Peonies for the South ! ! !

plsgrow(7A TN)June 9, 2004

From two different books that I have borrowed from the library here is a list of Peonies that allegedly do well in the southern heat. The recommendations are all early blooming plants. Based on the theory that later blooming peonies will bake in the hot south before they will bloom.

Second, this list of peonies does Not intend to infer or to indicate that they will not do perfectly well as far north as Canada. For example, 'Lady Alexander Duff' was introduced and recommended for Canadian gardens in the 1920's and is still recommended for that area today.

Avoid Extremely Heavy Doubles, Plant Early Blooming Varieties.

Recommended for the south:

'Kansas' a red double

'Miss America' white

'Moonstone' a blush double

'Sword Dance' outstanding red of Japanese form

'Big Ben', 'Bowl of Beauty', 'Carol', 'Dawn Pink','Kelway's Glorious', 'Lady Alexander Duff'

The following two are particularly recommended for zone 8:

'Mt St Helen' and 'Picotee'.

Excerpts from "Peonies" by Alan Rogers and "Peonies" by Jane Fearnley Whittingstall.


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TomH3787(7b NC)

Thanks for the info! I asked this question earlier and got only one response. I will save your post. BTW, Festiva Maxima also does well in the south (at least here in zone 7b).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 9:50PM
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croakie_SC(SC Zone 8)

Thank you! I have an early blooming double (don't know the name) that has finally bloomed. I'll check out some of these others too. Does anyone know which one this might be?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 6:56AM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

Tom H, Thank you for adding Festiva Maxima to the list. That is good to know, as I find it particularly attractive in photographs. I also like the heavy doubles and have one unnamed red and a white flecked slightly with red/pink that bloomed gloriously around Mother's Day this year.

By listing the Peonies recommended for the south I did not mean to exclude any Peonies that do well here that were not listed in the books that I was referencing. I have had six peonies for several years now, but this is the first time that I have seriously attempted to learn more about them, so I'm a novice.

Croakie, that is beautiful, though I haven't a clue to the identification. I am surprised that you have a Peony blooming in your zone right now. It looks like it receives shade? Will be interesting to see if someone can identify it.

The unnamed Peonies that I mentioned above were part of group of three that I bought at a special price from White Flower Farms in CT, via mail order. They said they were named Peonies that have fallen out of favor. I am amazed at the display they put on each year. Of course, each year is a little different. I have looked closely through the two Peony books that I currently have checked out from the library and can't be certain that I can identify any of them. I do love being able to search the library records on-line and being able to order on-line.

There was a deep double red in one of the books that I beleve was called Confederate and a notation that peonies were long considered the Memorial Day flower in the south and were widely used during and after the civil war for the cemetaries. Guess that was when Memorial Day came much earlier in May than it does now.

Gorgeous flower,


    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 10:17AM
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croakie_SC(SC Zone 8)

Pat, that picture is from a month or so ago, I was so happy when they bloomed, and I didn't know that peonies were fragrant until then either! They are actually in full sun most of the day, they get light shade from around 3 or 4 until dark. They've been there for 4 years and this is the first they've bloomed, but I'm starting to think that the roots weren't large enough, the plants are quite a bit fuller this year than before. It must be a maturity issue.

I just ordered some Sarah Bernhardt peonies which aren't on the list, I'll be interested to see how they'll do down here.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 11:21AM
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TomH3787(7b NC)

Pat, I see your zone has changed from z6BTN to 7ATN since Wednesday. Is that due to sudden global warming ;-) Just kidding, I know how difficult it can be to determine what zone you're in (and the limited value of USDA zones for gardeners anyway).

Here are some more peonies to add to your list. These are from the PDN catalog. Tony Avent always tests what he sells locally for a few years before offering it. So one can be fairly confident these peonies will perform well as far south as zone 7b/8a.

  • Paeonia 'Green Lotus' (Krekler-R. Klehm)

  • Paeonia japonica (Japanese Peony)

  • Paeonia 'Kansas' (M. Bigger)

  • Paeonia 'Monsieur Jules Elie' (F. Crousse)

Of these, I already have 'Jules Elie'... I am definitely going to try to get 'Kansas' too since I like the color and it's also on the list you found.

