ants and peonies -- why?

earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)May 12, 2005

i'm new to peonies and notice ants, ants and more ant. there are only buds so far with blooms on the way. a friend told me they will get worse that ants will be almost embedded in the flower portion.

what is the reason for the ants? do they act as pollunators?

i'd appreciate any advise at all.

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amulet(7b NC)

The Heartland Peony Society has a FAQ section, and some of the questions are about ants. You might want to check this out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heartland Peony Society FAQs

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:37AM
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calistoga_al

The ants are attracted to the sweet juice of a bud about to open. They do no damage and are gone when the bud opens. If you pick a peony for the house ants will not be a problem. Al

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:44AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

thank you both for the information.
amulet, thank you for the web site, very informative.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:14AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

In fact its an old wives tale that peonies need ants to bloom or be pollinated by them. The eye buds are set in the late summer into fall for the upcoming year.The ants as someone mentioned, love the sweet nectar. If they persist after the flowers open, cut the stems and shake the flowers and the ants will fall out of them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 4:34PM
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DianeKaryl(z5ONT)

Ants have this habit of liking sweets....and the wax coating on the bud is what they like. That's the only reason they are there....to feed.

They do nothing for the bud's opening.

On roses, aphids secrete honeydew....ants love honeydew...so the aphids secrete and the ants eat. Along comes a ladybug. Ladybugs like to eat aphids....but that's the ant's meal ticket...so they attack the ladybugs.

See, they're not so dumb.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 10:03PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

When I cut peonies to bring in the house, I stick them upside down in a bucket of water for about 5 minutes to drive the ants out of the blooms. Works like a charm, and doesn't hurt the bloom a bit.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 2:35PM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

flowerluvr

thanks for that info, these flowers are so fragrant and i am having company on sunday, and would love to cut them and bring them in. the only problem, sooooo many ants inside the gorgeous flowers.

i'll take your suggestion and soak them before putting them in a vase.

i can't wait to get more of these beauties. i have them lining one side of my house, halfway up. would love to do the entire side in them and get some other colors. right now i have shades of pinks and white. i thought i had gotten some reds, but i guess they weren't marked properly.

again, thanks for your help

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 3:58PM
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minnzmom(z4MN)

Oh do I feel relieved to know that the ants won't gobble up my buds! I have been knocking them off each day and wondered how futile this seemed to be...Never had a peony bush before.
Let the blooming begin!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 6:27PM
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broomhildah(7/8 VA)

My mother always said it was a co-op thing. Ants like the sweet peonie secretions and as they walk about and eat away at the waxy coating it loosens the the very tight cabbage-like blossom holders. I don't think it's required by the peonie for ants to be present, but I do notice that my peonies with the most ants bloom all at once and the blooms are fully opened, gorgeous and fragrant, whereas the peonies in a different area that gets regular bug treatments and thus no ants, bloom alot more sporatically.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 7:28AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

I read (somewhere...) that you pick the buds when they just start to show color but not opening just yet; when they feel kinda like marshmallows. The ants are easy to remove being on the outside only and the peonies last that much longer in the vase! BONUS!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 2:54PM
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niecyt1(ca foothills)

I used to have peonies and wondered why the ants..millions of them! They have to open the buds. They don't open on their own and without ants you wouldn't have peonies simple as that.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:48PM
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yvonnesouth_yahoo_com

I disagree,last spring the ants ate all my buds.
I just sprayed them,they were corvered again.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 11:49AM
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maifleur01

Whatever "ate" your buds it was not ants. Ants will remove the sticky sweet stuff but they do not eat the foliage or bud. You need to look for some other pest if it happens again this year.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:39PM
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Jam76

I have heard from several sites that tree peonies do not attract ants. Is this true? just wanted to get a second opinion

Here is a link that might be useful: One of the web sites that suggest this

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:38PM
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maifleur01

Tree peonies generally do not attract ants however if food sources are lacking they may look for food on any flower even tree peonies.

You really should start a new topic rather than adding on to an old one since especially this one will be sent to the person who started the topic.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:25PM
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aquajellyfish

Peonies absolutely benefit from their relationship with the ants. Many gardeners wonder why so many ants crawl on the peony buds. They are eating nectar in exchange for attacking bud-eating pests. Never spray the ants; they're helping you nurture peonies to bloom!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 7:09PM
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