Peonies are bottom feeders - How to Use Fertilizer
Keep all fertilizer away from the crowns of the plants. There are no feeding roots there. Spread the fertilizer in the area 6" to 18" from the crown and cultivate that into the soil carefully. Use fertilizer with discretion as over fertilized plants will not bloom well and soon run their course.
Optimum timing of fertilization is right after blooming is finished. Depending on the variety, peonies finish blooming late May to early June.
Then in September, a feeding of bone meal or super phosphate may improve the following spring blooms.
Debudding. It is helpful to debud to 1-2 buds the first year to allow the energy to go to the roots. Much better to have none or much less flower the first year. You will have a much better experience next year with your flower production. Make sure that you cut, if possible, only to about 3-5 inches of stem. Again, you want the plant to get stronger.
Caution on Weeding
Cultivation should be shallow, just to keep down the weeds. Cultivating more than 2 inches deep is likely to injure the shallow peony roots.
As you can see from the simple arrangements below, peonies make wonderful flowers for the home. Let's talk about How to Cut your Peonies for your home floral arrangement.
Cutting the peony flowers when the buds are soft allows the flower to open at a slower rate as it is opening in the cool of your home instead of the heat of the garden.
Look at the buds in the picture.
Remove flowers as soon as they fade to prevent seed develop-
ment, which can use up needed food reserves.
Diseases that affect Peonies
Symptoms: wilting, black leaves and/or buds and stems. This can spread fast so it requires immediate action
To prevent disease make sure your garden is kept clean, that air circulates, and that plants are kept healthy. Messenger™ and Neptune’s Harvest™ are two organic products to keep your plants healthy and disease resistant.
Botrytis - young stalks wilt and die, buds turn black. Onset is in early spring when temperatures remain below 70 degrees. Botrytis will kill tree and herbaceous peonies if not treated. Botrytis thrives in cool humid conditions and can be minimized by planting peonies where they have good air circulation. When noticed, cut off diseased portions of the plant, dipping the pruners in a 10% solution of bleach between each cutting to ensure the disease does not spread. Throw out the diseased portions; do not compost.
A more aggressive option would be to use systemic fungicide labeled for use on peonies.Check with your local cooperative extension.
Leaf blotch develops during warm, moist weather. Glossy, dark purple spots form on the upper surfaces of leaves. Again, removal of infected leaves and good fall cleanup are necessary for control. Avoid overhead irrigation.
*Commercial products mentioned here are for informational purposes only. We do not endorse these products.
dramatic and fragrant flower arrangements.
The buds start out as hard marble like formations and as they begin to open they get soft like a marshmallow.
Cut the peonies at this stage before the ants find their way into the heart of the flower.
Peony Farm Gardens
Dig a hole large and deep enough to spread the roots, approx 12”-18” deep and 18”wide.
Incorporate well rotted organic matter such as compost, pine bark or well aged manure, approx 60/40 ratio.
Or, you can amend the soil with additions of peat moss (1 part to 3 parts clay soil), perlite and coarse sand.
Peonies likes moisture, but doesn't enjoy wet feet.
Add ¼ cup of fertilizer (5-10-5) to half of the soil.
Place this soil into the bottom of the hole.
Plant with the tips of root downward and eyes up 1-2” from the surface of the soil.
Be careful not to add fertilizer to the soil that will surround the plant.
Then back fill by adding the soil without the fertilizer, adjusting so that the root will be at the right level according to your plant's hardiness zone.
You can mulch the peonies during fall and winter. Remove the mulch at spring time.
Planting in Containers
3 ga container is preferable when planting in a container..
Gently loosen from pot. Plant same level as was in container
Follow the procedure above.
Transplant only in cooler months of spring or fall
If left in container, protect from severe winter freeze
Peonies develops huge roots and does not like to be moved.
It is, therefore, not a good candidate for container planting.
However, this gives you a great opportunity to choose the best location for your plant. Move it around (while in the container) until you find the area where it would grow well and a great viewing area.
Healthy Bare Root Peony with 3-5 eyes
Various Peony Varieties at Peony Farm
We have provided some information below regarding the planting and care of your Herbaceous Peonies for a successful planting (which starts with selecting healthy roots from reliable sources) to ensure that your peonies bloom; and a long time enjoyment of your peonies in your peony garden.
Our divisions are prepared to meet industry standards of 3-5 eyes. However, because our divisions are cut from (3rd) third year plants, they have initial flowed buds in strong bud roots as compared to divisions from (1st) first year plants.