Peonies can be temperamental in the South and I want to grow them for flowers, not as a foliage plant. Since I have a small yard I want to limit myself to just a few varieties that can handle our warm weather.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 7:33PM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

TomH3787, I laughed a lot when I saw your question about my zone change. Changing one's zone like one might a hairstyle or clothing? Chuckle. I have always felt that our micro-climate here on a south facing hill in the Tennessee Valley was much more of a zone 7 that 6 and I am very near the official wavy little climate zone change from 6 to 7. Then the heat and humidity returned with a vengence and I am now officially declaring myself to be in Zone 7. Thus my zone change. I won't rule out rapid climate deterioration though, caused by the greenhouse effect and made even worse by the coal burning steam plants in this most polluted valley.

Thanks for posting a link to the PDN catalog. Very helpful.
Oh, I also have the 'jules' peonies that came from my Grandmothers' garden that I dearly love.

I happened across an article today in old Southern Living magazine from April of 2003. Classic Beauties - Peonies" by Ellen Rouoff Riley. The article states that "peonies need cold winter weather to flourish and withut sufficient cooling, few flowerbuds are produced. Greg Jones, with Gilbert H Wild and Son in Sarcoxie, Missouri, is an expert on their cultivation. "We've found the peonies need about three to four weeks of cold - around 32 degress. But every variety has a different cooling requirement" he says.
In the upper and middle south, the eye should be covered by an inch of soil. But in the lower south, place it barely beneath the surface. "You want the eyes as close to the top of the soil line as you can get, so the plant can benefit from cool winter temperatures," Greg says.

Avoid mulching peonies, because this insulates the roots and prevents sufficient cooling.
The article go's on to quote Rick Berry with Goodness Grow's in Lexington, Ga. "Here, we recommend partial shade, preferably with protection from afternoon sun. Peonies grown in full sun often suffer leaf scorch by midsummer. The plants go dormant early, preventing them from building up food reserves. This reduces flowering the next year. In filtered light, however, peony foliage continues growing into late summer or early fall, storing energy for the following year's blooms."

The article also has a subtitle: The Truth About Moving:

They say you should plant a peony for life. What that means is that peony will easily live for 50 years. It doesn't mean you can't move it. Relocate the plant in the fall when it is dormant. After the foliage has died down, dig a wide ring around the plant, and carefully lift the roots. Replant it as you would a new peony. Have patience. It may take several years to become established and bloom well."

I transplanted one of the Jules last fall in order for it to get more sun and it came up very nice and healthy this year. It bloomed much better in the full sunshine than it has ever done in my increasingly shady backyard.

And, croakie I learned that not all peonies are fragrant because the un-named ones do not...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 10:12PM
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TomH3787(7b NC)

Pat, thanks again for all the info. I am still waiting for someone to answer my question about what coral peony would be best - my two candidates are 'Coral Sunset' and 'Coral Charm'. Any opinions? I did know about not planting them too deeply - else you just get leaves and no flowers - learned that from my mom. I think the key to transplanting peonies is to damage the roots as little as possible, because that's where they store their food reserves for winter survival and flowering in spring. If you can avoid breaking or chopping the roots too much you can get them to bloom the year after transplanting.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2004 at 11:34PM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

The calendar says that autumn is approaching! Just popped in to check out the best peonies for the south as I am hoping to find a few more fragrant peonies.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 5:18PM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

TomH3787 I hope you got some advice on which of the two Coral Peonies would be best for your zone. I'm shopping for 'Festiva Maxima' and comparing prices and saw the 'Coral Charm' at White Flower Farms. A beautiful plant.

White Flower Farms is offering their
Old-Time Peony Collection of 1 pink, 1 white, 1 red for $24.00. This is the collection I ordered several years ago and they have done well. The collection that I received, however, have no fragrance.

The Peony Collection was the best deal and the healthiest plants that I have received from WFF. I don't advocate WFF, just that particular collection.

Peony Collection

Here is a link that might be useful: WFF 'Coral Charm'

    Bookmark   September 5, 2004 at 10:56AM
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lrobins(z5 CO)

Although I have not dealt with them yet, I found Peony Meadows of Stony Point, VA (near Charlottesville) in a search, and they look like a promising source for more heat-tolerant peonies. I believe they are in zone 7A. They write, "We carry over 150 varieties of herbaceous and tree peonies. Planting was first begun 1995 and each year since then, we have expanded our field of flowers and offered more varieties." Also, "Peony Meadows is a spectacular place to visit in May. All visits are free, but please call in advance."

