how to grow peonies in Colorado

michelle_co(z5 CO)October 3, 2007


I got some nice fat peony rhizomes from Homestead Farms & planted them today. A couple of questions -

1. Drip irrigation or not? How much water do they like??

2. How much mulch do they like?



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cnetter(z5 Co)

They like quite a bit of water. At least as much as roses.

I've never mulched mine at all. They're somewhat self mulching if you leave the dead winter killed stuff on all winter. When I remove this dead stuff in the spring, I always see the bright new pips coming up.

They take a few years to get really established, even when starting from large rhizomes.

Wish I had room for more.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 11:28PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Michelle,

I second all that, and I just want to add that they should be planted so the eyes are just barely below the surface of the soil. If they're buried to deeply, they won't bloom.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 11:43PM
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michelle_co(z5 CO)

Thanks for the info!

How big do the plants ultimately get to be?

Photos are from the Homestead Farms site. I ordered:
Feather Top

Butter Bowl

Do Tell

Show Girl

Krinkled white:

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 9:28AM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

I suspect the plant size varies with the variety and I don't grow the ones you got (wish I did!).

Mine get about three feet tall and each one covers about four feet in diameter. This spread is partly because I don't do anything to keep them from flopping. I'm thinking of caging mine to keep them from flopping onto other things. The flowers are big and heavy and we always seem to get a snow or heavy rain that flattens the peonies down somewhat.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 10:15AM
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michelle_co(z5 CO)

Thanks - I planted two of them only about 18" apart. Sounds like I should move one of them today.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 10:35AM
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Those peonies are beautiful, especially Do Tell. I wish I had more room for peonies. I currently have four: Bowl of Beauty, Festiva Maxima, Shirley Temple, and Avalanche. I used to have Kirinmaru and Sorbet, but they died before they did anything.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 8:07PM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

It's an excellent idea to move them now, but they're going to look really small in that large space for a few years. But, if you left them that close together, you'd want to move them once they get too large and peonies really really don't like being moved.
So, you're just going to buy some more miniature roses to temporarily fill the gaps. Heh, heh, heh.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 8:21PM
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david52 Zone 6

Or, you can leave them, and in 6 - 7 years, and they've filled in, this is the time of year to separate them and then start lots and lots of peonies everywhere.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 9:12PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I'll just add that once established peonies thrive on neglect.

When I first moved to CO I planted one in my "experiment" beds to see if I could grow it. It's probably 10 yo. I have never moved it, the soil is poor, until now my watering was intermittent as I did not have underground sprinklers. It took about 3 years to establish but has produced more & more blooms ever since.

As others stated the room it needs depends on the variety. Mine stays compact 2-3' high x 3' wide. Wish I remembered the variety. I'm still looking for the old tag.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 9:33AM
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My Peonies have dozen's of flowers, just ready to open but in past years, there were ants everywhere eating off the wax, helping them to bloom, there are no ants anywhere on them. What's happening? My thanks, MLS

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 3:42PM
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I noticed the same thing about the ants this year. In years past there have been lots of ants but none this year. Could it be because we had such a dry winter? My peonies bloomed as big and beautiful as every though. My absolute favoite flowers.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 7:03PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Ditto above. If it ain't broke don't fix. In my younger years I went to divide a 20+ year old clump. Only about 50% of the plantings survived. Planting depth is key (I am clueless since I did not attempt it again!). Since then I just leave them. When I was in upstate NY I got an addiction to tree Peonies. There were more colours and shapes. I don't know how they do in this neck of the woods.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 9:15PM
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david52 Zone 6

I have a couple of large flower beds that need 'rejuvenation', so last fall, I dug up and divided 3 plants from elsewhere in the border, resulting in a couple dozen new ones, and planted them in the back of one of the beds. I thought it would be a disaster, the way I mangled them, but there they are this spring.

One of the peonies I moved years ago reverted back to the non-double bloom more 'wild' form, and that thing is a monster - 3 foot high and 3 foot in diameter, now its covered in shorter, single flower blooms, three buds to a stem. Where the flower stalks fall over in the winter, little baby peonies are showing up.

Planting depth for the divisions, these ones weren't that big. I just bury them all about 3 inches and they sort it out. I have lost plants when I try to get them at that perfect 1 inch depth, what with settling and so on.

Just make sure the soil around the divisions stays moist during the fall and they establish a new root structure. One year, I dug up a plant and potted the divisions up in gallon pots in the green house - one or two scraggly looking stems that died off. In the spring, almost all of them shot up new growth, and when I went to put them in the garden, I was surprised that they had almost filled the gallon pots with roots.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 9:48AM
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