Growing the Peony
In autumn your peonies arrive in well-provided packaging. Carefully take the peony out of its packaging and plant the peony the very same day. If the peonies look a bit dry, put them in a bucket of water first for a few hours. If you’re not able to plant them right away, store them in a ditch and cover them with soil. This way you’re able to conserve the peonies for some weeks without decreasing the quality.
Planting peonies in pots is also a possibility. The most important thing to remember is that the soil can never be dry; always keep it moist. The best thing to do is to put the pot in the garden, but make sure that the pot is big enough for the peony (> 5 liters). A peony needs her space to grow. The peony needs to be planted in a sunny (or half shade) place in the garden. An important aspect is a well drained place; peonies dislike wet places. In wet places the bloom is not vigorously and makes the peony receptive for diseases. The ideal PH of the soil lies between PH6 and PH7, if the soil is poorer you can add a balanced NPK fertilizer to it.
Dig a hole measuring 15 to 30 cm in depth, and wide enough to spread the root of the peony. Make sure that in time of filling the hole the eyes (crown) of the peony are not more than 3-5 cm beneath the surface. Planting the eyes of the peony beneath 5 cm of the surface will affect the bloom negatively; it may even obstruct the bloom at all.
Fertilizing is only necessary when the soil is a bit poor; add it in the autumn. Compost can be used. If one only use fertilizer than it is recommended that super-phosphate or balanced mixed-mould is used. If used too much fertilizer the peony can ‘burn’ or stop in the growing process. In general the peony never blooms the first year because she has to adapt to the environment.
Care in the autumn is very important. Take off all the foliage of the plant; cut off the foliage max 3 cm above the surface. Remove all of this foliage; it can be a serious source of infection for the new stems in the following year. The peony disease ‘Botrytis’ uses dead foliage to survive the winter.
The peony is an easy plant to take care for. You need to be patient, but in time you’ll be rewarded with the most beautiful flowers above a very nice foliage. Some varieties need some support while growing, because the flower becomes too heavy for the plant (rainwater adds extra weight in flowers). You can get the accessories for solutions at any local green store.