Perfect Paeonia – a fantastic addition to any garden

Paeonia’s make a  fantastic addition to any garden

  • Flowering in a variety of rich colours through spring and early summer, Peonies are hardy, adaptable and prefer to grow in full sun.
  • Although they will grow in light shade, they will produce fewer flowers even though they do tend to bloom for longer.
  • The single flowered cultivars are happier in shade than the doubles.
  • Peony’s dislike very wet conditions, but other than that are not particularly fussy, they do well on chalk and prefer slightly alkaline conditions.
  • If soil is acidic try adding a handful of lime at the planting stage. If your soil is dry then the addition of a good compost and organic mulch
  • Stalk taller varieties if in exposed and windy areas.

What is the best way to plant Peony?

  • Dig a hole at least 1ft deep, mixing in good compost and bone meal or good general fertiliser. Do not plant too deeply. Make sure that the top of the crown is no more than 2nches below the soil surface. Peonies that are planted too deep will not flower well if at all.
  • One of the biggest causes of failure in planting Peony is overwatering
  • Plant container grown plants to the same depth as they are in the pot. When planting a group of Peonies allow about 30” between each one and don’t expect flowering in the first year – this normally starts the 2nd year of planting.
  • The life of a Peony can be 50 years or more, and although they can survive neglect they perform much better with some extra care.

When is the best time to cut down my Peony?

  • Peony foliage should be cut down to ground level in the autumn. Top dress with bone meal and if mulching do not smother the crown to prevent the plants becoming too deeply buried.

Can I plant Peony in a pot?

  • Peony are great for pot culture, but you will need a pot at least 30cm in diameter with good drainage holes at the base. Use good compost and keep on the dry side.

When is the best time to move Peonies?

  • Move Peonies in the autumn, as long as they are replanted to the same depth as before they should flower without interruption. After about 20 years they will benefit from being dug up and split. So this in the autumn as the foliage dies. Lift the crown and wash the soil away to expose the eyes. Remove dead or woody root and the cut the crown in to pieces containing about 3-5 eyes. These can be replanted.

Peony pests and diseases:

  • Peony are pretty pest and disease tolerant and vigorous well grown plants rarely have problems. Although they can be affected by fungal disease. Peony wilt can cause the stems to rot and collapse, usually just before or after flowering. Caldospoium can cause dark blotches on the leaves from July onwards but neither of these conditions will kill a peony.
  • To prevent any disease, always maintain good hygiene. A good airflow round the plant is essential and if any stems collapse or leaves become spotty then remove them immediately, preventing the possible spread of infection. In Autumn cut off all the foliage and dispose of to prevent reinfection the following Spring.
  • As the flower buds develop they do exude a sweet sugary substance which is a magnet to ants. Don’t worry; they will not damage the plant unless they nest within the roots.

Paeonia’s are good plants to have if your garden has rabbits or deer, as neither seem to like the taste!

In a nutshell:

  • Plant in a sunny or lightly shaded position
  • Most soil types, but preferably not too wet in winter
  • Add plenty of organic matter when planting
  • Plant with the top of the crown no more than 5cm below the soil surface
  • Feed with good fertiliser in Spring and Autumn
  • Move or divide in the Autumn.