Peonies can come in the garden flower varieties (Paeonia) or the tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa). They are favorites among gardeners for their attractive leaves and flowers, their fragrance, and their variety of uses and applications.
Peonies get from 2 to 4 feet tall and often need stem supports. They have fragrant flowers in many different flower forms and rich green leaves. They are a showy plant, attractive for cut flower gardens.
Peonies prefer sunny spots and a well drained soil. They need a rich soil, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Generally they are hardy to the USDA hardiness zones of 2 to 8. Flowers can come in a variety of colors, and last a week in spring and summer.
Division of peonies keeps flower production strong. Lift the clump, divide into sections that have three to five "eyes" and good roots, and replant. The eyes are the areas that will regrow into peonies.
Flowers can be single form, semi double forms, doubles, the anemone form, and the Japanese type according to their centers (single, intermingled, multi-rows, or dense) and stamens (whether they produce pollen or not).
Diseases that may blight the peony are leaf blotch, verticillum wilt, and botrytis blight. These affect leaves mostly, but can also overtake stems and flowers. Possible pests are scales and ants.
- University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program
peony, Paeonia, Paeonia suffruticosa
About this Author
T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.