Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > September 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Peonies

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Peonies

We just got our locally grown peony roots in a few days ago so here are a few interesting facts about peonies:

Peonies are native to western North America, southern Europe, and Asia.

The Chinese word for peony is “Sho Yu” which means “Most Beautiful.”

Peonies are very long lived perennials in the garden, lasting a hundred years or more.

Peonies are named after Paeon, a student of Asclepias, the Greek god of medicine.  Myth says that when Asclepias became so jealous of his student that he planned to kill him, Zeus turned Paeon into a beautiful flower instead.

Marco Polo called peonies “Roses, as big as cabbages” when he first saw them.
Peonies are a symbol of Good Fortune.

Peony buds attract ants.  They produce a clear sweet nectar that ants like.  An Old Wive’s Tale says that the plant needs the ants to help open the flowers, but that is a myth.  However the ants don’t hurt the peony and, because they are territorial, can actually help fight off insects that might harm it.  If cutting buds for the house, a simple rinse with the hose will take care of any ants.

To plant your own peony, dig a hole about two feet in diameter and about 10 inches deep.  Add a little compost, if desired, however our grower doesn’t recommend manures at this stage.  Plant fresh peony roots with the “eyes” up, covered with no more than two inches of soil.  Planting too deep may prevent the peony from blooming well, if at all.

Feed in the spring with a lower nitrogen fertilizer like Bulb-tone when the new leaves first appear and again right after blooming.

Avoid over-head watering, if possible. 

Best of all, for those of us with critter problems, deer don’t like peonies, neither do voles!

Stop by the Great Big Greenhouse and I'll help you pick out those "just right" locally grown peony roots for your garden.
Posted: 9/25/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 1 comment(s)
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