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What Is A Peony?

Peonies are one of the most popular flowers in gardens. They have long been used as ornamental garden flowers since ancient times. Today they are grown for their beautiful blooms and aromatic foliage which makes them very attractive to many people. There are two types of peonies:

Dwarf peonies (Prunus domestica) are the smaller varieties with rounder petals and white or pink centers. These are often called “miniature” peonies because they grow only in miniature pots. Dwarf peonies do not flower until late winter or early spring when they will produce small clusters of fragrant white flowers. They make lovely houseplants too!

Heritage or “budding” peonies (P. Lactiflora) are the larger varieties of peony. They produce large flowers in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, red and purple. They also have very strong fragrances.

The plants themselves grow to be 2-5 feet tall and produce leaves that are often coarse and wavy edged. The flowers are usually larger than those of the dwarf peony.

If you have never grown peonies before, it is important to plant them correctly so that they will thrive in your garden. Here is some basic information about peonies that you need to know in order to choose the best type of peony for your garden.

Full Sun, Well-Drained Soil and General Peony Care:

Peonies need a fully sunny location in your yard. They do not like drought conditions, so make sure that they do not dry out. However, they do not like to have wet feet either. Peonies should be planted where the soil is loose and well-drained.

Amend your existing soil with generous amounts of organic matter (coarse sand, pottery grit, compost or leaf mold) before planting. This will ensure that your peony roots have the drainage they need while still retaining enough moisture for good root development.

Choose a location in your yard that will give the peony at least four hours of sun a day. This will ensure that the flowers will be larger and more numerous. If your peony does not have at least four hours of sun, it will produce smaller flowers and probably not as many of them.

Peonies are very easy to grow and require very little maintenance.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Landscape plants for eastern North America: exclusive of Florida and the immediate Gulf Coast by HL Flint – 1997 – books.google.com

The photochemical reflectance index: an optical indicator of photosynthetic radiation use efficiency across species, functional types, and nutrient levels by JA Gamon, L Serrano, JS Surfus – Oecologia, 1997 – Springer

The reflectance at the 950–970 nm region as an indicator of plant water status by J Peñuelas, I Filella, C Biel, L Serrano… – International journal of …, 1993 – Taylor & Francis

Photosynthetic acclimation of plants to growth irradiance: the relative importance of specific leaf area and nitrogen partitioning in maximizing carbon gain by JR Evans, H Poorter – Plant, Cell & Environment, 2001 – Wiley Online Library

Maximizing arthropod‐mediated ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes: the role of native plants by R Isaacs, J Tuell, A Fiedler, M Gardiner… – Frontiers in Ecology …, 2009 – Wiley Online Library

Thermal infrared imaging of crop canopies for the remote diagnosis and quantification of plant responses to water stress in the field by HG Jones, R Serraj, BR Loveys, L Xiong… – Functional Plant …, 2009 – CSIRO

Plant canopy gap-size analysis theory for improving optical measurements of leaf-area index by JM Chen, J Cihlar – Applied optics, 1995 – osapublishing.org

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