|Peony flower and buds|
Peonies are long-lived flowering shrubs that bloom in spring. Peony shrubs feature fragrant spring flowers, green glossy summer foliage and vibrant red-hued leaves in fall. Once established in your garden the peony will grow seasonally for up to one hundred years
Many people grew up with peonies as the plant may have been divided from their grandmother's peonies and the peonies are passed down as an heirloom, thus making the peony a cherished flowering shrub.
Choose the garden site for the peony that features full sun to part shade, well-drained soil and adequate growing space. If you are planting more than one peony, space three feet apart.
Loosen the soil so that it has a fine texture. Work compost into the soil and then dig a hole that is the same depth as the nursery container.
At the bottom of the hole mix some bone meal for flowers and bulbs with the soil. Lightly shake the soil from the roots of the peony. I do this to encourage growth. Set the peony in the center of the hole with roots facing outward.
The peony eyes need to be two inches below the soil line. If you should plant the eyes deeper the peony will not produce flowers, or the flowers will be small.
Once established the peony is drought tolerant, however, if your area is hot during the summer water the peony by drip irrigation in the morning. Expect your peony plant to bloom in the third season. If blooms are heavy use around plant stake to prevent the stems from breakage.
Cut off spent blooms and prune the stems to two inches above the soil after a hard frost.
Water the transplant well and continue to water daily until a hard frost. Always transplant a month before a hard frost so that the roots can become established.
Apply a thin layer of mulch around the transplant and after the hard frost cut back the stems and apply a thicker layer of mulch.