Paeonia is a monotypic genus of perennial herbaceous plants. It is the only genus in the peony family. There are about 40 species of these plants. Among them there are herbaceous, arboreal and also species combining in themselves signs of both arboreal and herbaceous. In natural conditions such plants can be found in subtropical and temperate regions of Eurasia, as well as in North America.
Peonies were first cultivated more than 2 thousand years ago and it happened in China during the Han era. This plant was named after a famous healer, whose name was Pean. He was able to cure both common man and god from any deadly wounds that appeared as a result of fierce battles. Herbaceous peonies are the most popular with gardeners in the middle latitudes. They possess large, incredibly beautiful and fragrant flowers.
They bloom in the last spring month and decorate bushes for about 6 weeks. These are the ones that will be discussed below.
Performances of Peonies
Peonies come in semi-bush (tree-like), shrub-like, and herbaceous. Shrubs can be up to 100 centimeters tall. On a fairly large rhizome, there are powerful cone-shaped stubs.
There are several shoots. The alternately arranged unpaired pinnately separated or tripartite leaflets are colored in all shades of gray, green and dark purple. Single flowers are very large (diameter about 15-20 centimeters), they look great as a bush, and in a cut. This plant is not capricious and very easy to look after. Because of their spectacular foliage, the peonies will enjoy their beauty even after they finish flowering until the fall.
Such plants grow and develop perfectly in the same place for several decades. To date, thanks to breeders, more than 5 thousand different varieties have been born. They were mostly bred by crossing the medicinal peony and milkvetch peony. The varieties differ in the color and size of the flowers, the duration of blooming, and the height and outline of the bush.
The peonies of the 21st century! You have to see it!
Potting peonies in the open ground
How to plant peonies
Growing such plants is quite a simple activity that will not take up much of your time.
It is worth paying special attention to the choice of a suitable area for planting, as peonies will grow there for quite a long time. The roots of an adult shrub go deep into the ground (about 70-90 centimeters) and it is difficult to transplant peonies to a new location after they are 4 or 5 years old. You should choose a sunlit area and these plants need 5-6 hours of direct sunlight, always before lunchtime. Plants react very negatively to draughts and should therefore be planted under tall bushes or trees. It is not recommended to choose lowlands for planting, because rot can form on the root system due to stagnant liquid in the soil.
Pion plants grow well on loam, whose acidity is 6-6.6 рН. If the soil is too clayey, it can be improved by adding sand, peat and mulch. Sandy soil should be added clay, peat, and humus. Wood ash, sand, and organics should be added to peat soil.
How to plant peonies from a box
Potting peonies in autumn
Potting and transplanting such flowers is done in the last August and first September days. A hole should be prepared 7 days before planting, with a size of 60x60x60. The distance between the holes should not be less than 70-100 centimeters. At the bottom it is necessary to make a good drainage layer, the height of which should be equal to 20-25 centimeters. It is made of broken bricks or crushed stone, as well as coarse sand.
After that, poured a nutrient mixture, which includes humus, 200 grams of superphosphate, 300 grams of wood ash, compost, 100 grams of lime, 100 grams of potassium sulfate, and the layer should be 20 to 30 centimeters in height. Then the soil, mixed with compost, is poured into the hole. Before planting, the soil will settle, and you can place the rhizome of the plant in the hole. Then you cover it with garden soil and tamp it down a bit. Remember that you should not bury the peony when planting, because then it will have dense foliage, but it will not bloom.
If you want your plants to be studded with flowers, in this case you have to deepen the rhizome so that the top bud is at a depth of 3 to 4 centimeters, no more. Also do not forget that the transplanted plant in the first year does not form flowers and has a sluggish appearance. It can also happen that in the following year flowering also does not occur. Do not be alarmed if the bush does not appear to have any signs of disease. The problem may be that the peony simply has not matured.
