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Guide to Growing Peonies

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

how to grow peonies

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  • The peony does best when planted approximately six weeks before the first frost to trigger dormancy and set buds for the following spring; prepare the soil with organic compost and bone meal as the plants thrive on potassium but do not flower well with added nitrogen
  • The large fragrant blooms of the peony make them a favorite with gardeners; they are easy to plant and care for and often live 50 years or more with little care. The peony comes in almost every color except blue and thrives in hardiness zones 3 to 8
  • Although they flourish best in the garden, they may be grown in pots when they are able to winter in a sheltered area to avoid frost damage to the root system. The plants come in three varieties: Herbaceous are best known, the tree varieties have woody stems and intersectionals are a hybrid between the two
  • Peonies do not need pruning unless they are damaged; herbaceous plants may be cut to the ground at the end of the season, intersectional plants do best when 6 inches are left at the end of the season and tree plants should not be pruned or cut in the first three years as they grow slowly, and pruning may affect the following season's blooms

Flowers hold a special place in a gardener's heart as they bring a profusion of color, contrasting patterns and fragrances. Many have medicinal and culinary value as well. Working in the garden and appreciating your handiwork has physical and mental health benefits. Looking after plants gives you a sense of responsibility and keeps you connected with other living things.


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