Hopeful gardener needs advice for peonies

alohaspirit(11)February 27, 2006

Yes, zone 11, Maui, Hawaii. When it gets cold here, and rainy, it hits 50. In the summer, it's 75-90 degrees. Humidity is high. I have always loved the pictures of peonies. A couple of months ago, I threw caution to the wind and ordered four plants. I just learned they will be shipped to me in March. Any suggestions on how to plant and care for them would be greatly appreciated as now I'm concerned I may have doomed these poor plants to a short and unproductive life. Would I do best to plant them in containers? Your help would really be appreciated, as the county extension agent couldn't believe I wanted to try to grow peonies on Maui. Aloha!

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The peonies may survive but unlikely to bloom. There are tree peonies that might bloom if kept cool and the leaves removed to force dormancy during the winter.

Depending on where you are aquiring the plants from and how old the plants are you might be able to get one season of bloom before you need to trade with someone higher on the island. If you could work out a deal with someone on the slopes of the large volcano(sorry I can not remember name) to babysit your plants in large pots placed in shade during the cold time of the year you just might be able to bring them down to your garden to bloom. Good luck on your babies.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 10:34PM
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Aloha, may I inquire from you from where you ordered the tubers from. Was it perchance somewhere on the mainland....possibly in a more northern location?

There are many persons that will sell a refrigerator to an Inuit living where there is no electricity.... I have a problem believing the "house" that sent you the peony did not have thoughts about whether the plant can survive in Lotusland.

Peonies must have a cold-treatment...usually associated with a northern planting...and frankly, tree peonies do not escape needing a like-treatment. (I think)

OK, let's assume your peony produces something. First off, you should be aware that peony is not like other plants...it has this thing about it....it is fussy to the nth degree. Often we hear about plants being tough, can stand up to adversity, can take cold, can take heat, can take being transplanted....and all the other foolishness.

Not so peony. It cannot stand being put into ground too deep....and that is, with the topmost buds (nodules on the shoots) not more than 1" to 1 1/2" below the surface of the soil. Any deeper, the plant may never...never...bloom.

Lift it...because its in the wrong place...it may take another year, two years, three years to come to bloom.
It may produce a bud....one bud...and that is all for the year....the bud may not open...
until the next year. This may be just because its a young tuber, hasn't had its bar mitzvah yet.

So you can see what you are up against even if it will survive in all that sunshine---which it will love.

Let's have positive thinking, let's believe you can reap the benefit of seeing this glorious bloom adding to all the other loveliness in your part of the world.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 7:57PM
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