Peonies – One of the best plants for cutting!

Peonies are not just your grandmas plant, although she probably grew them and loved them!  There are so many new colors and varieties to choose from these days. 

Peonies are dependable and easy to grow perennials with huge flowers that are great for cutting and putting in a flower vase.  Peony flowers purchased at a florist often cost over $10-15 per stem. So ………..investing in your own peony plants will pay off very quickly!  Typically the older the plant, the more flowers you get and the more friends you may have!  🙂  Many varieties of peonies are fragrant, mostly considered a sweet fragrance.  Not all peonies are as fragrant as others.

Standard Peonies come in several colors ranging from mostly from whites to pinks to reds. The style of flowers varies greatly.  Some have a single row of petals and many have several rows of colors and some have several tones of petal colors within the same flower.  Your standard peonies are a true perennial.  They send up shoots and flowers from the roots each spring.  The flowers arrive in May and then the foliage remains for most of the growing season.  The foliage dies back with the cold each fall.

There are also a group of plants called Tree Peonies.  These types are similar to standard peonies, but they have a woody stem, much like a shrub would have.  So the plant loses it’s leaves in winter but a woody stem stays behind.  These plants have spectacular flowers in more colors than standard peonies and they get bigger and produce more flowers.   Tree peonies are more rare and cost more money than standard Peonies.

Itoh Peonies– This is a revolutionary series of peonies that was introduced more recently.  They come in even more unusual colors, including lemon yellow and colors in the peachy tones.  These varieties are also more rare and more expensive, but like all peonies likely worth the investment because of the yearly return on investment of large and unusual flower colors that bigger more abundant with each spring.

Here is a link to our page of peonies you can purchase each spring before they bloom.  Once they start blooming we recommend you just stop in and choose the ones you want from the inventory we have left.  Buying them before they bloom makes it easier to transport and it ensure you get the varieties you want.

Peony supports – Dues the huge size of peony flowers, they also get heavy when it rains.  The weight of the flowers causes them to flop since the stems cannot support this weight. Peony supports are required for this reason if you want to keep you peony flowers off the ground.  It keep them from getting dirty, rotting and it keep the plants looking much better in case you do not cut all the flowers off to put in a vase inside.  The better peony supports have two legs with ring that can be moved up as the peony grows.  If ring has a grid patter the peonies grow up through the grid and are supported better so all the flowers don’t bend to the outside of the ring.  Peony supports are sold at various places, but rarely do you see the high quality supports that we sell at Kennedy’s.  We highly recommend the added investment.  These supports last year after year in the garden and the height is adjustable.

Link to peony supports????

Peony Care:

Sunlight: – Peonies do best in either full sun (direct sun all day) or part sun (dappled sun or sun for about half a day).  Peonies will not flower as well if they do not get any direct sun.

Besides using the supports, peonies do not require much care. Occasionally we get questions about why peonies do not bloom.  Most literature points to he fact that peonies, like many plants, do not like to be planted too deep.  The peony eyes, show be visible in late winter early spring before the sprout up new shoots.  If you do not see the little red eyes then maybe you need to dig uip your peony roots and make sure they are level with the soil surface.

Dividing and transplanting.  The best time to raise the roots, or to divide the plants if you are looking to make more or if you need to move them to another spot then do this in August or early September.  You might be able to get away with transplanting in late winter or early spring, but August is best timing by all accounts.  The plant is going dormancy in late summer/early fall and doesn’t mind being disturbed then.

Insects – it is rare that peonies have insect problems.  However it is very common for ants to be attracted to them, especially in spring as the buds are developing and opening.  Ants are attracted to the sticky substance on the buds.  The ants are normal and do not harm the plant.  However, soem might travel in when you cut them and put them in a vase.  It is more a nuisance and not worth spraying, etc.

Diseases – there are several issues with disease on peonies.  They are a spring bloomer and foliar diseases are more prevalent when we have a wet spring.  Things such as powdery mildew are more common.  Here is a link to some of the common issues with peonies.  If you see any of these type things going on, we recommend putting a sample of this issue in a zip lock bag and bringing it to Kennedy’s.  We will do our best to help you find a solution.  In some cases, if it was newly purchased we will replace it for you.

If you have further questions about peonies, please email us or come see us at the garden center.

Here is our blog about peonies.

The American Peony Society is also a wealth of information if you want to learn more!