide weekly, deep watering throughout the dry summer months (one inch at each watering).Continue watering after flowering to ensure vigorous plants the following year.There is no need to water once they have gone dormant.

    4How recently was it planted?

    Some peonies take a few years to get established before they will bud and bloom.If started from seed, the wait will be even longer.

    What are the 3 rules for growing perfect peonies?

    Rule number 1: Remember not to plant your peony too deeply.The tuberous roots must not be planted more than about 2.5cm below the surface.If they are planted any deeper they may give wonderful foliage (some of the intersectional peonies, such as ‘Bartzella’ AGM or ‘Julia Rose’ have finely cut leaves which turn crimson red in the spring and autumn and many of the herbaceous or garden peonies have strong red stems and light green soft foliage) but they simply will not flower.

    Do peonies need ants to flower?

    Nope! It’s an old myth.The ants simply are there to enjoy the sweet, sticky nectar from the buds.Just shake ants off or rinse blossoms under cool water if you plan to cut and bring indoors.

    What colors do peonies come in?

    The six-inch diameter blooms come in many colors including white, pink, red, maroon, and bicolor.Tree peonies and Itoh peonies expand the color palette to include yellows and corals.In addition to growth habit and flower color, herbaceous peonies are classified into types based on the petals in their flowers and the extent to which the stamens are petal-like: single flower, Japanese, anemone, semi-double, and double.

    5Is it an older plant that may need fertilizer?

    A peony growing in the same location over many years may use up the available nutrients in the soil and need fertilizer.

    Why Are There Ants on My Peonies?

    Many gardeners wonder why so many ants crawl on the peony buds.Don’t worry! They are just eating the peony’s nectar in exchange for attacking bud-eating pests.They are attracted to the sugary droplets on the outside of flower buds or to the honeydew produced by scale insects and aphids.

    8Did you have a late frost that may have killed the buds?

    A late frost can kill the buds—referred to as bud blast, leaving them frozen in time or causing them to rot and drop off.

    What kinds of peonies can you plant?

    Peonies grow in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8 (check yours here), so make sure you choose one that can survive winters in your area.They need a period of winter dormancy, so they don’t grow in hot climates, says Jabco.There are three main types: Herbaceous, tree, and Itoh peonies.Herbaceous peonies get a few feet tall and die back to the ground every winter, returning with new foliage next spring.Woody, or “tree” peonies are a woody shrub that reaches 6 to 7 feet tall with loads of large flowers.Itoh peonies, developed in the 70s and 80s, are a hybrid of herbaceous and tree peonies.They die back to the ground, but the large blossoms resemble those of tree peonies.Many peonies have wonderful fragrances, too, but read the plant tag or description so you know what you’re buying.Popular varieties to try include Festiva Maxima, Sarah Bernhardt, Lorelei, and Madame de Verneville.

    5Should I Cut Back My Peony in Fall?

    Herbaceous peonies: Yes, you can cut back the foliage to just one inch above ground in fall after first frost.I do not cut back any of my garden in fall and by spring the old peony foliage has vanished.

    When should I cut my peonies to display indoors?

    If you cut peonies after they’re already open, they’ll only last a few days.“Instead, cut them before the bud opens but when there is some color, says Jabco.“It’s called the ‘marshmallow’ stage because the bud feels soft but not squishy.” Do it in the morning, when they’re full of moisture.

    9How can I keep my peonies from flopping over?

    Some varieties have big flowers and narrow stems which makes them doomed to be floppy.

    Can they be grown in a pot?

    While they are happiest in the garden, they can be grown in pots if given the proper attention.Select a large container with plenty of drainage holes.In colder areas, bring potted peony plants in for the winter to protect them from freezing temperatures; plants in containers are more susceptible to frost damage.Additionally, you will need to water more frequently during the growing season, as containers dry out quickly.

    6Did you over-fertilize?

    Exposure to excess nitrogen can over-stimulate leaf growth at the expense of flower production.

    8What’s the Best Way to Propagate Herbaceous Peonies?

    Plant Patents: Some plants are patented and asexual reproduction is not permitted without permission from the patent holder.Patents and trademarks are listed on plant tags.

    How long do peonies last?

