Peony trees are a popular selection for the home garden due to their ease of care and growth and display of large fragrant blossoms. While many are familiar with the herbaceous peony flower, peony trees are larger peony options with even larger blooms. Choose popular peony trees for their low maintenance and aesthetic impact.
Peony trees (Paeonia suffruticosa) are multistemmed, woody, deciduous plants that are considered large shrubs or small trees. Tree peonies display large, fragrant, aesthetically pleasing flowers in cream, yellow, red, and pink hues, according to the Clemson University Extension. The blooms on the peony tree are larger than those on herbaceous peonies. These peonies grow to a height of 4 to 5 feet when given proper care.
With a slow growth rate in the beginning of their lives, peony trees bloom within a time span of three years after initial planting time; flower abundance increases over time, according to the Clemson University Extension. For normal development, care for peony trees by exposing them to filtered sun during afternoon hours; too much direct sun damages the delicate petals of the peony flower. Keep peony trees in well-drained, loamy soil. Waterlogged soil leads to disease development.
Peony trees are available in many different varieties with a diverse color selection. "Age of Gold" peony trees display semi-double cream/yellow flowers with red streaks at the bottoms of the petals. 'Black Pirate' is a cultivar with semi- or semi-double blossoms in dark red with a darker red at the petals' bases. 'Kamata-nishiki' is a semi-double bloom in dark purple. 'Taiyo' is a peony tree variety that produces semi-double flowers in ruby red, according to the Clemson University Extension.
Though peony trees are not highly susceptible to a large number of pests and diseases, know those problems that may arise and what to look for. Keep your plant vigorous as a preventive measure in resisting pest infestation or disease infection. With pests, Japanese beetles and scale cause problems for peony trees. Prevalent diseases include the fungal infections Botrytis blight and leaf blotch, according to the Clemson University Extension. For control, remove and destroy affected plant parts and avoid overhead watering, as this stresses plants and provides an ideal environment for the proliferation of fungi. Consider application of appropriate fungicides for fungal infections. For pests, consider the use of natural enemies, which are beneficial insects that hunt and kill unwanted garden insects.
Extra consideration given to the popular peony tree increases the likelihood that your plant will thrive and remain vigorous. Plant peony trees at least 3 feet away from other plants or trees for adequate growth room of root systems and above-ground plants. Also consider adding a thin layer of mulch to protect the peony tree from extremely cold temperatures that may damage the tree. Peony trees may live up to 90 years or more, but moving them is detrimental to their health, so keep them in one place, according to the University of Vermont Extension System.