Picking peonies in spring
How to properly plant peonies in spring
As a rule, such plants are not planted in springtime. If, however, you have an excellent planting material in the spring, you are advised to keep it without planting it in the open soil. To do this, it is planted in a pot of 2 to 3 liters and transferred to a darkened cool place (cellar, basement). At the same time, the substrate in the pot should be slightly moist all the time. Experienced flower growers advise for this purpose to put pieces of ice or snow on the surface of the substrate, in the process of melting it will cool and moisten the soil.
In the last days of April or in May, the peony should be moved to the garden and in the dug hole put it directly with the pot. Then everything is buried. In the autumn it is transplanted together with a root ball (by transplanting) to a permanent place.
Care for peonies in the open air
Care for peonies in autumn
In the autumn time it is time to plant and transplant such a plant. When no transplanting or planting is done, simply trim off the dead leaves and shoots.
It is advisable to burn the cut parts of the plant as they may contain viruses, pests and bacteria. What is left of the shoots is recommended to be covered with wood ash, taking two or three handfuls per bush.
Care for peonies in spring
Pouring peonies should not be too frequent. About 20-30 liters of water per adult bush is needed because it must penetrate to the depth where the root system lies. Especially such plants need watering in early spring, during intensive growth, as well as during the formation of buds and flowering, and also in August-September, as this is the time when the young buds are laid.
When the plant will be watered, it is necessary to loosen the surface of the soil and if there are weeds be sure to remove them. Watering should be done under the root so that the liquid does not end up on the surface of the leaf plates.
How to water
After the snow cover has completely melted, the soil around the bushes should be soaked in a disinfectant solution. Prepare a bucket of water and add 2 to 3 grams of manganese solution, enough to water two bushes. At the beginning of the period of intensive growth, peonies are fed with a solution of ammonium nitrate (15 grams of substance per bucket of water).
From May 8, the flowers should be watered on the leaves from a watering can with a strainer with a solution of full mineral fertilizer, in the dosage indicated on the package. Carry out such feeding 1 time in 30 days. It's recommended to pour regular laundry detergent into the nutrient solution (1 tbsp. per bucket of water). In this case, the solution will stay on the leaves, and not just flow into the soil.
Feed peonies in this way in the evening or on a cloudy day. When the buds will form and during flowering, you should feed the plants with a solution consisting of 7.5 grams of ammonium nitrate, 10 grams of superphosphate, 5 grams of potassium salt and a bucket of water. Half a month after the peony blossoms, fertilizer consisting of a bucket of water, 5 grams of potassium salt and 10 grams of superphosphate is applied to the soil. Alternate fertilizing with mineral and organic fertilizers is possible.
In this case, they can be poured in dry form into a pre-prepared furrow, going around the bush. The fertilizer is then moistened and incorporated into the soil.
Summer, when flowering is over, the plant will only need timely watering, do not forget to apply fertilizer after flowering, loosen the soil in time and remove weeds.
PION. Care and feeding in SPRING before flowering
The stems should be completely cut in the fall when the first frost arrives.
If you need to do it before the specified time, then after you cut the shoots, their remains should rise above the surface of the soil, on which must necessarily remain 3-4 leaf plates. And all because at the end of the summer period in such plants the replacement buds are laid, and for this to end successfully, the bush must necessarily have several leaves. When cutting flowers, remember that it is imperative to leave part of the shoot with several leaves.
Pion transplanting. Garden World Website
When to transplant peonies
In the wild, these plants can grow in one place for more than 50 years.
Those hybrid varieties that have been created using the medicinal peony can be grown in the same place for no longer than 10 years. Then the bush should be dug up, divided and planted in a new place. And also in this way you can quickly and easily multiply peonies. But it is worth remembering that only bushes that are at least 4 or 5 years old are suitable for propagation, and they should fully bloom 1-2 times. Remember that the older the plant, the more powerful and sprawling its rhizome.
