Peonies are some of the most popular perennial flowers out there – just take a peek at any garden you pass and you’ll see what we mean! We’re certainly not surprised at this though, considering the amount of beauty they can add to any landscape. Not to mention, they have one of the longest lifespans of any flower, making them one that any gardener can rely on.
But just in case you’re new to gardening, or if you’re just looking to learn a little bit more about these timeless beauties, we’re breaking things down for you below.
Types of Peonies
There are three types of peonies that you can choose to plant:
1. Herbaceous peonies
2. Tree peonies
3. Intersectional peonies
Herbaceous peonies are often viewed as the most common – these usually bloom in early or mid Summer and die in the Winter. The second type, tree peonies, tend to share their blooms with us in Spring, and lose their leaves in the Fall. Lastly, intersectional peonies are essentially a cross between the two; they die back each Winter like herbaceous peonies and sprout large flowers like tree peonies. That said, to determine when your peonies will be in season, you’ll need to know exactly which type you planted.
How To Plant and Grow Peonies
Since peonies can grow rather tall (sometimes even as tall as five feet!), you’ll need to make sure that the spot you choose is spacious enough. And remember, peonies can come back year after year, so you’ll need to think long term. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before planting:
1. The planting site you choose should be exposed to sun for at least half of the day. That’s because the more sun your peony receives, the more flowers it will bloom!
2. When making a spot for your peonies, make sure you dig your hole deep enough and wide enough to accommodate its full growth.
3. Always make sure that your peony’s eyes are facing up before placing them in your soil. Once they’re buried, cover them with soil and make sure you provide enough water.
Bonus Tip: Since peonies can grow to be pretty large, they may need more support than some of the other flowers in your garden. So, make sure you have stakes ready as they start to grow so that you can help hold them up if need be.
When To Plant Peonies
The best time for you to plant your peonies all depends on where you live. They typically grow best in cooler climates and require a cold Winter season to encourage flower growth. A general rule of thumb that you can follow is that they can be planted in the Spring as soon as the ground starts to thaw, as well as in the Fall before the ground freezes over – just keep in mind that if you plant in the Spring, it may be a year or two before you see them really start to bloom. But like we said though, it really depends on the climate where you live (cooler temperatures are best).
To ensure that your peonies thrive after planting, as well as for many years to come, don’t forget to do the following:
1. Add a relatively thin layer of compost over your peonies each Spring, along with a layer of mulch (approximately two inches worth). Doing so can help you control the amount of weeds that sprout within your garden and will help retain the moisture surrounding your peonies.
2. During the first Winter, add about four to six inches of mulch to your garden right after the ground freezes to protect the roots of your peonies.
3. When your area experiences periods of no rain, give them a good watering on a weekly basis. You’ll know that you’ve over-watered if you start to see water pooling around the base of your peonies.
From white to red, coral, purple, pink, and yellow (peonies can come in a variety of colors!), the key to growing a thriving peony is to make sure you plant at the proper time, plant correctly, and of course, care for it all throughout the year, even when they aren’t necessarily in season. By doing the above, we’re confident that you’ll love the results!