If you are looking to make your garden more alluring with colour and
fragrance, peonies are a suitable option for you. There are lots of
varieties, so whether you want vibrant reds and pinks or prefer the
understated elegance of white, you will be spoilt for choice. You do not
need an exceptionally green thumb to grow peonies; all you need is some
basic knowledge and a bit of patience.
Choose a sunny spot and start planting in late autumn. Remember to plant
them no deeper than 3 or 4 cms below the surface in a well-drained
soil, and adding a bit of organic matter before planting is a good idea.
Though later they can do with comparatively less amount of water, in
the first season or so you need to make sure that they are well watered.
However, care must be taken to ensure that the soil does not become
waterlogged as this is detrimental to their growth. One can expect the
flowers to start appearing by April or May. As for which variety to opt
for, the choices are many. The ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ and ‘Krinkled
White’ are both early-flowering varieties of white and have a lovely
scent. For more voluminous white petals, one might go for ‘Bowl of
Cream’. ‘Sarah Benhardt’ is a beautiful light pink, sturdy variety that
blooms late in the season. However, for a more eye-catching hue, choose
‘Red Red Rose’ or ‘Buckeye Belle’.
Post-Planting Care and Cutting
A bit of light mulching in the beginning of spring is advised,
especially if the soil is poor. In about April, when the buds start
developing, remove the buds from the side shoots for really big flowers
later on. This is optional and need not be done if you are more inclined
to go for moderate sized flowers. Bare-root plants flower quicker than
container-grown ones. However, if you notice your peonies flowering
inadequately even well into the season, it might be because the plants
are not receiving enough sunlight and if this is the case, you need to
move them to a more suitable position. Deep planting or a dearth of
water supply might be other potential causes. Experts say that the
condition of the leaves indicate if there are any problems with the
plant, for example, yellowing leaves suggest nutrient deficiency. For
some easy tips, visit
One should avoid cutting the flowers in the first year and wait till
the second or third year. Cut flowers should be kept in a bath overnight
and allowed to absorb as much water as they can. Vases need to be
filled daily for the first few days for the peonies to last longer.
Peonies thus, are not too much trouble to look after and if care is
taken, the results are breathtaking.
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