All About PeoniesDepending on the climate, peonies bloom in late spring and early summer, and are known for their large fragrant flowers and shiny green leaves. Although the garden peony is more common in the northern states, the tree peony is quite prevalent in the south. In addition to the many varieties of color, there are many varieties of shape as well. The large double flower is seen more often in familiar shades of pinks and whites. However, they can also be purchased in singles or semidoubles in variations of purples, magentas, reds and yellows to name just a few.
Growing PeoniesSelect plants that have at least 3 eyes or buds. Peonies do best in sunny areas, and as with most plants, well-drained loose soil. In order for them to produce blossoms at the earliest possible time, plant them in the fall. The hole should be at least 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Replace enough of the dirt mixed in with some fertilizer to fill half of the hole, and lay the root system on top. When you replace the rest of the soil, make sure that the buds are no deeper than 2 inches below the surface. Too deep planting can cause a lack of blooms. Water deeply.
Peonies may take a year or two to become fully established, but then continue to produce large blooms for years. Although ants are attracted to their sweetness, they cause no damage, and the plant is remarkably resistant to disease. Remove the dead flowers, so the plant can save its energy for future growth. In the fall, you can cut the plant back to two or three inches above the ground and throw away the stems. This will insure removing any remains of fungus. However, this should not be done with the tree peony as its growth will be stunted.