Here is a link that might be useful: Peony Meadows

    Bookmark   September 5, 2004 at 3:53PM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

lrobins, thanks for the link to Peony Meadows. It seems so few peonies are noted as fragrant in the on-line catalogs or the printed catalog. There is just that allure of a gorgeous peony that invites you to get closer to it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 1:53PM
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kaniangl(z9 Florida)

I am in NORTH FLORIDA...Can I grow any Peonies here? THey are my favorite flower....

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 5:44AM
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Try growing in container, especially tree peonies:

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 10:16PM
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hag49(Tx z8a)

I grew gorgeous peonies in Dallas. They all bloomed in May. Now I'm in Central Texas w/a 1 yr.old garden. I'm really missing my peonies. My soil is very nice,crumbly earth that I improve w/lots of organic matter. I just got brave and ordered 2 peonies from Wayside. I did order the early bloomers. Pink Hawaiian (new) and Doreen. I have no idea if these will do this far south, but I'm willing to try. Peonies are expensive, but well worth it. In Dallas, I did the ice thing the first couple of yrs. then stopped. They did fine. My bushes were 2'circles and full of blooms. People would come by my garden and always comment on how we can't grow peonies.. LOL Anyone else trying the impossible this far south?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 7:56AM
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Blooming_annie(z 8/9, Chas, SC)

Just passing this along...on the Southern Gardening forum, Pirate in zone 8 SC mentioned that he/she has a Sarah Bernhardt peony that does well. The thread is still on page one if you want to look for. Peony is in the title.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 7:28PM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

My first peony to fully open is 'Sword Dance', outstanding red of Japanese form, from Wild's just last summer. Only one flower but it's a beauty.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 10:10PM
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I have had great success with Sarah Bernhardt and Raspberry Sundae. They are each about 10 years old now planted from a Lowe's box.

It's an event in my office each May when I bring in cut peonies to share with my co-workers. I had one comment to me last week, 'isn't it time for your peonies?' I told her I had just cut a few and would bring them that Monday. She grabbed three Raspberries right away!
This 'crop' is the best so far. I've had at least 12 huge Raspberries and more coming. The Sarah's are also HUGE 6 - 8 inches across, truly amazing. The fragrance of the Raspberries is just intoxicating, the Sarah's less so but still nice.

Peonies have been the easiest plants I've ever grown. I never fertilize or do anything to them.

I just added Karl Rosenfeld last fall. I didn't think they would make it because first they laid out in their mailing box for quite awile, then I planted pretty late. Anyway, there they were in March-April. No flowers as this is their first season, but two nice sized, healthy stalks with lots of medium green leaves, reddish near the stalks. I probably won't get any flowers for another two years but one never knows and they'll be worth the wait-huge deep red doubles. Hmmm, I can almost smell them now... ;)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 9:46PM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

I'm glad to hear of other's experiences in the south with peonies. I'd like to branch out (haha) a little more and have been trying to figure out the reality of our heat and its effect on peonies.

Thanks for the experiences. Anyone else have anything to add about growing peonies in the southern humidity and heat?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 12:09AM
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I'm not going to discuss the aim of the discussion; only to give you, if I may, a little geography lesson.

You lump Canada into the equation as its position on a map....its north.....its north of America. Everything, every place in Canada is north of America.

NOT SO! Thus....."will even grow in Canada".....does infer you know very little about your northern neighbor.

We have areas of this country that lie further south than portions of California, Nevada and Utah.
Further south than portions of Oregon and Idaho.

Don't believe me? Consider one important fact. The world is not flat......its round. Believe me, it is round.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 9:49PM
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Since plants know no borders, they rely on weather....and whether the weather is conducive to their hardiness to survive.

In Canada, we have zones from 1 - to 8.
So, when you speak of southern varieties, how about instead speaking of varieties for southern zones. Then, you might make the notation that it will do nicely in far off Canada and not speak of where its at.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:00PM
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paeon_(z7a DE)


I just followed this discussion and I'm wondering, why nobody thinks on planting a tree peony?? Their chilling requirements are much lower and their tolerate summer heat and draught. Mayn chinese tree peonies are bred for southern climates, because the chinese have the same problem like the US, the south-


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 1:34AM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

Hi Carsten, what a beautiful site you have! I have bookmarked it to visit again later.

