PAEONY ROSE –HERBACEOUS (Paeonia lactiflora Hybrids)
Planting time: Winter and early spring
The paeony is the holy grail of gardeners and it must have a cold winter to succeed. Having a lovely fragrance, these flowers will scent a room when used as a cut flower and will last well in a vase.
Paeonies like a sunny to semi shaded and wind protected position in the garden. They like sunlight for the flowers but prefer cool root run. Plant them in a well drained, compost enriched soil pH 7-7.5. They tend to flower better in heavier soils. The paeony has a herbaceous woody rootstock. When planting, the eyes of the rootstock must not be buried too deeply- about 5cm deep and 30-60cm apart. Keep well watered during the growing months. Top dress with a 5cm thick layer of pelletised chook manure and blood and dolomite lime in winter, and a good layer of blood and bone in spring and autumn.
Paeonies can take up 12 months to establish. In warmer climates it can be manipulated by watering with chilled water in the warmer months and by tipping ice cubes around the root system of the plant while they are dormant. Botrytis can be a problem in spring; this can be controlled with regular use of commercial fungicide spray during spring.
• Protect from heavy frosts.
• Buds can be picked to open in the vase.
• Small or no blooms can be expected in the first year.