Grow Long-Lived, Lush Peonies

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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour

 

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Fall is a great time to plant many perennials, especially peonies. It gives them time to get established while the ground is still warm and easy to work. Peonies need a period of cold temperatures to create huge, lush, fragrant flowers.

Peonies planted in the fall are usually sold bare root, not in containers. There are early, mid- and late-season blooming varieties. Areas with hot summers should plant only early and mid-season varieties.

How to Plant Peonies:

  • Peonies are long-lived; some live for decades. They don’t like to be transplanted, so choose a place with well-drained soil where they can grow undisturbed.
  • Plant in full sun or light shade; however, too much afternoon sun can scald the leaves.
  • Dig a hole as deep as the container, removing weeds and rocks. The hole should be wider than it is deep, to allow the roots to spread.
  • Amend the soil with compost or composted manure.
  • Plant the peony so that the “eyes,” which are the growing tips, are no more than 1” beneath the surface. Too deep and the peony won’t bloom.
  • Replace the soil and firmly pat it down, forming a saucer around the hole to prevent runoff.
  • Water gently so as not to compact the soil after planting, and if rainfall is inadequate, water weekly until the ground freezes.
  • Do not mulch peonies.

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