Peonies are great garden additions


Master Gardener

Herbaceous peonies have absolutely gorgeous, extremely fragrant flowers that come in white, several shades of pink, red and even black. I have found them to be deer resistant and vole resistant. A vole ate one stem on a few plants, but left the rest of the plant alone.

The website says it is believed peonies produce small amounts of nectar that attract ants. Ants may be found on some varieties and not on others; this is totally normal. Some believe ants are required to open the flowers, but this does not to appear to be true.
Peonies love full sun. When planted in partial shade, they will not have as many flowers. Stake peonies with peony rings sold at most nurseries or big-box stores to help keep the flower stalks upright. The website says to remove flowers as soon as they fade to prevent seed development, which can use up needed food reserves. Cut just below the flower, leaving as much foliage as possible. The shiny green foliage adds texture to the garden.
When cutting flowers to enjoy in your home, don’t cut more than one-third to one-half of the flowers, and leave as much foliage as possible on the plant. Removing too many flowers can reduce flowering in future years.
You can buy peony plants at local nurseries, but full-size peonies cost about $30. Bare-root peonies cost significantly less, so if you are not in a hurry, you can plant them this fall. To prevent disease, always allow a lot of space between plants for aeration. It will be two to three years before the plant matures and is covered in flowers. However, once the plants are well established, they can last for years.
Each fall, cut them back to the ground and remove all fallen leaves. Good sanitation will result in healthier plants.
Enjoy your time in the garden!


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