Friday, March 15, 2024

Peonies are Lovely Spring & Summer Flowers that are Easy to Grow

peony flower
I planted my peony 25 years ago.  It continues to give me the gift of gorgeous blooms year after year.

Peonies are perennials, which is why they continue to produce lovely flowers each year.  They do well in a variety of soils.  I happen to have a clay soil and as you can see, my peony is perfectly content with her environment.  

It may surprise you to know that the large peony bush is actually a tuber that is planted in the fall.  I've never had to move my peony for extreme cold or ice.  She retreats underground before winter, but pops right back up in spring.  It is mid-march here now and I am already seeing her shoots as she prepares to fully awaken.  I don't expect to see actual blooms until late April, but my peony takes center stage when she is ready.

If you are interested in planting a peony like mine (shown on the right), she is a Sarah Barnhardt peony.  I ordered her from Breck's Nursery, which is still in business.  I prefer them because they ship at the right time for planting in your zone.  That is something I always appreciate about that nursery!  I can make an order in spring or summer (when I see a flower blooming) and then the nursery sends me the bulb or tuber at the correct planting time.  That makes gardening so much easier!  They keep up with the calendar for me.  Because bulbs & tubers require very little time to plant, it has never been inconvenient for me to plant them within a day or two of arrival.

peony shoots
First Peony Shoots in Spring - 3/12/24

First Full Bloom in 2024 - (4/16/24)
Peony Bush
Peony Bush on 4/16/24


Planting Peonies

Because the peony is a tuber, it is extremely easy to plant.  The hardest part for me is determining which side is up.  Don't laugh!  I have actually spent more time inspecting a tuber, looking for the eyes, then it takes to actually plant it.

We get a moderate to high amount of wind in our area, so I elected to plant our peony in front of our south-facing fence and on the east side of the house.  The fence and house provide protection from winds which blow from west to east during a storm.

  • peony
    Late spring, early summer blooming 
  • Fall planting 
  • Plant in an area that stays well drained 
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dig a wider hole than necessary to loosen the dirt around it to allow the roots to grow 
  • Mix *bulb food into the soil (purchased along with the peony)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 inches deep (the pink bud eyes should be at that depth)
  • When winter arrives and the plant dies back, cut to just above ground level
  • It usually takes 2 or 3 years before a peony blooms, but they are worth the wait
*Bulb food:  I use Breck's Food for Bulbs & Perennials OR Osmocote when planting

Peony Blooms
peony bloom

The peony blooms are impressively large.  That is my husbands hand holding the flower up for me to photograph.  You can see how big the flower is compared to a mans hand.
I often cut them and bring them inside so I can enjoy seeing the lovely bloom throughout my day.  
When our children were in grade school, they loved taking a few peony blooms to their teachers.  A single peony flower is as lovely as a dozen roses, in my opinion, and I do love roses.
peony photo by Sylvestermouse


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  1. Peonies really are gorgeous flowers. My grandmother was quite the gardener and had flower beds that extended out from the back of her house, along both sides of the backyard and partway across the end. Her peonies were just as pretty as yours. May yours bloom beautifully for you this Spring.

  2. My dad had a whole row of peonies planted in our back yard. They were always so beautiful. My younger brother now lives in the family house and those peonies are still there beautiful as ever.

  3. I love peonies! Thanks for an informative review.

  4. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers! I so wish I could grow them here in Boston, but our yard’s northern exposure doesn’t provide full sun and the temperatures are below freezing for too-long stretches for these beauties to thrive here. I would so love to be able to have freshly cut peony blooms in the house! Yours is a beauty.

  5. Very beautiful! Our last home we owned before this one had a gorgeous garden of peonies included - they were so gorgeous - I was quite a bit younger then and not much of a gardener - these days I know a wee bit more and when I reflect back to those peonies in our yard, I'm reminded about the beauty I hadn't truly realized. Your flowers are so pretty.

  6. I love Peonies, our home has two which were here when we moved in and they are still going strong and so beautiful and really easy maintenance. Yours look gorgeous, a really pretty colour. Ours are just now showing little shoots but they grow so fast from now on and we can look forward to those beautiful blooms. I will always have Peonies in my garden.

  7. Very pretty indeed, reminds me of my Grandma's garden :)


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