Are Peonies Cold Hardy: Growing Peonies In Winter?

Peony (Prunus spp.) are a popular ornamental plant grown all over the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times, but they were not widely used until the 19th century when it was discovered that their flowers produce a strong narcotic effect which makes them very attractive to many people. Today, peonies are one of the most commonly planted annual plants in gardens around the world.

Peonies are native to Europe and Asia, but today they grow wild throughout much of North America, from Canada southward into Mexico. They are often called “winter roses” because their flowers appear in winter. However, peonies do not need cold temperatures to bloom; they can even flower at warm temperatures if conditions are right.

In fact, peonies may be considered a weed due to their popularity and widespread use. But don’t despair! You can still grow these beautiful flowers in your garden without having to resort to chemicals or horticultural hacks. All you need is some basic gardening skills and a little patience.

The Basics Of Growing Peonies In Winter

There are two types of peonies: those that bloom in summer and those that bloom in winter. Both types of peonies can be divided into two groups, those that bloom on old wood and those that bloom on new wood.

Peonies that bloom on old wood are called “carpet” or “meldown” peonies. Carpet peonies generally start to bloom in late spring and will continue to bloom for about four weeks. If the weather is particularly warm, a second round of blooms may appear in mid-summer. After this, the plants begin to “meldown” or go to seed, so to speak. These peonies die after this first year in your garden.

Carpet peonies include popular varieties such as “Korolev,” “Lyndhurst,” “Moira,” “Sarah Bernhardt,” “Souvenir de Madame Letocet,” and more.

Peonies that bloom on new wood are called “tree” or “bud”

Sources & references used in this article:

Seasonal patterns of starch and sugar accumulation in herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) by EF Walton, GF McLaren… – The Journal of Horticultural …, 2007 – Taylor & Francis

Peonies as a potential forcing crop by TG Byrne – Environ. Hort. Ext. Nwsltr. Univ. of California …, 1988 – hortscans.ces.ncsu.edu

Peony-A Future Crop for Alaska? by D Fitzgerald – 2004 – scholarworks.alaska.edu

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