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Planting Peonies

Question:

I would like to plant some peony bushes. When is the best time to do this?

Hardiness Zone: 3b

Jenny from Milwaukee, WI

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Answer:

Jenny,

August through October is the best time to plant peonies in Wisconsin. Most peonies are sold as bare roots in the fall with the stems cut off or removed. Here are some general planting tips:

  1. Select a site in full sun where you won't have to worry about disturbing the peonies for several years after initial planting. The site should receive at least 6 full hours of sun per day.

  2. Peonies are not that fussy about soil type, provided that they have good drainage.

  3. When planting, place the "eyes" (small, red colored buds) no more that 1 1/2 inches below the soil's surface. Planting them too deep will keep them from blooming for several years.

  4. Spread the roots evenly throughout the hole when planting, and backfill it 2/3 full of soil and water and allow it to settle before filling it completely.

  5. Mound up the hole slightly a week or two after planting (it will settle over winter) and mulch for the first winter.

  6. If planting more than one plant, space them 3 feet apart so that when they grow and fill in they will maintain good air circulation.

  7. Keep plants well watered after planting.

Good luck!
Ellen

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July 6, 20060 found this helpful

When planting a peony, try planting it within the bounds of a permanent structure like a metal windmill to keep the plant standing upright. Additionally, continue to push the stems back inside the braces of the structure as it grows.

<img src="/images/articles9/pinkpeony.jpg" alt="Pink Peony" width="350" height="263">

By Elizabeth Bouchard from Massena, NY

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July 8, 20060 found this helpful

Peonies should be divided in the fall. Although...I do have a perennial sale each spring and divide at least one peony each year, in the spring. I am very careful then, not to break off the flower shoot.

Brenda (zone 2b in Manitoba, Canada)

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 12, 20060 found this helpful

Ants really like Peonies. I had a neighbor that sprayed hers for ants and the plant died. I found out later that in order to bloom they need the ants. So if you want to enjoy beautiful blooms, let the ants crawl on them.

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July 14, 20060 found this helpful

Onie,

This is a quote from another site on the net....

'Ants are attracted to peonies because of the sweet sap the flower buds secrete. It is a myth that ants are necessary to permit peonies to bloom.

A common problem of peonies is the failure to bloom. It may be the result of planting too deeply, immature plants, excess nitrogen, inadequate sunlight, overcrowding, nutrient deficiency, insect or disease problems, competition from roots of nearby plants or late freezes. Some cultivars will fail to bloom in zones 8 and 9 because they lack sufficient winter chilling.'

Maybe hers died because of excess chemical she used. It was definitely not because of lack of ants.

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