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Choosing Peonies as Perennial Plant Type

September 2, 2010

Imported Peonies

Peonies as Excellent Perennial Plant

Peonies are extremely hardy and relatively easy to grow. It has been known to be among the longest-lived perennial plants, which can survive up to many years if properly cared for. Because peonies are large plants and do not produce good foliage and flowers, it is always best planted to become the backbone of any flower border.

There are basically two types of peonies, Herbaceous peonies and Tree peonies.

Herbaceous Peonies
Herbaceous type can grow to a height of 2 to 4 feet. They can be divided into 5 different groups depending on the shape and petal arrangements. Among these, the most popular is the single or Chinese type, which only has one row of broad petals surrounding the yellow stamens. The flowers exist in wide range of colors such as white, yellow, red or even pink.

Tree Peonies
Tree Peonies are actually shrubs, and not trees as what many people have mistaken to known and can grow up to a height of 4 to 6 feet. The flowers for tree peonies are larger in size, often growing to about 10 inches in diameter and depending on which type, whether it is a Mountan or Lutea varieties, the colour can vary from pink to yellow.

To successfully grow peonies, select a good site where the soil is rich in organic matter. They will thrive in either clay soils or sandy soils but the latter will require addition of more fertilizers. Fertilizers can be either compost or well-rotted manure and they will only need to be added once per year. Also make sure that the area has proper drainage and the spot should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Good air movement is also preferred to prevent spread of disease. Peonies also prefer a pH of between 6.5 to 7.0. And as in many cases if found that the pH is too low, one only needs to add lime to the soil to raise the pH for best growth of peonies.

To begin planting herbaceous peonies, try to obtain the tuber from the plant. Select the tuber, which has at least 3 to 5 buds present. Obtain help of an expert with regards to this. The buds are generally bright red in color and are usually found underground at the crown of the plant. Peonies are best planted in the early fall, but if you missed out too late, you can start during the spring by getting potted plants instead. If well cared for, peonies will start to bloom in May. The correct way of planting peonies is to ensure that the tuber is not set too deep underneath the soil. Make sure that the buds are only about 1-2 inch under the soil. If this is not done properly, the plants will end up having few flowers to bloom.

Tree peonies can be grown either from seeds or grafts, but most planters generally recommend grafts for beginners. The graft union should be at least 3 inches below the soil, as this will encourage the tree to grow its own roots and basal shoots.

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