Therefore, to simplify the process of transplanting and not to reduce the quality of flowering, transplant and at the same time divide bushes, experienced gardeners advise once every 3 or 4 years. Repotting should be done in the first month of autumn.
In the autumn, the shrub should be gently dug up, leaving 25 centimetres of the rootstock. It is then gently loosened with a pitchfork and pulled out of the ground. Remove the remains of soil from the root system, using a peg, and then wash it.
The stream of water should not be very strong, as this may contribute to injury to the delicate buds-eyes. The green part should be cut almost to the root. The root should be put in the open air and left for some time. During this time, the water should drain from it, and the rhizome will become wilted and become more elastic. Old, fairly thick roots should be cut off, leaving 10 to 15 centimeters.
The cut should be made at a 45 degree angle. Carry out a thorough inspection of the rhizome and only then begin to divide it. It is recommended to stick a wedge into the middle of the old bush, driving it in with a hammer. As a result, the root system itself will divide into several parts. Often there are voids in the middle of the rhizomes of old shrubs and decaying areas.
They should be well cleaned and disinfected with a strong solution of manganese potassium. After that, the cuttings should be treated with fungicide. Each of the divisions should have a part of the cortical neck with developed 3 or 4 eyes, and also need the presence of multiple roots. Try to make the dividers about equal in size. Too large pieces can become diseased for a long time, and small pieces quickly die.
How to transplant peonies
Transplants are planted in the same way as the plants themselves. And this method of planting is described above. On the surface of the ground, where the peonies were planted, a layer of mulch should be poured, which should be about 7 centimeters, peat is perfectly suitable for this purpose. Remove the layer of mulch will be necessary only after the peony sprouts, having a red color, in the spring time will break through it. Transplanted flowers within 2 years will form a root system, and for this process to be successful, you need to prevent it from blooming.
During the first year after planting it is necessary to remove absolutely all buds. And in the second year, you should leave only 1 bud. When it "bursts", you should cut it as short as possible. This is to see how well this flower corresponds to its variety. Once you have seen that the match is not quite complete, you will need to remove the buds throughout the third year, leaving only 1 of them.
This will have to be done until the flower is fully consistent with its variety. Be patient, because this can happen in the third or fifth year after planting.
Pione propagation methods
Pion propagation by seeds
Pion can be propagated by dividers and this was explained in detail above. Seeds can also be used for this purpose. However, seeds often do not retain their varietal qualities, so this method is used only by breeders.
Another disadvantage of this method is that the first flowering can come only in the 4th or 5th year of life. If you want to try to grow a new variety, the seeds, which must be fresh, should be sown in August directly into the loose soil. Their sprouts will show in the following spring period.
Root cuttings propagation
This method of propagating peonies is the most reliable. In July, a not very large section of the rhizome on which the dormant bud is located must be separated.
Then it is planted. Rooting should be completed by September. However, this method is good only for those who do not rush anywhere. The fact is that the development of such a peony is extremely slow. So, the first flowers will not appear on it until it is five years old.
Peonies after blooming
What to do when peonies have bloomed?
Blooming usually ends in the last days of May or first days of June. Remove any wilted blossoms from the shrub, and fertilise the plant with potassium-phosphorus fertiliser half a month later. After that, provide the flower systematic watering. Increase watering in August as peony plants need more water at this time because replacement buds are being laid.
Preparing for winter
After the leaves and shoots begin to turn yellow, you should water peony plants less and less each time.
After the frost begins, the part of the plant that is above the soil surface should be cut back. At the same time, the stems should be almost invisible after cutting. If you have planted or transplanted peonies in the autumn, mulch the soil surface above the rhizomes. The layer of mulch should be about 5-7 centimeters and peat should be used for this purpose. In this case, peonies that have not yet gained strength will survive the winter very well.
After the first sprouts have appeared in the spring, it is advisable to remove the peat layer.
Winter these plants in the open ground. Mature specimens are frost-resistant but young specimens should be covered during the winter.
