Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TREE PEONIES - The Queens of the spring garden

Tree peonies are the first peonies to bloom in spring. Their magnificent blooms are fragrant, huge, and silk-like.  "Sugared Silk" is the first of my tree peonies to bloom. It's blooms can reach 8" across, and a mature tree can have as many as 50 blooms or more.  

This three-year old tree is well on its way to that number. Since they are a tree, don't cut them to the ground in the fall. Their branches will leaf out in the spring, and new shoots will grow from their root system to add additional branches as the years go by.

Their vase life is long.  Cut in the bud, and leave plenty of room, as the gigantic blooms open up and there is little room for anything else in the vase or container.

After blooming, the spent blooms are also beautiful!  However, snip off the spent blooms before too long, as you don't want extra energy going to the pods that will form after the stamens dry up. The foliage on the tree stays green all summer until it turns color in the fall. At that time, remove leaves if desired, but, as I said, DON'T cut to the ground. Simple pruning in the early spring to keep it's shape may be done, but only as a necessity.  

Tree peonies do well in zones 5-8, and like rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. They like full sun, but appreciate some shade in the summer months. Plant deeply; most tree peonies are done as graphs, and there will be less chance of the herbaceous peony they grafted it on to shoot out.  If shoots emerge that are herbaceous, carefully dig down and sever that from the root stalk. If allowed to grow, the herbaceous peony will likely smother the tree peony, or, at best, it will not bloom.

There are hundreds of cultivars--all shades of pink, red, purple, bi-colored, white, even yellow! They come in single, semi-double, and fully double varieties.  A garden isn't complete without at least one of these beauties.
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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