For myself, the tree peonies are not something that I am familiar with, and have not seen at local nurseries. I have begun reading about them. To obtain them would require ordering them by mail, so I need to know more about them first.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 9:34AM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

Karyl wrote: "The world is not flat......its round. Believe me, it is round."

Ah, the profound truths that can be learned via the internet. Do you grow a large variety of Peonies then?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 10:41AM
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plsgrow......well, if you consider using one of my peony flowers as a carport, I guess you could say we grow 'em big in "southern" Ontario.

Forgive the crack about not knowing geography...but because the world is does show places as related to their parallels.....not their position on a flat map.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 5:51PM
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Rekha Anandkumar(9)

What size containers are we talking about for peonies? I just got two bareroot (one bowl of beauty and one sara bernhardt) from home depot here and put them in 12" pots (I had read somewhere else that I should plant immediately and cant hold on to them like bulbs). Should I move them to bigger pots right away or can I wait for a year? When will these bloom? Will I be hurting them if I moved them later on? Sorry for all the questions, I am a newbie

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 12:10PM
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WOW! Am I glad to find this forum! I am a "damn Yankee" by Southern standards.... in other words, I moved to Tennessee from North of the Mason Dixon Line. However I like to think of myself as a "reformed Yankee" since my son was born in Atlanta.

We've been in Tennessee for 10 years now, and the one thing I miss the most is my English style garden, full of Peonies. I am so very happy to see Green Lotus on your list, as this particular peony has caught my attention and I am bound and determined to have it (growing mind you!) in my garden THIS YEAR!!!!

plsgrow, Thank you for that list of Southern temperate peonies, and it's nice to see another Tennessean on a new board. I'm North of Knoxville, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains.... still in the Knoxville Valley, and from your description

"I have always felt that our micro-climate here on a south facing hill in the Tennessee Valley was much more of a zone 7 that 6 and I am very near the official wavy little climate zone change from 6 to 7. Then the heat and humidity returned with a vengence and I am now officially declaring myself to be in Zone 7. "

I think we may be quite close to one another. I believe I fall into the 6b - 7 Zone range. I look forward to comisurating on our garden adventures. Now, if I could only do something about this darn clay, without inporting ants, too! :

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:30AM
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plsgrow(7A TN)

muset 6, the clay soil can be really frustrating, sorry. I wish I could tell you one cure all for the soil we have but I can't. Some plants consent to grow in spite of the soil, the heat and the humidity. We have dug a lot of holes and mulching is an ever present part of our spring and summer gardening. Since you've been her ten years, you are no doubt aware of all that.

Looking forward to blooms from the Peonies planted in the fall, a year ago. Hopefully.

I like your idea of a cottage type garden, filled with peonies. That is an effect that I work for. New peonies now grow in the main rose garden along with numerous other plants, including malva, butterfly bushes in the background, victoria salvia, coneflowers, rudebeckia, yellow and red roses and other's I can't think of at the moment.

I, too, would like very much to hear of your Peony experiences. Thanks.

crekha Peonies send out long roots so if I were going to put one in a pot, it would be nearly the size of a half whiskey barrel. Please note that I have never tried this, so it's merely a suggestion. Please refer to an earlier refernce on this thread regarding moving peonies.

Peonies should ideally be planted in the fall of the year. However, I see no reason why you couldn't plant them now but you will probably have to wait another year before you can expect blooms. The more mature peony produce more blooms for me. It takes some time, but many believe it is well worth the wait. Burying ones nose in a lovely peony to inhale the fragrance, and choosing a few to cut and bring inside are breath takingly pleasant and satisfying.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:59PM
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hag49(Tx z8a)

