Peonies are stunning flowers when grown and some can be as big as dinner plates, and when you have a garden they look stunning in them.
There are three types of peony and these are the tree peonies which are taller and more woody. They generally keep their frame throughout winter as they tend to be small shrubs and not really trees.
You have the herbaceous types which like the fuchsia die back to the ground every winter but re-submerge the following year and a cross between the two. These are called intersectional hybrids although I must warn you these are not so easy to get hold of and can be much ore expensive than the other two.
My advice would be to chose either the woody type or the herbaceous type especially if you are a beginner like me when it comes to growing them.
They can be somewhat expensive but I picked up a gorgeous one from Lidl for £5.99 and it is going to grow to be a beautiful orange colour.
All peonies require a moist soil but one that is well drained and it loves a full sun. Due to the fact that they grow at a great rate and with large flowers they will need support. I bought some bamboo poles for £1.99 from Home Bargains and they are 3ft tall. I bought 2 lots and Mr Points of Sue cut one lot down to half the size and it gives full support both growing and fully grown.
The peonies can be divided during the early autumn and this is the best time to take a cutting, and the same with the woody ones. Although, I would wait until it has fully grown before you decide to do that as you do not want to take a cutting of a sickly or damaged plant.
Make sure you dig the hole in a very sunny area and moisten the soil and that old saying of mine….put some compost in it.
NB: Adding to your compost and giving it a watering and stir if you have it closed will help it greatly. If out in the open then just rake it for now as the wet weather is giving it enough fluid.
Dependent on where you buy your plants from it can be somewhat expensive so check the pH level of your soil and do not plant in waterlogged areas. The peonies much prefer a neutral soil or some which is slightly alkaline, however the tree peonies prefer a more sheltered position and can be tolerant of more acidity type soil. The tree peonies are more expensive so chose the position wisely. Mine is up against my garden shed so it has something to grow up against, and it is protected from the majority wind.
When you take home your peony it should be planted as soon as possible. The best time to plant them is in the early autumn or spring.
When you are digging your hole don’t aim for something ridiculously deep as it will prevent the gorgeous flowers from blooming, and in all probability kill the plant. Just plant it so that it covers the roots and the very start of the plant and when you plant it, as advised give it support from day one as they can become a quite heavy plant. Place a handful of organic matter in the hole you have dug and mix well. You will need to dig a little deeper than the height of the roots and soil combined as you will fill some of the hole back up with organic matter but it will be worth it when you see the flower it produces.
An organic well rotted matter is best for compost but that has been advised throughout my gardening sections as it is free from any chemicals and suits the plants you are growing so much better than store bought. Of course some people do not want to establish their own compost so look at the labels of the bags you buy, and try to get one from a quality garden centre as they tend to be better for your plants than the cheaper type.
When you have planted your peony then water but don’t drown it as this will cause your plant to fail or if not produce a weak plant and they are capable of becoming very strong, very heavy plants.
Watering really depends on the weather. If as we are currently experiencing it is wet then you don’t need to do anything else, and as I always advise cover the area in bark or a shale to protect the soil and the plant. The plant is only as strong as the soil is rich and it protects them during the cold seasons.
If the weather turns very warm then a little often will be the best way to water these. I would be out everyday with some water and giving them some rather than none. None will kill the soil and dry it out and kill your plant. So, it really is a case of taking the watering by the weather.
If you are watering everyday due to the heat then don’t drown it and it only needs a mild watering at dusk as this will help the soil rather than at noon when it will just dry out.
Again, you can chose to add a bit of baby bio when you first plant it but these stunning flowers have a great growing rate and if you plant in the right conditions, keep it moist and the soil well taken care of with organic matter than you won’t need any.
Just support the plant, sit back and enjoy what will be a stunning plant for the summer.
Cut back your herbaceous peony to ground level in Autumn, but the tree ones just need pruning. Remove the dead foliage but don’t pick off the plant. Let it fall naturally as it will help the plant grow stronger.