Growing herbaceous Peonies
Peonies have been garden favorites for centuries. In fact, some of the varieties offered are from the mid 1800's and are still popular cut flowers or garden plants today!
Herbaceous peonies are fairly easy to grow garden plants, they all die back in the fall and will return every year in the early spring. Once established peony plants don't like to be transplanted. They can stay in the same spot for 25 plus years! All they require is a sunny to partially sunny spot where water won't puddle for longer periods of time.
You can plant peony plants in the fall or in the early spring. The bare root peony you'll receive from us will have at least 3-5 eyes (grow points). Plant de root in a pre-dug hole filled with some compost , if available. Cover the whole plant with soil in a way that the eyes (grow points) are covered with no more then 2" of soil.
The first year the peony may only show 1 or 2 flowering stems, don't be discouraged, this is normal. We advice not to cut the stems the first 2 years, this helps the underground root grow bigger. The 2nd years you can expect 5-7 flowers. Every year it should increase until about the 6th year when some varieties could get up to 25-30 stems per plant!
Peonies need a cold (winter) period to break their dormancy in order to bloom the following season. Because of this, they are grown with very mixed results in the southern states (USDA zone 9B and higher). They are, however, very cold hardy while dormant. They are grown successfully as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska.
Even though peonies are very resilient in most climates, there are a few (fungal)diseases that can cause damage.
- Botrytis (Grey mold): In wetter climates this can be an issue. It usually won't affect the whole plant, but usually just the newly developed flower buds. The fungus will turn the buds brown and they may abort. Sometimes in severe cases it can affect the base of the stem and make the stem topple over at the base.
- Verticillium: It's a vascular diseases that destroys the vascular cells at the base of the stem and makes the stem wilt and die back.
- Cladosporum (measles): This only affects the leaves, brown spots (measles) will suddenly appear on the leaves,(red varieties seem more susceptible than others). The measles won't effect the flowering of the plant.
This only happens when there is a hard frost (28 or lower) right around the development of the flower buds. The frost will damage the development of the young bud and it will turn brown or black.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have,
Enjoy your peonies!