Peonies are a magnificent choice for the Seattle gardener

The peony has a long history in the Pacific Northwest, but now with broader choices, a wider range of colors, and increased fragrance for some we are seeing a resurgance.  It is hard to not look for more space in your garden.  I have nine different peonies in my garden and have added two more lavender choices –that are highly fragrant.  Peonies are easy to grow, last for generations, requiring little maintenance.
Herbaceous peonies die to the ground in winter. They reappear in early spring.  Lactiflora is the most common species parent found in nurseries. It is native to China. Most lactiflora cultivars produce sidebuds. Hybrids are crosses between two or more species. They bring additional colors, foliage types, and earlier bloom season.  Most hybrids produce only one bloom per stem.
Itoh or Intersectional peonies are a cross between the herbaceous (or bush) peony and the tree peony. These crosses have produced new, exciting colors. The plants have the lovely leaf form of the tree peonies, but die to the ground in the winter. The plants are strong and healthy with a nice rounded
bush form, generally shorter than most bush peonies. Since they are recent introductions and are still in short supply they command a high price.
Tree peonies have woody stems that lose their leaves in the fall, but the woody stems stay intact. They tend to bloom earlier and with larger flowers than the bush peony. They are generally slow to increase.
Peony plants prefer full sun. An exception to this rule applies to growers in zones 8 and 9, where, due the summer’s intense heat, peony plants may profit from partial shade. Grow peony plants in a soil that is fertile and well-drained
Support peony plants with stakes or hoops, as you would tomatoes. The large blooms get heavy, especially after a  rain. Trimming back and disposing of the foliage in autumn helps prevent the disease, botrytis blight. Other diseases may cause a gradual decline in peony plants. If you see one specimen is stunted while the peony plants around it are doing fine, remove and destroy that plant, lest it infect the others. Mulch (2″-3″) peony plants in the fall, removing the mulch in spring.



  1. Love the web site…llove peonies

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