    Peonies live for many years in the landscape and for optimal flowering should be placed in a permanent location.If an herbaceous peony fails to bloom after three years in the same location, it is most likely due to being planted too deeply.When planting, the eyes should be placed no more than one inch below the soil surface.Herbaceous peonies can also fail to bloom if they are planted in too much shade.Young plants or recently divided or transplanted plants take time to establish before blooming.Plants that have received excess nitrogen fertilizer will put on foliar growth instead of flowers.

    Should I mulch?

    In very cold climates, they may benefit from a loose winter mulching with organic matter such as pine needles or shredded bark.Keep mulch a few inches away from the base of the plant.Remove the mulch in early spring to allow new growth at the soil surface.For tree peonies especially, winter protection with burlap and a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch (pulled aside in the spring) is wise in Zone 4 and colder parts of Zone 5.

    What Are the Different Types of Peonies?

    Peonies come in a wide range of colors from white to pink, yellow, red and just about everything in between.There are hundreds of different cultivars to choose from, some are herbaceous and some grow as tree peonies.

    7Do Deer Eat Peonies?

    Only if there are few other options.Both deer and rabbits are not peony fans and would rather eat other things in your garden.If they can’t find anything else, they will eat the shoots rather than starve but given a choice, they prefer other plants.

    How do I care for peonies?

    Some peonies need staking if their heads get too heavy and flop over, but there are varieties that maintain a more compact shape that won’t require support.Once established, fertilize your plants in the fall and again in the spring as the shoots come out of the ground.Water during droughts, especially young plants (one to two years old).After peonies bloom, deadhead, or remove the spent flowers, so they won’t put energy into developing seed pods.In the fall when the foliage is brown and dry after the first hard frost, cut herbaceous and Itoh peonies back to the ground.Remove and dispose of all dropped foliage from beneath any kind of peony.

    Which type of peony blooms the longest?

    If you’re looking for an extended bloom season, Intersectional peonies can produce flowers for a period of 3 to 4 weeks, with as many as 30 to 50 blossoms per plant.The blooms of a tree peony, if protected from the hot afternoon sun, can last as long as 14 days.Herbaceous peonies bloom for an average of 7-10 days depending on the cultivar.

    Can I divide my peony?

    Peonies do not need regular division for successful blooming.However, if you’d like to have more, you can divide your mature plants as a form of propagation.The best time for dividing is in the fall when the plant is nearing dormancy.Peony roots cut into pieces with 3-5 eyes have the best chance of success.Learn more about dividing peonies.

    Why didn’t my peony bloom?

    Many gardeners have difficulty understanding why their peonies don’t bloom.

    Should I prune my peony?

    Unlike roses, peony bushes do not require precise pruning to thrive.Often pruning is only necessary in the event of damage or disease.

    Are Peonies Toxic?

    All parts of peonies are poisonous to pets, livestock, and mildly to people, because they contain the toxin paeonol; it’s concentrated in the bark also found in small amounts in the flowers.

    What Do Peony Flowers Mean?

    The peony flower is Indiana’s state flower.It is fascinating to learn all about peony flower’s meaning and symbolism.

    What type of soil is best for peonies?

    Some gardeners have success growing them in their native soil, but most experts recommend amending with organic matter before planting.Proper soil preparation will make it so you don’t have to fertilize for the first few years.No matter what, ensure that they have well-drained soil, as they will not do well with soggy roots.

    Do peonies require complex staking?

    Many should be staked to support heavy blooms, especially if you live in a rainy climate.Herbaceous varieties can be supported with a peony ring, while tree peonies are more suited for the use of bamboo stakes and natural twine.If this sounds like too much hassle, there are many varieties that feature strong stems that don’t require staking.

    When should I plant peonies?

    Plant peonies in the fall.“Peonies have thick, fleshy roots, but in the fall, they put out tiny feeder roots, which absorb water and nutrients efficiently, so it’s really the best time to plant them,” says Jabco.But if you happened to pick up a potted peony at the nursery in summer, don’t wait to plant.Get it in the ground as soon as possible.

    When Is Peony Season? When Do Peonies Bloom?

    Peonies bloom from late spring through early summer, depending on your location and the variety of peony you’re growing.

    How are peonies classified?

    Although there are numerous species and thousands of varieties, the plants are generally classified by growth habit – herbaceous, tree, intersectional.The foliage of herbaceous peonies dies to the ground each fall.Tree peonies are shrub-like with woody stems, and intersectional or Itoh peonies are a hybrid between herbaceous and tree peonies.

    History of Peony