Peonies are stunningly beautiful, and many of us would love to grow them. Past experiences or stories of failures have us intimated and feeling like we cannot grow peonies.
Peonies are not necessarily more difficult to grow, but they do require specific conditions to thrive and bloom. Like tulips, peonies need cold soil temperatures during the winter to bloom, some needing more than others. Here we need to do our homework to know what varieties will perform well here in the South. With this in mind planting peonies along the foundation of our house can be problematic since heat from our home can warm the nearby soil.
Additionally, peonies require at least 5 hours of direct sunlight to flower. Lots of morning sun and dappled afternoon sun is ideal. Not being quite as adaptable to soil conditions as some other perennials, we want to make sure our peonies are planted in a fairly well draining soil. Dig a significant size hole and amend the soil well with compost or Mr. Natural’s Complete Landscape Mix.
Most peonies are herbaceous meaning they die back to the ground each fall, and then come to life again in the spring. They usually have lush green foliage, and bloom prolifically. Often due to the abundance of blooms these peonies require staking or cages to hold them upright.
Tree peonies are small shrubs having woody stems. Their blooms are often larger reaching 8” or more in diameter, and do not require staking.
Itoh (intersectional) peonies are a cross between herbaceous and tree peonies. Combing characteristics of both, Itohs bloom prolifically with large blooms like the tree peonies. They too seldom need staking.
With some forethought we can extend the bloom season of our peony garden by combining early, mid and late season flowering varieties. (See chart below). If you are looking for inspiration, or are imagining a small spring-blooming garden for your peonies here are some companion plants to consider. Lilacs, japanese iris, dianthus, shasta daisies, blue salvias and gardenias. Let’s set aside our intimidations this spring and give peonies a try.
I have had an Itoh peony for 6-7 years. When I bought it and the first year after that it was loaded with blooms. Then every year after it had fewer blooms. The last 2 years it had only 3 or 4, and this year it has none. The foliage looks healthy, it gets a lot of sun, and is in a well drained area. What can I do? Thank you.
If the amount of sun hasn’t changed, I would dig it up, s=amend the soil and replant making sure it is not planted too deep. Thuis past sevarl winters have been very mild, so it is a possibility not cold enough winter.
I live in the low country of SC, I used to live in Canton! I was wondering are there peony’s that do well here? Also do you ship?
Probably teh same varieties that work here. This list should work for you also. We do not ship, sorry.
I have found that the planting depth for the top of the peonies should not be more than 2″below the surface. Also very little mulch for the winter. Better they get cold. I have lots of blooms in Woodstock GA .
Agreed, i should have mentioned the mulch part.
i have some in the ground for few years doing okay
few months purchased 2 more from you. I think Sarah Bernhardt or Shirley Temple.
i put them in very large well draining barrel half My thought being I could move the barrels around my yard until I found the spot that worked for them sunwise. not too much not too little. Now I wondering if i could keep them in the containers and overwinter them. Maybe being in the containers would make sure that they dont stay too warm since the pots even large ones will get colder than the ground itself does.
submitted question previously but had not heard back. Outlook was not functioning well for a while so i will try again
purchased 2 of the larger size you had of the Shirley Temple peonies.
planted in large containers ( similar to half barrel ) .
my thought was to move the containers around the yard finding a sweet spot for them with morning sun and not baking afternoon sun.
however when i saw your comment about needing winter chill hours , I wonder if ican overwinter them outside in the containers at least for the next few years.
I think you can easily do that.
would like to receive the newsletter, please.
We added you. Eric