Planting Peonies

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from my gardening friend Michael letting me know that he's going to be digging up some of his peonies very soon, and wanting to know if I was interested in a couple of divisions.

Since I don't currently grow any peonies, and since they're a plant that my wife really likes, and since they're free -- I said yes! Since it's Mike I should have known that "a couple" really meant six.


They spent a few days in the garage, out of the heat and sun. I had to think for a little while about where to plant these long-lived perennials...

...but I came up with one spot right away:

That area has just been looking weedy the last couple of years, and needs something more permanent. First, it needs a cleaning though, getting rid of the cleome, some rudbeckia triloba, and vinca:

Next, some manure:

Turn it in...

I believe I received all different varieties from Mike, but a few of them were not labeled so I'm not certain of the colors or bloom types. In this first bed though I put two plants that were labeled, as I didn't want to put two pink ones (or white ones) together -- and there's only room for two here!

These were the two best-looking of the divisions too.

On the other side of the I-can't-believe-how-big-it's-gotten "Home Run" rose is this other space which needs some love:

That works great, as only the rose will separate the two peony beds!

This soil was remarkably dry and hard. Lots more manure went it after I cracked the ground, and this is where I put the unlabeled varieties, four of them.

I have to say, they don't look so great right now. Mike says that they've stored plenty of energy for next year's buds though, so don't worry about the leaves dying. Even these...

...should do fine and produce new growth in the spring. Some of them had buds showing already:

Still, I'm not too happy about the desiccated leaves and distressed look:

So six new peonies planted, and now I just have to wait until spring to see this ugly replaced by some beauty (and to see if the deer will eat these).

I'll wait until next year when they bloom to post about the varieties, since only two of them have labels.


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Lisa  – (September 19, 2013 at 5:56 AM)  

Peonies are my absolute favorites! I have some in my garden that I got from my grandmother's yard almost 25 years ago. Gorgeous blossoms in May followed by shiny, green leaves all year long. Your wife has good taste! :)

Alan  – (September 19, 2013 at 6:26 AM)  

Lisa: do you know if deer eat them?

Kathy G  – (September 19, 2013 at 7:57 AM)  

You should be OK with the deer. I don't think my subdivision has too many, but my peony has been untouched for years.

Anonymous –   – (September 19, 2013 at 8:05 AM)  

Hey Alan,

I have never had deer eat peony leaves over the last few years, and they have eaten plenty of other leaves.


Alan  – (September 19, 2013 at 9:16 AM)  

Jeremy: it's the flower buds I'm most concerned about. :) I guess I'll let you know in the spring.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM)  

I wish we could grow peonies. For us they fall in the hosta category. They'll survive a year or two and then fade into the eternal sunset...

Kris Peterson  – (September 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM)  

I covet peonies! Unfortunately, the herbaceous varieties just don't grow in southern California. (I know, I tried, even putting down ice cubes in a vain attempt to emulate a real winter.) I'm trialing the new Itoh hybrid, though, and I've great hope of joining the ranks of peony gardeners.

Lisa  – (September 20, 2013 at 5:48 AM)  

Deer won't touch them! So another plus for peonies!

The Gardening Blog  – (September 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM)  

Peonies are my daughters favourite flowers! I wish I could grow them You never ever see them in nurseries! I can't wait to see the growth development.
We are flooded out here!!! Argh! Send some of your sunshine rays this way!

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