One of my favorite flowers is the peony. I love their bold yet lacy beauty and the delicate to daring, colors they bloom in. Unfortunately I am in zone 18 (according to the Sunset magazine guide). We rarely get frost in my neighborhood (peonies like a chill in the winter) and we can warm up in the summer to the mid-to high eighties, even nineties, this is not an ideal climate for peonies. Until now?
I just read that there is a variety of peony called ‘Itoh’—a cross between herbaceous and tree peonies—not sure what that means exactly…but if it means I might be able to cut a peony blossom from my yard occasionally I’m up for giving a 5-gallon plant a try.
According to Sunset you can plant the ‘Itoh’ peony in spring or fall. You want to make sure the rootball is level with the soil line—taking care not to disturb the tender feeder roots. The article even says you can plant them in containers if the container is larger than the container the plant came in from the nursery.
Add plenty of compost mix to your planting soil. The plants should be watered regularly and you should feed them once when the plant starts to leaf using a low nitrogen fertilizer (5-10-10) and again after the last flower of the season fades. The article also said that as the plant ages there will be a noticeable increase in blossoms…especially after 3 years in the ground.
I realize that most of the U.S. probably can grow peonies with ease, it’s just that here in Zone 18 of Southern California we miss out on lilacs and peonies, two of my favorites. We can grow hydrangea without much difficulty so that’s the consolation prize for living where it’s warm nearly every day! If any of you have grown these peonies successfully, please give me any and all advice you may have on how to do it.
Oh, I love peonies. If you plant some, please tell all!
I will take good notes on the whole process and blog about it with details. So far I’m having trouble finding the ‘Itoh’ variety, but I will continue the search.
I also love peonies, it is my all time favourite flower. They do not grow so well in my area, we are also a bit too warm for them, even though I have not tried. Maybe I will give them a go anyway. Love the pics.
If I can find the ‘itoh’ variety and successfully grow them I will report. One friend emailed me that there’s always Trader Joe’s (the market that sells cut peony by the stem during the growing season).
Thanks for visiting.
Andrea V. said:
I know zero about growing flowers, but you dangling this peony carrot in front of my face certainly makes me want to try!!! I’m in the deep south, so not much chill here at all. Below 65° and we’re getting all frisky, cooking gumbo and cutting cartwheels in the yard because we escaped the oppressive heat that wrangled us the day before 😉
You are hilarious! Southern California is pretty much in the same boat as the deep south, sans the humidity (thank goodness—our skin may be dry but our hair isn’t frizzy!) 🙂 I’d say you might just want to by your peony by the stem from the florist…trying to grow these may be more ambitious than my skill level, and I’ve been gardening all my life.
Thanks for visiting!
French Kissed said:
So glad you posted this…I am heading out tomorrow to try to find this. My friend Trish grows peonies in the Bay Area. I think she dumps ice cubes on them at a certain point in time.
Let me know your progress and I’ll keep you posted on mine…the only slightly discouraging thing I’ve read about growing peonies is that (like some roses) they perform their best after about 3 years…hmmm, can I be patient? I’ll try.