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Accustomed to officinal peonies, Joséphine received a collection of peonies from the Emperor of China… Fashion was launched! Since then, she has never ceased to inspire gardeners. After sleeping all winter on the ground, the peony announces spring with its fragrant flowers. We love its spring generosity, the size and diversity of its flowers, the beauty of its bright or tender colors and its incredible longevity. Much appreciated in the gardens, the peony also forms very attractive decorative bouquets in the house. Once planted, this is a robust species that will amaze you every year and will flower more and more over time. The peony can be shrubby, herbaceous or mixed. In any case, guaranteed seduction!
Herbaceous peony, shrub peony: which one to choose?
If the most common peony remains the herb, including the Chinese peonies, familiar in our gardens, the tree peonies are exceptional with their very large flowers and their trunks which can reach more than 2 meters high. Herbaceous peonies Measuring between 0.5 and 1m, herbaceous peonies are extremely hardy perennials with impressive longevity (they can live for almost 100 years!). The foliage appears in spring, develops in early summer and disappears in winter with the first frosts. It is between April and June that flowering is at its peak. The herbaceous peony can present single flowers with a single or 2 rows of petals, semi-double (it has several rows of petals which do not prevent the stamens from being seen) or double, showing several rows of petals which hide the heart of the flower whose stamens have generally disappeared in favor of petals. Pink, red, white, purple… the peony offers a large palette of colors. And if the flowering of the herbaceous peonies only lasts a while, what a pleasure for the eyes and what a scent in the garden! The tree peonies If patience is required when it comes to growing a peony, the result is up to our expectations. It is sometimes necessary to wait 2 or 3 years after planting before seeing the first flowers appear, but the tree peony can reach more than 2 meters and the flowers can exceed 20 cm in diameter! Deciduous foliage shrub, the tree peony is very hardy. As with the herbaceous peony, there are different varieties, with single, semi-double or double flowers in a color palette from white to yellow, through pink, red and purple. Pretty and large flowers which embellish and perfume the garden generally from the end of March to the end of May. Note: generally, peonies with double flowers are more fragrant than peonies with single flowers. The color would also have an impact, since the pink varieties are often more fragrant than the red ones.
Planting peonies, instructions for use
As a general rule, peonies are planted (in bare roots) at the end of summer, ideally at the end of August, beginning of September so that the roots have time to establish themselves before winter. Latecomers can always plant at the end of winter before the development of buds. Plants grown in containers can thus be planted from September to May, but always preferably in autumn. Choose the best location The peony appreciates a clear and luminous situation, as well as a fertile soil, worked in depth and well drained. Indeed, peonies love the sun on pain of not flowering! We will therefore choose to plant a bright, sunny place well sheltered from drafts. Regarding the quality of the soil, peonies, even if they are robust, are very demanding. Clearly ... They fear above all excess water, so care must be taken that the soil is well drained. The ideal soil for peonies is rich in humus, permeable and rather acidic. The peony needs space! In order to allow it to develop well, at least a space of 80-90 cm in diameter will be left around the plant, with the shrub peonies requiring a minimum surface of 1.20 m². Note: container culture is not recommended because the needs of the peony would not be met. How to plant my peony? Preparing the soil before planting is crucial. At least a month before, the soil will be worked beforehand by eliminating the weeds and adding sand, peat, compost and well decomposed organic fertilizers (manure), avoiding too nitrogenous chemical fertilizers. Then dig a hole about 60 cm by 50 cm deep. Immerse the peony ball in a basin of water, drain it before placing it in the hole, ensuring that the top of the ball is at ground level. It is important to place the peony in depth; if it is too much on the surface, it will be sensitive to cold and drought. But beware, installed too deep, the peony will have a lot of trouble starting its flowering which may be compromised for several years. Ideally the grafting point of the shrub peonies should be buried under 5 to 10 cm while the bulb of the herbaceous peonies will be placed so that the buds are buried under 3 to 5 cm of soil. A minimum of maintenance is required If once well planted the peony is not demanding, it is nevertheless necessary to think of feeding it! Whether it is herbaceous peony or shrub peony, the addition of a fertilizer is essential to encourage flowering. It will be necessary to fertilize each year at the beginning of spring or in autumn in order to preserve the richness of the soil, because the peony is a greedy plant which quickly exhausts it. Preferably add the fertilizer on a slightly damp soil, even if it is watered if it is too dry a few days before making the contribution. Dehydrated manure, compost, etc. must be spread all around the foot, making a shallow scratching. Without forgetting watering in case of drought, especially the first years. Finally, in order to conserve soil moisture and prevent the unfortunate arrival of weeds, a mulch of crushed pine bark or peat may be spread on the soil. Similarly, if the first winter is very harsh, protect the peony with straw for example. After flowering, make sure to cut the wilted flowers of the shrub and herbaceous peonies. For the latter it will rather be a cleaning pruning to be done in the fall (cutting stems 5 cm from the ground and wilted flowers). As for the tree peony, pruning is not compulsory but it can improve the general appearance of the plant, giving it a more compact form. We will then cut at the end of winter the stems which have grown the previous year by a third of their length, above a bud oriented towards the outside of the branches. And as for the herbaceous peony, we will eliminate the wilted flowers.
Armfuls of flowers in vase
The peony is very appreciated for its long stems, its huge and sometimes fragrant flowers and its longevity in vase. Do you love bouquets of peonies? Create a space for this purpose. Install the peonies in long, colorful rows. You will just have to pick armfuls of flowers! Pick flowers early in the morning with a perfectly sharp knife or pruner. When you cut the flowers to make bouquets, it looks like a size. Wait for this until the peony is at least 4 years old. The plant must be well installed to bear the loss of part of its vegetation. Never cut more than half of the flowers on the same plant and leave at least two or three leaves at the base of the plant stem to ensure its proper development. Choose flowers with barely open buds that just show the color of the petals. Once your peonies are put in a vase, be careful not to soak the foliage in the water that you will change every day. You just have to fully enjoy the spectacle of these fascinating flowers. video id = "0" / Our practical gardening videos