Traditional and unusual Shrubs,  Herbs, Plants and flowers
Peonies are one of the best-known and most loved perennials. This is hardly surprising considering their sumptuous beauty and fragrance, trouble-free nature and longevity. Peonies thrive almost anywhere in the UK. Many varieties can even survive a very cold winter (a low of -10 degrees C). Where to grow: Peonies thrive in cooler climates, where they get pronounced winter chill. But some will grow well in warmer climates. All are also worth a try in dappled shade in zones areas. There, give plants afternoon shade and ample water. When to plant: If a peony is well situated and happy, it may bloom for 100 years or more with little or no attention. This means it's worth spending some time up front, choosing the right planting location and preparing the soil. That said, there are many stories about forgotten peony plants found blooming in the woods against old cellar holes. But like all plants, peonies will be healthier, more vigorous and more floriferous if they have ideal growing conditions. Peonies prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil. Good air circulation around the plant is also important. These growing conditions help peonies avoid their only serious disease problem: botrytis. Pests and Diseases Like other fungal diseases, botrytis is present in most soils. It usually only becomes a problem if the plant is weak, the weather is unusually cool and wet, or if there are other infected plants nearby. Signs of botrytis are blackened buds and stems, and sometimes rotting at the base of the plant. Cut off and dispose of any affected areas (put this material in the rubish, not in your compost heap). The best strategy for botrytis problems is prevention, and that goes back to proper planting Peonies rarely bloom the first year after planting. It often takes three years before you see an abundant display of flowers. But once the plants do start blooming, you can look forward to a lifetime of beautiful flowers. Peony plants rarely need dividing. If a clump becomes too large for a given space, or you wish to share some of the plant with a friend, autumn is the ideal time for dividing. Cut back the foliage and carefully lift the entire plant out of the ground. Use a sharp knife to cut apart some of the plant, making sure to create generous clumps of roots with at least three to five eyes per clump. Reposition the original plant back in the hole, taking care not to break off any of the relatively brittle roots or leave large pockets of air in the planting hole. Water until you are sure the moisture has reached the bottom of the hole and that the soil has settled around the roots. Plants that have been divided in the autumn may not bloom the following spring, but will return to normal the next season.
Scientific Name Paeonia Common Name Peony Sun Exposure Partial Shade Soil Type Normal, or Clay Blooming Time Late Spring to Early Summer Height 75-90 cm 29-35 inches Spread 45-60 cm 18-23 inches Deer Resistant Rabbit Resistant
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