Grow peonies

This guest blog post comes from Ken Evans, managing director of Plants 2 Gardens and presenter on QVC Gardening.

With their big, blousy flowers and fabulous foliage peonies in your garden will make you the envy of all your friends. There are masses of varieties to pick from so to help you with your decision we’ve selected a couple of our favourites:

Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’ bears huge, pink flowers with cheery yellow centres and a wonderful fragrance. This tried and tested variety holds the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit, the RHS stamp of fantastic garden performance.

Peony ‘Shirley Temple’ flowers slightly later than other varieties do. The large, pale pink double flowers gradually fade to a creamy white shade and are delightfully scented.

Peony growing tips

  1. The best way to buy peonies is as bare root plants. This way the plants tend to be bigger and better value for money than those bought in pots. Bare root peonies will become established sooner and give a better display.
  2. Select a sunny spot in the border.
  3. Dig a hole large enough to spread the roots out but remember not to plant them too deeply. Ensure the crown of the root is level with the surface of the soil or your peonies may be reluctant to flower.
  4. Add a handful of slow release fertiliser to the planting hole to give them the best possible start.
  5. Keep them well watered, particularly during dry spells and don’t forget to feed them regularly throughout the growing season.
  6. Peony flowers can be quite heavy so make sure you support them with garden canes or plant supports – you don’t want those precious flowers to be a flop!

Rumour has it the peonies don’t like to be disturbed once planted, this is not the case. Plants should be lifted and divided every 3-5 years. This will not only give existing plants a new lease of life but will give you new plants to fill your borders with.

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