Peonies are perennial flowers, which means that they re-bloom every year. According to InDepthInfo.com, some clumps of peonies have gone through this seasonal pattern for up to 100 years. Peonies generally take two to three years to reach their full blooming maturity, and require some specific care along the way.
Peonies grow upright plants that sometimes grow large enough to qualify as shrubs. Flowers are large and showy, and may be pink, red, orange, yellow or white.
Peonies begin blooming in late April, May and early June, depending on the type of plant, and continue into the summer. If you plant a variety of types, blooms on peony plants may last up to five to seven weeks, at which time the plants will turn to a growing-only season, with deep green leaves lasting into September. Encourage big healthy blooms and re-blooming during this time by increasing the plant's water and pruning off spent blooms to make room for new ones.
For peonies to bloom, they must have the right care. Plant peonies in spring, in rich, quick-draining soil and full sun. Peonies like plenty of compost before their blooming season, and phosphorus-heavy fertilizer during the growing season to encourage blooming. Water peonies with 2 inches of water a week, and increase water during any dry seasons.
Pruning for Blooms
Peonies take several years to come to their full maturity. During the first season, restrict your pruning and flower cuttings, to give the plants time to establish and mature. According to La Pivoinerie D'Aoust Peony Nursery, the rule of thumb for successfully blooming peony plants is not to cut any flowers off a plant in its first year, and to leave at least 50 percent of the flowers on the plants until they are at least 4 years old. This rule is meant to protect the plant's leaves, rather than the flowers themselves, as the leaves are essential for plant health and growth.
Prune peonies back in fall, when they're finished blooming and are getting ready for their winter dormancy. Cut away any spent blooms and all dead or diseased foliage. Mulch the plants with organic compost or mulch to see them through the colder temperatures. Remove this mulch layer with the spring thaw, when the plants begin to bloom again.
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