by Debra Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2014)
Peonies are large plants that look best when planted at the back as a flower border. These plants also look great as a cut flower. When they come up in the springtime the new shoots have a reddish tint to them, and they quickly grow into beautiful fern foliage. Usually peonies bloom in May.
There are two really broad categories which peonies are classified under. One is the herbaceous type that dies back to the roots after the first hard frost of the year; the other is the tree peony. The tree peony grows more as a shrub and the stems are woody after the leaves fall in the autumn.
Several things should be considered when planting peonies. First, if the peonies do not like how they are planted, then they will not grow like they should. Second, the best time of year to plant them is in the fall. Peonies can do well being planted in the spring, they just may not do as good as they would when planted in the fall.
When you are trying to decide where to plant them, plant the peonies so that they will receive at least five hours to a full day of sunshine. If the climate where you live is hot in the summer try planting them so that they will get some shade during the afternoon. Ideally, this plant is best suited for climates that have cold winters and hot summers. They do require cold winters so that the buds can set.
Be sure that before you plant them, that the site is well prepared. Dig the hole larger than the plant, or even a little larger than you think that you will need. Place the plant into the dirt and position the tuber so that the crown is covered with only one to two inches of soil. Be careful that you don't plant them too deep, if they are planted too deep they will not flower properly or at all.
To keep your plant looking good is to stake them. If they have a lot of blooms on them they have a tendency to get top heavy. The best time to stake them is in the early part of the growing season, about the time when the shoots start to appear. You can buy the stakes at a local nursery or places like Lowe's and Home Depot. The type of stake that you want to buy is the kind that has a wire grid with legs. If they seem a little pricey for your budget, you can always make some yourself. Put four stakes into the ground and then cover the stakes with chicken wire. Set the stake so that it stands about three feet high.
If you want to use the peonies as cutting flowers, then the best time to clip them is when the buds look like they are just about to open up. Place the flowers into some water, and the blooms will then begin to open up. Peonies will last about a week as a cut flower.
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