Dunnville Horticulture Society

Not your granny’s peonies

Marlene Link has tips to help your peonies thrive
There are a wide variety of peonies to enjoy in the garden. - Torstar file photo

Peonies are better than ever, with more varieties to choose from than the ones your grandmother had in her garden.

Peonies have been grown for over 4,000 years. The most common herbaceous ones will bloom for seven to 10 days and die back in winter.

The woody tree peonies from China have been around for over 2,000 years and were grown as a medicinal plant. They need protection from hot afternoon sun but are hardy and don’t need cutting back.

Itoh intersectional peonies are a cross between an herbaceous and a tree peony, and they also die back in the winter. They flower for three to four weeks and are more tolerant of heat and humidity.

While most of today’s peonies are fairly easy to grow, sometimes they might not perform and bloom as expected. What are some of the reasons why your peonies are not blooming?

• They may be planted too deep

• They may have insufficient sunlight

• They have been moved too often or divided too much

• They are cut back too early in the growing season

• You are killing them with kindness. Peonies thrive on scant fertilizer.

If you plan to divide your peonies, the fall is the best time to do so. Keep in mind, it can take a year or two for your peonies to flower again.

If you love gardening, or are interested in developing your green thumb, the Dunnville Horticultural Society is always welcoming new members. Check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org, our Facebook page or contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.