peony ???????s!!

pagan(8b)July 15, 2006

Speaking of pitiful peonies... can they be grown near the southern coast? I have one that has been in the gruond for a good 3 years now, and is all of 6 inches high. Every winter I think it is gone for good, and every spring it bravely struggles out with a tiny little stem and a leaf or 2... I really love the beautiful plants I see up north. My soil is mostly sand and clay - can anybody give me ideas for this guy? he has been so brave and so patient for long, I really want to try him under better conditions. I already know he is probably planted too shallowly... but does he need full sun? Will he fry in our heat?? Will it be too humid for him? I was planning on moving him to a mostly clay bed, in full sun, provided he would be happy there...

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More important than your zone is where do you live. You can be a wet or dry zone 8. Do you know what your baby is? What if anything do you feed him? Have you tried when it is cooler putting mulch arround him to keep the soil cooler. He might do better if you plant him in a pot this fall which may allow the surroundings to become cooler than the soil temperature.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 3:38PM
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ok, well, first off, thanks for your response!! I can try to answer your questions:

My plant is in a dry, shady location right now. I THINK it is a Sarah something plant (Bernhardt?) but it may be a Festiva somebody (Maxima) instead... he stays pretty heavily muclhed all the time, but has never grown larger then the few inches of height he has now... I am thinking that if I am going to pay attention to him, then I want to make sure it is the right kind of attention... thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Take some of the mulch off for now. You can just push to the side. You need both the heat and cold to stimulate growth. Scratch some dry fertilizer about 8-12 inches from the base using something with an even number such as 10-10-10, 12-12-12 to get your plant some extra food. Normally you would try to use a fertilzer with a smaller first number but since your baby does not have much foliage it need the nitrogen to grow more foliage next year. With out foliage plants do not have enough nutriants to grow flowers. About the end of October cut this years foliage off and using your fingers or a brush, check to see how deep the plant is. I would almost bet that it is about three inches below the surface. With the extra mulch you have given it(say 3 inches) you have effectivly planted it 4-5 inches in the ground, too deep for good growth. You may want to move it if possible to a slightly more sunny location. Check how much light it receives during the day. After it becomes cool replace some of the mulch starting about 4-5 inchs away from where the stem was this year. As the air warms in the spring this should retard the warming of the soil to give your plant more chill hours. You baby probably will not bloom next year because of the lack of foliage but it should the next if we can get more leaves on it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 5:09PM
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Thanks so much! I am off to move around the mulch... ok, maybe I will wait until it gets light outside!! thannks again - I cannot wait to follow your advice!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 10:55PM
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Please help!!!
I recently moved into a new home in Pennsylvania (zone 6) and don't know a soul. I was given a layout of the current garden and the former owner (who left no forwarding # or address) gave me a garden layout which includes a 20 foot narrow garden of Sarah Bernhard peonies. She stated that they are very hardy and have never needed to be staked. They were planted 5 years ago. At the height of bloom season (spring) they are about 5 feet tall. Since I just moved in on the 1st of October I am now looking at all the stalks and leaves lying on top of each other (very thick stalks); however nothing appears to be rotting, just some leaf petals are starting to get brown but are still attached to the stems. I read a response and someone mentioned sarah bernhardts- is this type a tree, hervaceous or intersectional. As you can see I've never grown peonies before but based on the pictures I'd like to start expanding my current garden. Help... the first frost is just around the corner. What do I do??

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 9:09AM
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to tara,
your sarah bernhardts are regular ground peonies, not trees. you really don't have to do anything to them, they should be fine as is. if you want, you can trim down the leftover stems to ground level now. they will come back up in the spring. as you say they are 5 years old, so they should put on a beautiful pink spring show for you. if you've never had peonies before the only thing that might surprise you is the ants peonies attract. they like the nector that peonies have. they won't hurt the plants, but, if you decide to take a bouquet in the house be sure to check for ants on the blooms first. you don't want to take them inside with you. otherwise, your peonies should be fine. my dad used to mow down the peonies leftovers every year, & they just came up more beautiful the next spring.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 12:06PM
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