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The peonies are blooming!

When I was a child, my aunt planted peonies in the new flower garden my parents were designing.  Each year they were spectacular – providing incredible pink, white, and crimson flowers for several weeks in the spring.  I learned from my aunt’s example, and now I always plant peonies.  I find them both beautiful and comforting and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they are very easy to grow.  Best of all, peonies will live for many years so you can enjoy their flowers again and again.  So what should you know if you want to grow peonies?

Growing peonies in your garden:

  1.  Buy a well established plant at your garden center.  I like to buy plants that are about the bloom, so that means plants that are already over a foot tall by early to mid-May. That way I get to enjoy their blossoms the year I purchase the plant.  I transplant the entire bucket of potting soil and peony plant into the garden, then simply sit back and enjoy the show of gigantic colorful blooms.  I never dig them up – just plant and forget about them.  They never fail to grow back the following year.
  2. Always plant your peonies in the sun.  They require direct sunlight and good drainage to grow well.
  3. Consider staking your peonies before the blooms appear.  Over the years I have learned that the sheer weight of the blooms tend to pull the flowers downward, so staking will keep your very full plants upright.
  4. Don’t worry about ants on your peonies. There is a myth that peonies need the ants in order to have their blossoms open, but that is simply not true. Some people cut their peonies as they are beginning to open in order to avoid the ants that love the nectar in the flowers.  I’ve learned to simply blow gently on the blossom when I cut it and the ants are easily blown away before I bring the cut flower into the house.