How to Grow Peonies

Peonies are one of the easiest perennial flowers to grow and will add years of beauty to your yard.

Peonies are the queen of the spring garden. They offer carefree color, fragrance and come back for years. Most people are familiar with the old-fashioned peonies with large double heads but there are many other varieties that you can grow. New hybrid peonies are fragrant like the heirlooms but they come at a wider range of colors and the blooms often stand up better in hard weather. Single flower peonies get their name from the single row of petals that surround the sunny yellow center of the flower. Most breeds eventually open flat, forming a dish-shape. Semi-double peonies get their name from the ball of [unk] and cut petals inside the main flower. It's a great look. Some peony varieties are so packed with petals they almost look like they're two varieties in one. This is a single variety called Krinkled White. It's a knockout in the garden as everyone stops to look at it. It looks kind of like a fried egg. The plants are tough and very hardy. There are other things to keep in mind if you want to have a great peony garden. First, they need full sun. Plant them to a spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct sunny day. Second, plant them on fall and place the roots only an inch or two deep underneath the soil surface. Third, use a peony stake, when the plants are about 6 inches tall, place the stake over the plant and it will support in times of high wind and heavy rain. Finally, remove faded flowers to make the plant look better. As peony buds begin to open, they are often covered in ants. This is good for the flower. The ants eat some of the nectar the bud excrete and protect the plant from pests. And don't forget, peonies make great cut flowers. They will fill your home with color and fragrance.