How to Grow Perfect Peonies

Peonies are one of the most spectacular flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. With their large flower heads and wide range of colors these plants deserve a place in every herbaceous border. This article by Jenny Andrews, Lise Funderburg and Sarah Hutchinson which I found on the Garden Design Magazine website describes the different varieties of peonies and how to grow them.

Peony plants offer big, fluffy, fragrant flowers in a diverse range of colors, forms and sizes. Peonies are resilient, long-lived perennial bushes that have a history of popularity as a garden plant.

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Paeonia lactiflora. Photo by: PaylessImages / 123RF.

Peony Basics

 Zones:

There are garden-worthy peony varieties for Zones 2 to 8.

Types of peonies:

There are three types of peonies: herbaceous peonies (bush peonies), tree peonies and Itoh peonies (intersectional peonies).

Height/Spread:

Herbaceous and Itoh peonies grow 1 to 3 feet tall, with a similar spread, while a mature tree peony can reach 4 to 7 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.

Exposure:

Most peony plants are sun-lovers. “They require almost nothing but full sun and patience,” says Kathleen Gagan of Peony’s Envy in New Jersey. However, tree peonies prefer light shade during the heat of midday, which encourages the blossoms to linger 10 to 14 days, rather than fading in a blink (two to three days) in full sun. In China, parasols are enlisted to protect the delicate flowers from sun.

Peony Pictures

‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’

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This delicious coral-pink introduction from Roy Klehm features rose-shaped semidouble fiowers with rounded petals and a center clutch of dainty yellow stamens and cream-colored carpels. Beautiful even as flowers fade to apricot then pale yellow. Fragrant and great for bouquets. Winner of the APS Gold Medal in 2000 and Award of Landscape Merit in 2009.

“Pastelegance”


This confectionary double peony. a cross between ‘Salmon Dream‘ and ‘Lemon Chiffon‘. opens pastel pink and fades to cream, blooming early to mid season. Sturdy stems are 30 inches tall. From world-renowned hybridizer of herbaceous and tree peonies. Elill Seicll.

‘Red Charm’

A classic peony. introduced in 1944 by Lyman Glasscock. and still one of the best reds. The flower form is known as a ‘bomb.’with one or two rows of fiat outer petals encircling a tight foosball of curly petals. Amy Hall calls the flower ‘awe inspiring.‘ Early and long fiowering. ‘Red Charm‘ is heat tolerant and has sturdy stems. An ideal peony for the South. APS Gold Medal winner in 1956.

See more at Garden Design Magazine


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