If you are looking for masses of colour in the garden in spring then Herbaceous Peonies with large colourful flowers could well be the solution. Easy care and very easy to prune they also provide brilliant cut flowers.
Herbaceous Peonies vs Tree types
The first thing to understand is that the herbaceous types are different to the tree types in growing habit, and in flower form. To simplify things the herbaceous types die back to the ground in the winter, the tree types do not. John Allman looks at growing conditions and some of the best varieties.
Sometimes called the peony rose Herbaceous Peonies are a bit like many perennial plants, after flowering and the foliage dies back, so does all of the above ground structure, no woody framework is left. The well known Paeonia lactiflora is a herbaceous type, also known as Chinese Peony.
These are a plant that will have developed next seasons buds underground, ready to appear in spring, this is why they are so hardy in the UK climate, all you need to remember is to avoid digging around them in winter.
Spring flowering season is brillianr and they are also actually better growers in a climate that has a cold winter, another advantage for smaller gardens is that they are smaller growing than the tree types.
A well prepared soil good drainage, protection from strong wind and sun are the main requirements.
Peony Soil and drainage
Prepare the soil well before planring, many gardeners choose specific garden beds for herbaceuos peonies and will dig in masses of well rotted compost and manure before planting out. In some areas the garden bed will actually be mounded up or raised to improve drainage, as these plants do not like wet feet.
These are a plant that do like an alkaline soil. so test the ph and add some some lime if needed
Simply make sure that you do not plant to deep, the buds should be visible on you new bare rooted plants, and they only need to be around 2cm below the surface. Do they need staking, generally no, in windy areas yes and some are taller growing than others and they will. so ask your supplier about this.
Make sure you leave the foliage on the plant until it has died back,this is providing the energy for those new buds. After this prune back to the ground in autumn.
- planted to deep, as we said the buds need to be near the surface
- in deep shade, they need a fair bit of sun, dappled shae in the afternoon only is ideal.
- fungal diseases and wilt can be caused by poor air flow, give them some space.
Readily available for sale by mail order suppliers in t he UK Herbaceous Peonies are a varied group of cultivars with the popular The late flowering Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt' with its double pink flowers being very popular and fairly easy to grow.
'The white flowering 'Duchesse de Nemours' is a very old variety with pure white flowers. While 'Karl Rosenfled' is a deeper red.
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Huge range of Bulbs available by Mail Order.
Includes: Paeonia pink, red, white and Sarah Bernhardt, white.