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In the spring, I sit on my deck and admire the peonies in the back of my yard. I watch the occasional deer walk by—and keep on walking. They don’t eat them! I cut a few buds to bring inside because the fragrance is wonderful. I appreciate the beauty that they have brought to my yard for the past 21 years.
They’re beautiful, tough and durable and well-loved. Here are some interesting tidbits about these amazing perennials.
To plant peony roots, dig a hole about two feet in diameter and work in a little compost—our grower does not recommend manures at this stage. Plant roots with the eyes covered only one to two inches deep. If you plant too deep, the plant will come up but will not bloom well, if at all. Try to plant peonies is a spot where they can live for years because they resent being transplanted or moved.
Feed peonies with a lower-nitrogen fertilizer (I use Bulb-tone) when the foliage begins to unfurl in the spring. Feed again, lightly, in late summer. Never remove peony foliage until it dies back on its own. It needs a chance to send all its energy to the roots for next year’s flowers. To prevent any problems, keep the base of the peony plant free from debris. Remove the leaves in the fall as soon as they die back, leaving a three-inch stem. Avoid overhead watering, if possible.
Our locally grown freshly dug peony roots have just arrived. Come in and get your “roses as big as cabbages.”