Best place to grow

rainbowndnSeptember 27, 2006

I just bought a house in April '06. I was cleaning up the front garden bed, and came across this plant that looked like it was something special. It was hidden behind a bush, so I trimmed back the bush. The plant had one bloom on it, and after some research - I discovered the plant was a "bowl of beauty" peony. Unfortunately, I only had the one bloom. The plant is at the front of the house, faces west, but only gets sun in the afternoon. Where is the best place to move this plant. I hear that wherever it is, ants like them alot, and it helps the plants. I want more blooms next year. They are beautiful - nothing I have ever seen. I assume that the plant is very hardy, its approximately 18 - 24 inches tall, and I think there is about 20 or so. I know nothing about caring for these "beauties." Please I need help!!!!!

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Rainbow, if indeed the plant is a peony then do try to give the plant as much sun as you can. A south or west exposure is therefore, what it needs.

Ideally, six hours is minimum...but the plant may do OK given less...say 5 hours of the best intensity of sun..the afternoon sun....the plant may just not perform as well as expected.

Fertilizing and giving them a good enriched soil with some lime added in the spring can help.
It is suggested that amending the soil with some compost (commercial well-composted cow manure)...never use fresh manure) or sheep manure, some soil from the vegetable garden if you have one, three or four shovelfuls of peat moss and a handful of bone meal.. well mixed with whatis there now will do fine. (do you have a wood burning fireplace....wood ashes spread in the mix too can help.
(if this could be the case, then cut back on the amount of lime you apply since the ashes would supply some alkalinity)
Water this in well.

About peony; This plant is very pernicketty about what depth it is planted in so if the plant is blooming where it is and you wish to move it, be sure to put it at the exact same depth it was in its former home. Cant over-emphasize this requirement.

The move: Again, peony has this thing about it...disturb wont bloom...for a year...maybe two years.
That is a definite.
You may decide the place its in now might prove worthy if you wish to see bloom next spring. You might just remove any obstacles to it receiving more sunlight.

With any move, you have to try to encompass the plant with as much root ball as possible. Hopefully, such amount of soil could influence the plant to not go into a tizzy and may indeed bloom next spring. (but don't count on it)
Since you are giving the plant a whole new homesite...different soil, different sun, different air...many factors could influence it to react differently.

A suggestion. One peony is hardly sufficient to bring to your bed as much color as this plant can why not, buy some more tubers NOW....they should be in your garden centers and nurseries at this time. Mid September/October is the ideal time to plant peonies.

The topmost nodules...the buds that begin next season's shoots, should not be any deeper than 2" below the surface of the soil. This is also A MUST.

About future care: Peonies, by their nature, will stop blooming if they are planted too deep. So, in the spring, when you feel you wish to cultivate around your bed, be sure to NOT topdress your peonies. Putting soil ontop of a peony is effectively putting the plant deeper....and it wont bloom.

They're really sons of guns......but hey, once you get them to bloom, they are well worth the aggravation.

Oh, by the way, peony produces one of the largest blooms in before the plant emerges much from the ground, put some stakes, or a wire cone above it; let the plant grow up into the cone and when it is full-up, it will be supported. Otherwise the bloom's heaviness will bring it down.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 11:55AM
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Rainbow, I should have added since you mention "ants".
They do nothing for the health (good or bad) of the plant.
All they are there for is for the nectar that peonies exude in the buds as they mature. The ants are there just for a free meal and do not have anything to do with however the buds open.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:09PM
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But the ant thing is a reason to plant your peony bed away from the house-it also makes it easier to see them from inside. I use tomato cages, cut in half horizontally, to support them-they grow up through and the foliage hides the cage, and when it rains the blooms don't end up in the mud.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 7:37PM
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