Companion plants for Peonies

valerie424(z5 NH)May 10, 2005

I was wondering what are some of the best companion plants to peonies. There are peonies coming out in several places in our yard, which I want to replant together in one area. Does the foliage stay healthy and green throughout the season, or does it die back like bleeding hearts, etc? Thanx for any advice!

Valerie in NH

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Peonies grow to be large bush-like plants and need some room to grow. The foliage looks great all season after blooming and lasts until the frost kills it. An exception is the Fern peony, which looks a bit bedraggled after a hot summer. I would be interested in anyone's comments on companion plants also.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 3:32AM
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Healthy peony could provide nice foliage till late fall.
I'm trying to incorporate peonies in general landscape scheme where they will provide splash of color in early summer, but later their foliage will compliment or hide some other less foliage attractive plants.
For example, in one place I grow delphiniums behind peonies, in another, lilies.
There is another combination where I have peony planted in front of tall 'Copper King' hibiscus. In this case peony hididng the bare spot of LB till June and later bronze leaves of hibiscus partially cover the peony. Overall, nice combo.
For that particular reason I prefer to grow peonies in pots for 2 years, move pots around to find the right spot and see where it will look appropriate later in a season when not in bloom.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 9:03AM
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GREAT question!...I would also love to hear about companion plants..The combinations posted above sound wonderful...I would love to hear MORE MORE MORE from all you folks out there!:)...I am new to Peonies, so I cannot speak from "experience"....but just some thoughts I have are that I am going to plant some of my peonies along a fence I have, but maybe 2-3 feet away from the fence to give them better sunlight and to allow me room to plant whatever I want around them. Tall flowers or shrubs that flower at different times behind them, and shorter perennials and annuals in front. Here are some daydreamings
I have had for shrubs or flowers: Lilacs- they may bloom before the Peony does, or before its even fully leafed out. Many Lilacs can get rather leggy looking, so the foliage of the peonies would hide the bottom of the bush. Taller varieties of Hybrid Tea roses, or even tall climbing roses, some tall growing flowers like Echinacea purpurea(Cone flower), Cosmos, Sunflower, Phlox, Delphinium, Foxglove, Hollyhocks, Achillea(Yarrow), or flowering vines like my favorite Clematis(many varied colors and sizes of flowers, but sweet autumn clematis is great for fall bloom), Morning Glory, Brugmansias(Angel Trumpet-if good for your zone), Silver Lace....and for in front or to the sides of the peony: I love Blue Mirror Delphinium/Larkspur, Candytuft, Sweet William, Balloon Flower, Hardy Geranium, Impatiens, DayLilies, Scabiosa, Alyssum, Viola....and bulbs of many could plant later flowering perennials and annuals around very early flowering bulbs so they hide their foliage later as it dies back...I could go on and on....But some of these may be more appropriate then others for your garden scheme or zone. I think I will just make a list of flowers and shrubs I like that could be good companions to the Peonies, organize them according to how tall they grow and what time of year they bloom,...then just plan on having at least one companion plant at a time blooming around the Peony....and the flower that might bloom at the same time as the peony, should be a compatable color so they look nice blooming together. Since Nurseries get flowers in that may already be blooming from where they were grown, but may not bloom at exactly the same time once planted in your yard, driving around your neighborhood and taking a look at whats blooming early, midseason, and late will help, or also contact your local garden club as they will surely have some accurate advise applicable to your particular area about what flowers grow and bloom well and WHEN they bloom, what flowers seem to bloom at the same time, etc. Growing the Peonies in pots for awhile is a good idea...I will do that with some of my new bareroots, but I will also just put some of the potted ones I already have that wintered over last year, in the ground if I KNOW where I want them, then plant around them as inspiration hits me...Oh, one other thing to keep in mind is that Peonies planted near shrubs and trees may NOT bloom as well if they have to compete for water and that has to be compensated for with fertilization thats appropriate for the Peony and its surrounding companion plants, and the right amount of water to keep it happy...its quite a balancing act isn't it?? wishes with your peony growing!...I would love to hear what others have to say about peony companions that have shown themselves to be beautiful and compatable growing together in their gardens...Take care all...GardenLove

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 11:33AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I prefer my peonies to be spaced far enough apart to provide good air circulation between them. In fact when I move a peony it is usually because they have grown bigger than planned and are impinging on each other. I like peonies to be free of companion plants. Al

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:50AM
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I'm growing mine mixed in with everything else and in front of a bed of old roses. My front border is a mish-mash of just about everything - tree peony in bloom right now and a couple of herbaceous peonies coming along with bleeding heart, daylilies, siberian iris, lily-flowered tulips just finishing up, nectaroscordum in bud, roses all over, clematis mixed in with a couple of climbing roses, hollyhocks in back and nepeta and asters in front. And oriental lilies. This weekend I'll get some Blue Horizon ageratum to fill in some blank spaces - and I nearly forgot the echinops in one corner and a stray hosta under a spirea as well as the eryngium mixed in with the daylilies. And some geraniums along with the nepeta and asters.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 8:12PM
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I have put some helianthus (perennial sunflower)and sweet autumn clematis behind my peonies. That looks nice. I have also planted some shasta daisies, daylilies and echinacea with them.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 6:57AM
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valerie424(z5 NH)

Wow thanx for all of the great anwswers! It's so interesting to hear how different people work with the same plant. Oldroser I'd love to see a picture of your garden area! Your mishmash of plants sounds so interesting and colorful! The area where the peonies are (for now!) is a small area along the curve of my front stairs.. maybe 15' x 4' This area also has creeping phlox--wondering if the "matting" of the phlox will become for the peonies. Maybe annual allysum would be better to fill in. Thanx again for the ideas!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 8:16AM
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madspinner(z7 WA skagit)

I plant combinations of peonies and roses... and then I mix in a lot of other perennials (and a few annuals) that I'm ok with moving as the other two types get too big. It fills in the spaces while the roses and peonies are small, but can be moved later without too much trouble.

To be honest, I sometimes misjudge the final size of roses too. I think I have one or two that are going to have to be moved in a few years.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:21PM
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