How To Expertly Grow Peonies

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Peonies are breathtakingly beautiful perennials that can live for decades if cared for properly. With stunning big blooms from spring to summer and lush leaves all season long, peonies are one of the gardener’s most treasured plants. If you currently grow peonies in your garden or are looking to plant some this season, it’s important that you know how to best care for these striking flowers.

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There are many different types of peonies, but as a general rule of thumb, peonies need full sun and well-draining soil in order to thrive. Although peonies will tolerate some shady periods, they prefer having between six and eight hours of full sun each day. In dry periods, be sure to water peonies just as you would the other plants in your garden. Because peonies can produce such big, heavy blooms, it’s not a bad idea to use stakes to prop them up if you find they are becoming too top heavy.

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If you don’t yet have peonies growing in your garden but would like to plant some, most gardeners agree that peonies planted in the fall tend to grow bigger and stronger than peonies planted in the spring. Remember, peonies are perennials, so as long as you plant them a few weeks before the first frost in the fall, you’ll see them begin sprouting in the spring. Peonies grow to be quite big, so ensure you are not planting them too close to other plants and shrubs to avoid crowding, as well as competition for sunlight and nutrients.

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I’m fortunate enough to have both peonies and hydrangeas growing in my garden, which make up my absolute favorite arrangement of flowers. When cutting your peonies for a vase arrangement, be sure to clip them just as the buds start to open. This will ensure you get to enjoy their full blooming capacity when you bring them inside your home. It’s also important to not cut too many buds from the same stem to encourage the plant to produce lots of blooms during the following season. When your blooms open and begin to show their seeds, you can help speed along the production of new blooms by removing the spent ones.

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For such delicate-looking flowers, peonies are actually quite low-maintenance plants. As long as you follow these tips when planting and caring for your peonies, you should get to enjoy big, luscious blooms from spring until summer. Where I live, the crocuses and snowdrops are just beginning to sprout… but now I can hardly wait for peony season!