|Paeonia lactiflora 'Karl Rosenfeld'|
|Paeonia lactiflora 'Shirley Temple'|
to white and yellow in a few tree forms and are grown either as herbaceous shrub form (30-36 inches) or deciduous tree form (3-4 feet). Herbaceous peonies die back in winter, re-growing in spring and tree peony lose their leaves in winter but leave woody stems. One of my personal favorites is the beautiful Peony 'Karl Rosenfeld' shown in the photo above with its magnificent double red-pink blooms and yellow centers that highlight the garden from May to June. Some other popular varieties of peony are 'Sarah Bernhardt' (light pink double flowers), ‘Shirley Temple’ (white flowers), ‘Red Charm’ (double red flowers) and ‘Festiva Maxima’ (double white flowers).
|Paeonia lactiflora Largo|
|Paeonia lactiflora 'Red Charm'|
After blooming the dark green foliage of these plants remains attractive in the garden through-out fall. Once the foliage starts to die back, peony should be cut to just above the ground to protect from disease. Peony do need a cool dormant period to survive but to protect the roots provide a covering of mulch or leaves during winter. In warmer climates it may be advisable to dig up and store the tubers in a cool spot and re-plant them in spring.
|Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)|
Shelter your peony from strong winds and add organic material to their planting hole. If the soil is heavy with clay or sandy, enrich it with compost. Some peony have very strong stems but the large flowers can sometimes get top heavy. If so support the branches with a garden stake and loosely tie with string to support the plant. Most tree peony tend to be more structurally sound and need to be staked less often or not at all.
|Paeonia Buckeye Belle|
With proper care peony flowers can live for up to a hundred years. The blooming period for peony ranges from mid spring to mid summer and there are over 500 varieties of peony flower. If you are looking for a beautiful spring addition for your garden then Peony is the plant for you. I for one look forward to enjoying the elegance and beauty of this perennial in my own gardens year after year.
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011/Updated 2014 All Rights Reserved.