Peonies are Excellent Perennial Plants

By Ann Lapides

Peonies are perennial garden classics, adored the world over for their magnificent blossoms and heavenly fragrance. They are incredibly long-lived plants; some have been known to live 100 years! Superb as cut flowers, peonies have no rivals. Alone or in mixed bouquets, they have an ethereal beauty and an unforgettable perfume. Peonies are excellent perennial plants that are easy to grow as they can be left alone and never need to be divided. Read on to see our best peony growing tips and techniques.

Peony Planting & Care: Peonies thrive in full sun to part shade locations. Although Peonies prefer a sunny location, giving them a break from the hot afternoon sun will prolong their beautiful flowers. Plant Peonies in loose, rich soil. Adding a shovelful or two of compost and an application of starter fertilizer or a handful or so of bone meal when planting will give you the best results. They must be planted at the correct depth to ensure flowering. A peony’s eyes should be 1 1/2″ – 2″ below soil level. Peonies benefit from deep soakings and mulch plants to conserve water and keep weeds down. Fertilizer is not necessary for peonies to thrive. Every other year or so, a light application of fertilizer may be applied in early summer after peonies have bloomed. You’ll notice Peonies begin to go dormant in late summer into fall. At this time, cut back their foliage to the ground. Although Peonies may get an occasional bug or disease problem, they normally do not need to be treated. Serious pest and disease problems can be treated with chemical remedies.

While Peonies may be planted in spring or fall, they do best with fall plantings. Fall planted peonies will settle in faster and flower sooner. Spring-planted peonies are known to mature and bloom about a year behind those in the fall. In St. Louis, Missouri, the ideal time to plant peonies is in September and October, giving the plants at least six weeks to establish before hard freezes.

A few top Peony selections:

  • Bartzella Itoh Peony. Multiple award winner, including Voted #1 Most Favorite Peony. Huge 6-8″ luminous lemon-yellow blossoms. Mature plants can produce upwards of 80 blossoms! 
  • Sarah Bernhardt. The classic pink with multiple layers of velvety petals.
  • Lorelei. Some say the most beautiful color-changing peony of all. Massive 10″ flowers start rich orange, then magically transform to apricot, pink, then finally soft cream.

Order these peonies online and other top peony selections at www.sugarcreekgardens.com. For more growing tips, visit sugarcreekgardens.com/peony-growing-tips/