Peony in back railway patch. (12 May 2020)

Peonies are perennial flowers whose plants die back in winter.

The RHS recommends starting with bare-root rather than container grown plants.  They will generally have 3 to 5 ‘eyes’ (buds) on the end of a long carrot-like root.

Plant peonies with the tips of the buds 2 inches (5 cm) below the soil surface, making sure the roots are not exposed.  Peonies need a period of chilling in winter, which they don’t get if planted too deeply.

Make a large hole when planting.  Peonies take time to settle and should flower in their second year.

Stake peonies as necessary.  Semi-circular hoop supports work well.

Feed with seaweed extract in spring & mid-summer.

Mulch lightly with well-rotted manure in November.

Cut stems to ground level in November.

There are four main ‘flower forms’ of peony: Single (mostly cup-shaped with one or two rows of petals); Semi-Double (similar to single but with more rows of petals); Double (large flowers with petals that are overlapping so that you can barely see the stamens); and Anemone-forms (single or semi-double blooms).  RHS The Garden, June 2019, p.28.

** we have a dark pink/red flowering peony, along with a gorgeous yellow-flowering peony in the back patch.