Pests and diseases
The most common disease of these flowers is the grey rot (Botrytis). This disease usually develops in mid-May.
It can be recognized by the decaying shoots but other parts of the plant can also be affected and develop a greyish mildew. The development of gray rot can be provoked by a large amount of nitrogen in the soil, prolonged rains, as well as too tight a bed. Affected areas of peony should be cut out and destroyed (burned) away from other plants. For preventive purposes, it is recommended to treat the plant with a solution of copper sulfate (50 g of the substance per bucket of water), and you can also use garlic water (10 g of crushed garlic cloves per bucket of water). The bush should be treated as well as the soil surface around it.
Rarely does the plant become infected with powdery mildew. This is a fungal disease that affects the leaves. It can be recognized by a whitish bloom on the leaves. You can get rid of the disease with a soap solution. A bucket of water, 20 grams of copper sulfate and 200 grams of laundry soap must be used.
Main varieties and varieties with photos
Peonies - Variety Selection 2012
There are 7 groups of peonies that differ in flower structure:
Nemachrome (they have 1 or 2 petal rows). The large flowers have many stamens in the center. Occasionally there are corrugated leaflets. Varieties: Nadia, Golden Glow.
Rather large and rather light florets.
The stamens may be in the central part of the flower as well as between the petals. There are usually about 7 rows of petals. Varieties: Miss America is a medium-early shrub with large, up to 25 centimeters in diameter, pink flowers, which turn white when fully opened, and showing bright yellow stamens; En-Berry Cazens, which can reach a height of 65 centimeters, is an early variety with a 17 centimeter bowl-shaped flower with a pinkish coral color.
The central part of the flower has modified stamens that form something like a pompom. The petals can be arranged in one or more rows.
Varieties: Carrara, 80 centimeters high and with a medium emergence, white flowers up to 16 centimeters in diameter; Hot Cocolet, 80 centimeters high and with this medium-early emergence, 16 centimeters in diameter with dark maroon flowers.
These plants are the so-called transitional form from Japanese peonies to the macro peonies. The broad petals at the bottom are arranged in 2 rows and are rounded, while those in the center are not as long and form a ball. Varieties: Rhapsody, a mid-early 70 centimetre tall plant with pink petals on the edges and creamy-yellow central petals, flowers measuring 16 centimetres; Snow Mountain, an early 75 centimetre tall plant with creamy flowers measuring 17 centimetres.
Flowers are bombshaped, hemispherical, globular
The petals join into a hemisphere, and when fully opened, the flower is a ball.
Varieties: Pink Cameo is 80 centimeters high and has a diameter of 16 centimeters of pinkish-cream flowers; Monsieur Jules Elie is 90 centimeters high and has 20 centimeters of fragrant pinkish-mauve flowers.
The petals of this variety are very similar to those of roses both in size and structure. They are broad, large and rounded in shape. Solange is a late variety that has whitish cream flowers up to 17cm in diameter and can grow up to 70cm tall on heavy stems that need support; Henry Bockstocks is 90cm tall and has deep red flowers measuring 16cm in diameter. This group has a subgroup - semi-pink.
Such flowers have stamens in the central part. Varieties: Goody, this medium-early variety has a height of 70 centimeters and a diameter of deep crimson flowers of 16 centimeters; Ballerina, this early variety has a powerful bush, diameter of white and creamy-greenish flowers of 18 centimeters.
Crowned spherical and hemispherical
Petals are arranged in 3 tiers: the upper tier is a ring of petals, and the middle tier includes narrower petals (narrower than the lower and upper tiers). Most of the time, the petals of the upper and lower tiers are painted the same, while those in the middle tier may have a different shade. Varieties: Nancy is 80 centimeters tall and has peach-pink flowers 17 centimeters in diameter; Aritina Nosen Gloria is 70 centimeters tall and has lilac-pink flowers 20 centimeters in diameter.