Peonies are beautiful long-living perennial plants with blooms that are unmatched. Some of these lively flowers have been known to thrive for at least 100 years! Peonies can be enjoyed from spring to summer, and brighten up any garden with their full petals and vibrant colors. They are also perfectly suited for flower arrangements, with their gorgeous presentation in vases. (Brighterblooms.com)
Seed Starting Advice: Peonies are best planted in the fall, specifically late September and October. They are usually sold as bare-root tubers with 3 to 5 bulbs. To plant be sure to dig a generous-sized hole, at about 2 feet deep and 2 feet across in well drained soil. The spot must be sunny as they flourish with 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. The root should be placed with the eyes facing upwards, on top of a mound of soil in the hole. Be sure to place the roots just two inches below the soil surface. Then backfill the hole, tap the soil gently, and water thoroughly at the time of planting. (Farmers Almanac)
Growing Advice: It is best to space peonies about 3-4 feet apart to promote good air circulation between plants. This is crucial because stagnant air build up may occur and can lead to disease. Peonies may also be prone to structural weakness due to their gigantic blossoms. To address this consider three-legged metal peony rings or wire tomato cages to support the stems.
Harvesting Advice: Peonies make beautiful cut flowers, lasting over a week within a base. Be sure to use a sharp pair of pruners, and gently cut the flowers at an angle. For best results, cut the long stem in the morning when buds are fairly tight. Remove the leaves from the portion of the stem, and then place them in the vase with lukewarm water. (Farmers Almanac)
Arrangements: Due to peonies having a round shape, they pair beautifully with spike bloomers. Flowers like foxglove, lupine, delphinium, and clustered bellflower.
Written by Claudia Mirshak