Peonies | Beautiful flowers | Easy to Grow
Beautiful Peonies are easy to grow. Far from being hot house flowers steeped in the myth that they are fickle, they are entirely hardy and will happily move with you if you change address. Few creatures will eat them, being unpalatable to slugs, snails, rabbits and deer.
Gertrude Jekyll gave an endearing description of the red buds pushing through the frozen ground in late Winter as “Dear Rosy Snouts”. A tough red bud coating protects the new season’s growth as it emerges to reveal the new plant with its red leaves that will gradually change to green as the season progresses. Flower buds growing above the foliage will delight the onlooker within a couple of months showing bloom colours of Coral, Pink, Red and White depending on variety. The most popular varieties showing these colours respectively are Coral Charm and Coral Sunset, Bowl of Beauty, Sarah Bernhardt, Buckeye Belle and Jan van Leeuwen or Duchesse de Nemours.
There are three types of Peony, with the Herbaceous, as described above, being the most popular and least expensive to buy, growing to a height of approximately 90 – 120cm. Tree
Peonies are well known and the Intersectional Hybrid, a cross between a Herbaceous and Tree Peony is relatively new to the market and tends to cost more.
The recipe for success with these perennials, flowering in May and June, is planting the herbaceous ones at a depth of no more than 3cm so the sun will warm the tubers to produce a flower bud for the following year. This means, by default, that they need to be planted in a sunny spot. Tree Peony cultivars are grafted onto herbaceous root stock, so need to be planted with the scion (the shoot grafted to the rootstock) at least 5cm below ground
Planting in glazed or terracotta pots is a beautiful way to present a herbaceous Peony. By using a soil-based compost such as John Innes No.3 and incorporating bone-meal or mycorrhizal fungi the plant will get off to a good start and soon reward you with flowers.
We have Peonies for sale grown by our very own expert on Peonies, Susannah Applegate – Garden and Horticultural Society Speaker. Susannah Applegate works at Greenshutters Nurseries & Garden Centre on Mondays and Wednesdays but can also be contacted via Hurstbrookplants.com
Images of all Peonies (except for Bowl of Beauty) are courtesy of Sue Applegate.