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Growing: Peony

Botanical Name: Paeonia
Life Cycle: perennial
Planting Time: spring or fall
Height: 18" to 36"
Exposure: full sun or very light shade
Soil: average to rich, well-drained soil
Hardiness: zones 2-8 depending on variety (most require a long chilling period)
Bloom Time: late spring to early summer
Flower: variety of colors including shades of red, pink, white, pale yellow and combinations; very fragrant flowers; single or double flowers
Foliage: dark green leaves
Propagation: division
Suggested Use: fragrance gardens, beds, cut flowers
Growing Hints: Purchase potted peonies from garden center in the spring or order bare-root plants by mail for fall planting. Plants should be set in an area providing some protection from wind to keep their delicate leaves from ripping. Peonies will grow about as wide as they are tall so give them plenty of room. Set them in holes big enough to accommodate the roots along with some compost. The root eyes (reddish buds on top of roots) should be placed so they are about two inches below the surface of the soil. If peonies are planted too deep they will not bloom the first season. Water regularly the first season to help the plant establish roots. When peonies reach a height of 6 to 12 inches, support them by creating a corral using stakes and string or purchase a peony hoop. Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming period. Crowns should be mulched in harsh winter zones. Warmer zones should remove any mulch that was applied during the spring and summer to allow plants to chill over winter.
Interesting Facts: Some peonies secrete a nectar to attract ants, which in turn help them open their dense double flower heads. Once open, the ants disappear.

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March 15, 20060 found this helpful

What do you do if your peony produces the bloom heads but no ants appear to help the blooms open?

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