What to know about peonies

Peonies are beautiful and known for their abundant size. Available in various colours, these hardy perennials are a popular addition to gardens and bouquets alike. If you are planning on growing or displaying these flowers, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Types of peonies

There are three main types; herbaceous, itoh and the tree peony. The herbaceous is the most common of all. The garden peony is popular for its fragrance and the herbaceous variety does not form a woody stem which makes it perfect for vase arrangements. The typical colours include white, pink and red. The tree peony has a trunk-like base and it grows larger but at a slower pace. The itoh peony is a hybrid of these two types. It comes in even more colours including yellow and orange.

Growing peonies

If you are planning on growing these plants yourself, you should plant them in the autumn. If you have an established peony plant and you want to move it, autumn is the time to do it. Make sure that the ground is still workable before you attempt to move the plant. After the first frost, you should not move these plants. Spring-planted peonies will often lag behind the autumn-planted ones by a year.

Your plants should have about 3 to 4 feet of space between them. This will ensure that they have enough room to grow. Make sure that they are planted in an area with full sun and well-drained soil. The roots should also be undisturbed by other plants. Shelter the plant from the wind but don’t plant them too close to other trees or plants. You don’t want them competing for resources.

Peony care

Peonies should be watered around the base rather than having their foliage wet. You need to water your plants even when they are not in bloom. The best fertiliser for these plants include bonemeal, well-rotted manure or compost. It’s best to fertilise in the summer but take care not to apply any near the younger shoots and stems. You need a fertiliser with a higher level of phosphorus and potassium. Avoid those with high levels nitrogen. They might encourage foliage growth but your plant will not produce strong blooms.

Some of the most common problems that can affect your plant include botrytis blight (grey mould), powdery mildew, peony blotch and peony wilt. If you notice ants on your plant, not to worry, they will not harm the plant or flowers.

As cut flowers, peonies make amazing floral displays. Make sure that you trim the stems at an angle, provide them with fresh water on a regular basis and keep them in a safe spot. By following proper flower care guidelines, you can encourage cut peonies to last that much longer.