The common names for members of the shrubby hardy perennial genus Paeonia is Peony.
These shrubs reach an height of 45 to 100 cm and carry elegant large flowers in the spring time.
Peony flowers can be single or double and come in a large range of colours, especially pink; other colours include yellow, purple, red and white.
Although used by many as a hedging plant, Peonies are attractive so make worthwhile plants to grow in beds.
Paeonia suffruticosa by 陈霆, Ting Chen, Wing
Paeonia lactiflora by mick mft.
Peonies can be grown from roots or seeds. First prepare the soil for peony by digging a hole about 45 cm deep and filling with a mix of loam and soil. The roots should be planted about 5 cm deep in the autumn. Peony Seeds should be sown on the surface in the spring before the last frost.
Paeonia can grow in sunny or partly shaded areas and like a deep, moist and fertile soil that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 to 7).
If starting peony off indoors do so about 10 weeks in advance (aim to plant the Peony seedlings outdoors following the last frost of spring). First the seeds should be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a plastic bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks. Seeds should then be sown out at a temperature of 10 to 15 Celsius in the light; they usually take about one or two months to germinate (but some peony may take as long as a year to germinate).
Once growing transplant the Peony seedlings about 75 to 90 cm apart in the garden. The area that the peony are to be transplanted in should be prepared by digging down to about 45 cm and filling the hole with loam and compost mix.
Paeonia take a little looking after. They should be fertilised (do not use manure) in spring, once new shoots have reached about 30 cm. Once blooming has finished deadhead the Peony flowers and apply another light application of fertiliser. The plants should be cut back to ground level in the autumn.
If you require more peony plants then the roots can be divided in the autumn, ensuring that the root contains two eyes. Do not divide the peony plants often as they take many years to recover.