Thursday, March 31, 2011


One of my very favorite perennials is the PEONY.  They come in Herbaceous, Itoh and Tree varieties.  There are many reasons why they are so popular:  Hardiness, permanence, ease of culture, freedom from pests, diversity in flower form and color, clean growth habit, they're great for cut flowers and in arrangements, and, of course, their beauty is unmatched.  They do best in the north--they require the low temperatures of winter to break the dormancy of the buds before spring growth will take place.  This time of year, the herbaceous and Itoh are starting to peek out of the soil.  The tree peonies have swelling buds on their branches with emerging stems and leaves, as shown in my picture.  Peonies are extremely long-lived--probably the longest perennials I've ever heard of.  Some of mine have been transplanted from my grandma's and are nearing 100 years old.  I love their foliage, which is nice all year long.  Don't cut back foliage after they have bloomed--let it stay to beautify your beds until it turns color in the fall or the stems fall to the ground.  Cut the stems on herbaceous peonies  to about 3-4 inches, marking their spot during the winter and early spring months.  For tree peonies, do nothing--they are slow growers.  They, like other trees, need to keep their branches from year to year.  Herbaceous peonies  don't like to be disturbed--but if you absolutely need to divide, do so very carefully, being careful to not harm the thick woody roots.  Plant in full sun, or in a place that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.  They don't like to be in wet soil, but like evenly moist, humus rich soil.  Deadhead spent blooms immediately.  Cut blooms for arrangements early in the day.  They are a super perennial, and they will reward you with many years of wonderful blooms with little effort.  They are definitely one of my all-time favorites!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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