I'm so excited. I planted a peony last Christmas (04) and thought why not. I'm in the middle of Texas but had good luck w/my beloved peonies in Dallas. I perused the garden yesterday and I couldn't believe it but my peony has 3 very thick,strong stalks coming up. I didn't really expect them to come back here as it's almost a 8b zone. Now, should I cover the stalks when the next cold front (below 32) comes? My DH goes around the garden and covers it for me. He's made a huge cold frame for our veggie garden and covers for my roses. We put up hoops w/polyfiber all over the garden. We've been eating our salads from the garden all winter.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 8:11AM
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So glad to find your site been trying to find out about peonies. Haven't planted any yet have 5 on order from blooming bulb site. Didn't know much about them just kept reading about the beautiful blooms and how they live forever. Just bought 1 1/2 acres no flower beds anywhere and am trying to get it started. Been working on it for two years and mostly trial by error on some things. Soil is clay in some areas and really good soil in others. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 7:31AM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

I'm growing a 'Festiva Maxima' peony here in the Dallas area, and it is the first peony that I have tried that seems to be happy here. Sarah Bernhardt did especially poorly for me.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 11:32PM
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I've been trying to read all these postings and see what exactly are the growing conditions? Shade/partial shade/ sun?
SW Louisiana...........long, hot, humid, full sun summers that sometimes go into October.
you can also email me at

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 3:44PM
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brandyray(Coastal NC/8a)

Great thread! Now, I know when I plant my rose and peony garden to plant the peonies where they will be shaded by the roses. Brandy

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 12:41PM
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How about peonies for the south as in Southern California? Any suggestions for varities? I have read that tree peonies may be the way to go but has anyone heard of a zone 9/10 planting being successful?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 6:34PM
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I live in the most southern part of Zone 8 almost 9. Never saw an answer to the question, will peonies grow here? If so, what special care do they need? Saw mention of "the ice thing" but no description of what that is.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:34PM
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Rather than zone which only means a temperature range tell where you are located.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 10:41PM
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peony lady

It's great to learn what peonies do well in the South. This is a very informative thread. I myself am new to tree peonies. Planted them 2 years ago and now have High Noon, Koukamon, Hana Kisoi and Hephestos that bloomed spring 2010. They are so gorgeous with such big flowers. Intend to plant 3 more - Anna Marie, Leda and Lafayette Espadrille.

Here is a link that might be useful: I Love Peonies

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 10:50AM
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I looked up the peony forum because I had a question about a peony I was moving for the first time, but want to add a comment about moving peonies. After my husband shifted a couple with a shovel and I saw how many pieces of tubers he left in the ground, I brought out the digging fork I originally got for dahlias, and it worked really well: pretty much the entire plant came up, and there was quite a lot of it. Peonies roots look a lot like dahlia roots: extensive tubers with eyes. Now that I've cleaned that peony of rot and divided and replanted it, hoping to have quite a few new plants in flower in a few years, I've gotten brave and bold and am ready to dig up another one; and if it's as well developed as the last, I'll probably start a couple of new plants from it as well. These are P. officinalis, I should probably add, and I don't know whether they act the same as the lactiflora hybrids that seem to be the most common kind.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 11:58AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

As long as you are digging and dividing, good advice says after digging and washing and drying, if you wait a day and let the roots become a little wilted, you will be able to divide without the roots breaking where not intended. Al

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:19AM
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Just moved to Austin/Spicewood TX. Had Peonies in Iowa, and want to plant them. When is the best time to plant in the south, and any successful stories for peonies in zone 8? Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:59PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Tara if you have them now, plant them. You may have a problem getting enough winter cooling where you are. About 400 hours is considered the borderline. Your local county extension service can tell the average where you live. In any case plant them high enough that the buds for next year are exposed to air temperatures which will be colder than soil temperature. Al

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:19AM
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Norm H 8b

I am in Zone 8b (San Jose, CA) and have had a lot of success with peonies over 25 years. BUT I have learned not to even think about planting anything other than Early or Very early types. Even so, when they are in their full glory in early May we can get some 80 degree days, and ZAP! The flowers are fried. Now I am trying to plant in light shade. Will let you know in a decade how that turns out ;-). Also, I am trying to just plant Very early types.

