peony care for beginners

peony care for beginners

 

Peonies have been becoming popular in gardens again.  Pinterest and wedding blogs have beautiful photos of peony bouquets and arrangements. Those sites  have increased people’s awareness of this old fashion garden favorite. Peonies have been around forever in gardens. They can live a very long time with little care as long as they have an adequate water source. They are often found at old abandoned farm houses all over the world.

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When I started growing peonies, many home centers and department store garden center didn’t carry them. You could purchase starts through catalogs or full size plants at a high end nursery or get starts from a kind friend or neighbor. The ones from the catalogs took years before they started blooming and the nurseries wanted a pretty penny for their full grown plant. Now you can get them at Costco, Sam’s club or other places for a fairly reasonable price.

Yes, I did get most of mine from a wonderful neighbor. Peony root systems can get quite large over time. Think of 10 to 25 lbs. bag of potatoes in the ground. Digging that up can be a project, not to mention the hole left behind. Dividing a well-established peony can provide lots of new starts, enough for a good size perennial bed.

If you have been growing some peonies you may know some these tips if not I hope these help.

  1. Plant shallow, too deep they won’t bloom.
  2. They can take years to bloom if you start with small roots.
  3.  Place the eye or nodes face up in the hole.
  4. They need staking or support to keep their large blooms out of the dirt.
  5. They are heavy feeders, amended your soil with compost. Especially in the beginning.
  6. Remove faded blooms.

This post we will look at making your peony look great, even if it’s not in bloom.

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When deadheading (removing blooms) go deep by that I mean don’t just cut right where the old bloom ends. You end up with just a bunch of sticks sticking up.

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this cut stem needs to be cut shorter so leaves hide the cut

 

Better to cut right before a large leaf. This will hide your cut.

Peony care deadheading_01

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Better peony now that old blooms have been removed

 

I hope this was helpful. If you are unsure that you want to invest in peonies because you have no idea how long you will live at your home, remember you can always divid some to take with you to your new home and the new owner will appreciate having such a great plant in their yard.

Gardening questions? Let me know maybe we’ll find the answers together.

Lorin

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