Hello there! How was your weekend? Ours was fantastic. Sorry for the silence late last week -- I planned to post on Friday but we drove all night long to get home from a quick trip out of town. I was exhausted and then we had a full day when we got home.
I'm back at it this week and it's our first full week home on summer break. I'm looking forward to being equal parts lazy and productive -- yay for summer!!
I wrote about this beautiful flower two years ago (actually on the same day, that's weird) but I adore this plant so much I thought I'd update you with a few more tips. On that last post I share about the varieties of the flower and how to get the ants off of them when you bring them in. Today I'm talking more about how to care for the plant and how to get more blooms. Peonies can be kind finicky, but when they're happy you won't ever need to touch them again.
This year my larger bush didn't produce as many blooms -- only about 12. That's low for that one and I was a little bummed…until I saw the flowers. They were HUGE:
I mean. HUGE. I have never seen them this large. Anywhere!
They are seriously one of the most glorious flowers I've ever seen. So fluffy and delicate...and the scent -- it is truly intoxicating. A true "flower" scent and so lush and full.
You'll want to cut them when the are full and open. I find if you cut them too soon they do not continue to bloom inside. Peonies need ants to open but even if I cut them in half bloom they don't open up well. The problem with these huge blooms is the plant can't handle the weight. I had to cut a few off mid-bloom because the stalk was broken:
Even the smaller blooms will make the stalks droop over so you can imagine how heavy these were!
If you have to cut them a little early you can open them up yourself a little bit -- just separate the petals and fluff. I don't know what variety these are but I love them -- they are between a light pink and hot pink color:
Our smaller plants produce hot pink blooms that are much smaller and they don't smell quite as much as these.
The blooms this year were easily ten inches across? Maybe bigger? It's crazy. They are so gorgeous! I only have three in this pitcher and there's no room for more:
Here are a few tips on how to grow peonies:
- Peonies love sun! Full sun is fine for these beauties. In our yard our larger plant in dappled sun does better than those in full though, so who knows.
- These plants don't do well in the south, as they need winter cold for the blooms. There are varieties that do better so look into those if you are interested! Also, I've read you can "chill" your plants if it doesn't get cold enough. Worth a try!
- They are notoriously hard to transplant. A friend was giving away a ton of plants years ago (see my free hosta garden here) and she had this big, beautiful peony bush I dug up and took home. It was so massive and I was giddy. It died within a few days. :(
- If you attempt to transplant, do it in the fall. I'd say late September would be ideal. Keep in mind if it does stay alive after moving it, it may not bloom for years.
- Don't spray for bugs on the plant or near them -- at least in the spring when they are blooming. They needs ants to open up the blooms. Again, if you want to bring them in (please do and enjoy them!), use this method to get the bugs off.
- I have two more plants that barely bloom -- this year the bushes are super small and they only produced one flower between the two. I was waiting a couple years to see if they would pick up but now I know they are planted too deep. Peonies are very picky about their root depth so I need to bring them up a bit and see if that helps. Don't bury the roots more than two inches under ground -- they will not bloom well!
- The peony only blooms once a year and the rest of the year the plant is a dark-leaved bush. I really love it even after the blooms are gone. It is full, pretty plant and I love how it looks in our landscaping.
The great thing about this plant is once you have it in a spot it likes, you don't need to touch it again. You can cut them down in the late fall but I never do -- I just clean it up in the early spring when it starts to bloom again. Otherwise the care is minimal. My kind of plant! :)
Do you grow these beauties? They are the Indiana state flower and grow everywhere here -- they love our weather.