Still, I have a lot of success, and an the envy of the neighborhood. Some with which I have had success for years are: Coral Charm, Big Ben, Bowl of Beauty, Raspberry Parfait', Kansas, Krinkled white. Others are too soon to tell how they will do. Mons. Jules Elle blooms well, but I hate the weak stems, as I like to cut the flowers.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:27PM
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I am so excited! 5 of my peony plants have flower buds! I'm a newbie with peonies as well and this will be my third season for some and 2nd season for others. Last year I only got two flowers from one Mons Jules Elie. I was disapointed there weren't more but they were so beautiful I resolved to appreciate what I had and look forward to more the next season.
I've made some mistakes along the way. One of my Sarah Bernhards I planted too deep. I only planted it about an inch deep but I discovered that here the ones that bloom the best are the ones that are planted slightly above ground level. I will dig that one up in the fall and replant it. This year I expect my Mons Jules Elie to do better and I get the additional bonus of what I think are either Charlie's Whites or Madame de Verneville: they are peonies from my mothers garden wall planted before she bought her home over 30 years ago. March 24,2011.

Anyone else bud watching?

P.S Anyone know when week 1 for zone 7a is?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 3:09AM
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I just transplanted a couple of plants from my grandmother's house in Dixon, Illinois to my house in Houston, Texas. They are early bloomers, so I hope that they will make it. The plants have been growing everyday like crazy and even have buds all over, but the leaves are curled. Still growing and green. No browning or yellowing. Anyone know what this means?
I would love to see these plants do well. They meant a lot to my grandmother and she had them for many years. She passed away at the beginning of the year and I took some of the plants before they sold her house.
Please help!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 7:28AM
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knot2common 9

Does anyone know what peonies would grow and flower well in zone 9 Northeastern Florida?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:06AM
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please share peony with me for red one. i can send you.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 4:01PM
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When in England the Peony was my favorite plant, beautiful dark green leaves and wonderful white flowers on some bushes and red ones on others..pout..I do miss them.
I now live right down on the south coast in Texas City, next to Galveston and would really appreciate it if somebody could advise me as to what kind of Peony will grow successfully right down here in the V,hot summers, with high humidity, which extends well into september/October time.
Also will it, if there is one need to be planted in the shade or will it take the afternoon heat.
Hope somebody can easy my pain.



PS> you can also send and messages to

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:55AM
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From another poster, I went to the Cricket Hill Garden website and copied their info because it was very helpful for me and I think it will be helpful to everyone here because it discusses why tree peonies work better, how to force dormancy if it doesn't happen naturally, and zonal pockets in Los Angeles, CA. The area in particular, Studio City, has very hot, dry summers, which may be of interest to you in the South, although I know you have high humidity. Many thanks to "White Peony" who suggested and provided the link to the website!

Southwest Zone Planting

It has been more than 10 years since a fellow horticulturist, H. Pruet of Studio City, CA wrote to us with his techniques of growing tree peonies in zone 9 California. His ideas created quite a stir on the West Coast, because most gardening books at the time dismissed the tree peony with the herbaceous peony in needing real freezing weather to produce good blooms. Since then, we have shipped hundreds of plants to customers in zone 9 northern and southern California, Nevada, northern Florida, Texas and Arizona with excellent results.

Herbaceous peonies do need more days with freezing temperatures to produce good flowers. We do not reccommend them beyond zone 8., though some micro-climates of zone 9 will grow herbaceous peonies.

Tree peonies, on the otherhand, will grow well with winter lows in the 30's and 40's F. The secret here is to force the peony into dormancy by trimming off the leaves in November if they do not fall on their own. Do not cut the woody stems, just trim the leaf stems off the woody main stems. This mimics the deciduous leaf drop in colder areas and cycles the plant into producing new flower buds. During this time, it is best to withold water and any feeding.

As the days of January get longer, the plant will respond with new spring growth. Blooms occur in Zone 9 in late February to mid- March in warmer areas, and late March to mid- April.

USDA Zone 9 and 10 can be further divided into their western Sunset Zones up to zone 24. We suggest that tree peonies be planted in those zones with a pronounced winter chill, that is zones 3 to 22. In the warmer zones, planting in cold air pockets such as at the base of hills can extend the growing range. In most of zone 9, late Spring, Summer and early Autumn irrigation is required. This is best accomplished by hand or drip irrigation at approximately one gallon per plant every other day with good drainage. Mulching aids in decreasing evaporative loss. The plants should be shielded from direct afternoon sun past 1-2 pm.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cricket Hill Garden, CT

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:52PM
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