Peonies are beloved plants all over the country, especially right here at our Garden Center in Snellville, GA, for their stunning, long blooming flowers. They come in beautiful shades ranging from whites to yellows, pinks to reds. Many of today’s peonies have stronger stems, more profuse blooms, and lovely fragrances. Getting peonies to grow in the south is not too difficult but getting them to bloom might be a little more tricky.
Four things are essential to succeed with peonies in Georgia:
• Loose, well-draining soil. Amend the soil with plenty of soil conditioner before planting.
• Protection from afternoon sun in summer.
• Chilly winters. Typically peonies need at least 3 weeks of 32 degree or cooler temperatures during the winter to bloom the following spring
• Plant in a spot that gets about six hours of morning sunshine but dappled shade/sun in afternoon.
The cool thing about peonies, among others, is that they can live and bloom for over 25 years once they get established.
Since peonies need to be cold in winter, we in the south may not have that many cold days, plant your roots shallowly, barely an inch deep in the soil. Make sure you have well-drained soil. Add Nature’s Helper Soil Conditioner, Espoma Root-tone® Starter Plus, and even a little bit of perlite to your soil. You can fertilize in fall with an organic fertilizer like Espoma Flower-tone® or in spring with bulb fertilizer.
Many peonies are fragrant such as Shirley Temple, Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfeld.
Peonies make wonder cut flowers! Try these tips for creating show stopping arrangements:
• Select half opened blooms, they’ll last longer.
• Cut the flowers early in the morning.
• If the heads are heavy with dew, gently shake to remove water.
• Handfuls of peonies in a vase make a beautiful arrangement.
• Remove foliage below water line to prevent bacteria build up
• Keep flowers away from heat and direct light.