Peonies for Spring Tiphia Wasps & Bees???

carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)May 27, 2007

I'm looking for peonies to serve several purposes:

My top priority is providing nectar for Spring Tiphia Wasps (the larvae of which parasitize Japanese Beetle larvae). Does anyone know whether some peonies provide more/better nectar than others?

I'd also like to provide pollen for the bees. My understanding is that single (and some semi-double) peonies are by far my best bet, but that even some of those types produce little if any pollen. How do I find out which are best?

I'd prefer plants that don't go dormant in late summer. I'd love to have at least some fragrant varieties. I hope to find one or (preferably) more varieties that fulfill all of these criteria.

Advice, information, and tips regarding any or all of the above will be greatly appreciated!

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jayco(5b NY)

I have no idea about the wasp question. I'm not sure what you mean by the plants "going dormant" in late summer, but peonies all have a relatively short blooming season, and even if you assiduously plant varieties to cover the widest possible blooming season, you still will only get around 5-6 weeks worth of bloom. Each variety will only bloom for about a week and a half. Many are fragrant. Good luck!

Oh, and maybe you should ask this question in the bee-keeping forum...?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 3:17PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Thanks for the suggestion, Jayco.

Maybe "dormant" isn't quite the right word, but I'm talking about the leaves, not the flowers. From some preliminary reading, I have the impression that certain varieties tend to die down in the summer, especially in a dry year. I'd prefer ones that look like little green bushes till autumn.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 3:43PM
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jayco(5b NY)

All of mine remain green, bushy, and decent-looking until fall. The foliage can turn a bit yellow or brownish if it's very dry, but I'd say in general they look quite presentable until fairly late on. Here's a link to a site that discusses extending the blooming season:

Here is a link that might be useful: peony blooming

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 5:01PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Thanks for the link, Jayco. I checked out that site (The Peony Bloom Time Project), and it looks like useful information.

I agree with you, most peonies do stay nice and bushy through the summer. But I've heard that a few cultivars may not, and I'd prefer to avoid any with this tendency.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 5:23PM
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I've read that fernleaf (paonia tenuifolia) tend to go dormant before the end of summer leaving a hole in your border. It's the reason that I didn't buy one. I still want one though. If my rockii seedlings work, would anyone be willing to consider a trade?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:11AM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Well, that's probably one to avoid, then (though they are awfully pretty). Thanks, Rian.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 7:17PM
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