After planting, water peony plant thoroughly and then weekly or as needed.
What to do with Flop Overs
Peonies that grows 3-4 feet high and the double hybrid variety need support. They flop over when the big flowers get water logged from the rain or when heavy wind blows. Thus, it is best to stake your plant. When you are staking, add hoops or supports in early spring when the leaves begin to emerge from the ground - otherwise it will be too late, as peonies grow very quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes ready-made supports are too short to support heavy flowers on taller stems.
The best way to support these stems is to set four bamboo stakes into the ground around the outside of the plant and weave garden twine through the stems and leaves from one side of the plant to the other. Aim for a crisscross pattern that works like a net to keep stems and blooms upright.
We use the 36" powder coated galvarized cages with double ring as pictured below.
The Peony Rings are available for purchase locally at our farm.
Read how to lengthen the Peony Blooming season in your garden......more
Peonies as cut flowers are spectacular indoors. They make huge (4 - 6" dia), vibrant,
Peonies in your Perennial Garden I love Peonies! They are stunning, long lived plants and are an exceptional investment for your perennial garden. And, they put on an extraordinary show come blooming time.
They are a wonderful addition to the garden. As a perennial, they will provide you almost a lifetime of flowers.They provide a vibrant show of colors inside and outside the house.
Plant peonies in your perennial bed or as a group of 3-5. Keep in mind that although mass planting is a real eye-catcher, a grouping of one plant variety will bloom all at the same time.
There is nothing quite like peonies when they are in bloom! Cut peonies make spectacular cut flowers. The peony plants we offer for sale come in wide ranges of colors, but usually they are in shades of red, pink and white. Flowers are often 4" to 6" across, but can be smaller or larger. Numerous different flower types have resulted from centuries of breeding and selection. The most common forms are double flowers, single flowers and Japanese flowers, Most plants grow from 2' to 4' tall in the spring to early summer; die back in October to November only to re-grow in March. Peonies are very cold hardy. They only need winter protection when temperatures are below -20 degrees F.
At the end of the blooming season, the foliage of peonies continues to provide color and texture to your landscape garden.
They usually start blooming a week in Spring to Early Summer, it is possible to have a constant display by planting peonies with varying blooming times: early, mid and late season bloomers.
Compare Healthy Bare Root
with 3-5 eyes from 3rd year plants
with same 3-5 eyes form 1st year plants.
Fall Care for Peonies
Leaves will turn yellow and wilt in the fall.
Trim off the leaves close to the ground.
Destroy the debris or remove from site.
The faded flower should be removed just below the flower, leaving as much foliage as possible.
Clip off spent flower stems, cutting on the inside.
To keep the bush looking beautiful, make your cut well inside the plant, so you don't see the cut-off tips.
Lush foliage is providing ongoing growth to root.
What to do at the end of the Blooming Season
Treatment of the Plant
your Peony Central
Peony Viewing Days: May 15 to June 30
Planting in Outdoor flower bed -
When planting your peonies in your perennial flower bed, it is best to prepare your planting area in advance.
Remove any tags or rubber bands that came with the peony.
Pick during the cool part of the day. Leave a few leaves on the stem after cutting.
Then strip the leaves before as you prepare it for your arrangement. The blooms should last 5-10 days once the buds open.
Do not cut more than one-third to one-half of the flowers for cut flowers and leave as much foliage as possible on the plant.
If you are going to entertain and want a massive show of peonies, you can preserve the flowers for weeks after their bloom time:
Cut them as described above in "A". Store them in the refrigerator.
They can be stored with or without water, placed on their side, wrapped in damp paper towels and cling wrap, for up to four weeks.
A few days before the day of your party, take them out of the refrigerator, place them in lukewarm water and let them open fully in your home.
However, peonies stored for a long period of time will open faster and will not hold as long as the fresh cut peonies.
The type of Soil you have affects your Peonies growth
Clay Soil: amend to ensure good drainage. Mix compost and rock dust or gypsum.
Sandy Soil: porous soils lose their fertility faster than others as nutrients leaches out of the soil, can quicker. Amend with clay and compost and top dress several times a year with compost to renew the soil. Keep in mind the depth planting requirement of the peony. This will increase the retention of nutrients.
Water periodically during growing season if no rain
Newly planted clumps need regular watering 1st summer
Roots rot in poorly drained soil
No overhead watering to avoid disease.
Overhead watering can cause flowers to get water logged and heavy thus causing the stem
to bend and weaken.
Why Peonies Fail to Bloom
Failure to bloom may be the result of any of these factors: