When, Where, and How to Choose and Plant Peony

Mixed peony
Mixed peony

The peony flower is one of the most loved flowers. Peony is a single genus of ornamental plants belonging to the Paeonia family. Peony is a native flower in the highlands of East Asia. Peonies are very popular among flower plant enthusiasts. They look flawless to be used as ornamental plants and even complement the beauty of your home garden. This flower is large, has a charming bloom, is perfectly fragrant, and durable, so it is widely used in bridal flower arrangements on wedding days.

What is Peony’s History?

Before we discuss how to plant peonies any further, it’s good to know the peony flower’s history that comes from Greek myths. There are many versions of this peony flower legend, one of which is Paeon.

Paeon was a student of the Greek god of healing, named Asclepius. Because Paeon had extraordinary intelligence, the god Asclepius became jealous and recommended harming Paeon. However, the god Zeus saved Paeon and turned him into a peony to avoid the god Asclepius’s anger.

This flower is most widely known in China. Apart from being used for beautiful decorations, peonies have been used for centuries as a medicinal ingredient. The root of peony is often used in traditional Chinese medicine for painkillers, infection prevention, liver function, and heat relievers. Peony extract is an ingredient in beauty products. Because peony flower extracts have free anti-radical substances that function as antioxidants, they can brighten and tighten facial skin.

From all flower colors, white peonies also have medicinal benefits. White peonies are very useful for overcoming problems around the female organs, such as reducing pain during menstruation, vaginal discharge, smoothing the menstrual cycle, reducing bleeding during menstruation, and even overcoming menopausal symptoms.

After knowing the benefits of peonies, are you interested in planting peonies in your home? It would be better for you to understand how to take care of peonies at home properly. So, let’s get to know more about peonies.

Where do Peonies Grow Best?

Peonies flowers are thriving and bloom in late spring, from May to July. This flower can grow anywhere but is best when it grows in the lowlands with sufficient humidity. It would be better to plant peonies by using their plant instead of growing their seeds. Because the peony seeds are jet black and large, they have a very thick seed shell that is difficult for water to penetrate. So, here are the things you should pay attention to when planting peonies:

1. Placing

Peonies like bright light. They must be exposed to the sun for at least 8 hours a day. You must plant them in rich and moderately humid permeable soil. Don’t plant them at a place that has a lot of wind. It will help the peony grow and bloom more frequently.

2. Spacing

Give the peony roots distance from each other. And don’t mix peonies with different types of plants. So, the peonies will grow well without fighting over the nutrients in the soil.

3. Watering

You must water peonies by keeping the soil moist but not wet. So, water it often to keep the soil moist.

4. Fertilizing

It is not mandatory to do this but to keep them growing well and healthy, organic compost or low nitrogen fertilizer is best for the peonies.

5. Removing

When bloom time comes, and there are some dead flowers. You have to get rid of it right away to make the plant stronger. If you ignore it, the peony plant will not grow well in the future.

What do Peonies Symbolize?

Not only in China, now peonies are still a favorite flower in the world. Peony in Chinese is often used at wedding ceremonies because it is believed that peonies’ meaning is love, happiness, prosperity, and good fortune.  Besides, peonies are also a symbol of honor and classy personality. It can even represent bashfulness! For weddings, peonies are generally used as flower arrangements without other flowers so that the elegant and luxurious meaning of peonies can stay obvious. 

Many people consider peonies worthy of being used as a symbol of the statement “I love you,” especially for people who are embarrassed to express their feelings directly. You have to find peony meaning first before giving it to the people you love. Please have in mind what you want to say and your purpose in giving them peonies.

Peonies are known to have several different colors. And each color has its own special meaning that it usually symbolizes certain special days. Which one does suit you well?

1. White Peonies

White Peony
White Peony

White peonies are commonly known as a symbol of beauty. They are suitable as your home’s centerpiece, bouquets, and bouquets give a feminine touch, fresh and clean impression. Usually, white symbolizes positive things. But white peonies symbolize bashfulness. So, this color is perfect for apologizing when you do something wrong.

2. Yellow Peonies

Yellow peony
Yellow peony

Yellow peonies stand for hope, cheerfulness, and new beginnings. You can give yellow peonies on birthdays, graduations, get-well gifts, and your friend’s a new house party. It is best to wish them good luck for their new beginning.

3. Red Peonies

Red Peony
Red Peony

Like other flowers, red peonies symbolize romance, love, passion, honor, and respect. So, this color is the best choice to be given to your loved ones. They are the perfect gift to celebrate special days: a birthday, valentine’s day, mother’s day, and many more.

4. Pink Peonies

Pink Peony
Pink Peony

Pink peonies are recognized as a symbol of a happy marriage, honor, and fortune. So, pink peonies are just perfect for celebrating your wedding anniversary. Also, they are often used in floral bouquets at weddings due to their lovely color.

Pink peonies can also represent love at first sight. A pink peonies bouquet is the best gift that is given on the first date. Pink peonies are seen in many cultures as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

Are Peonies Annuals or Perennials?

Peonies are perennials. They don’t need to replant and will come back to bloom. It depends on where you plant it and the type of peonies you’re growing.  So, that is why flower enthusiasts love peonies. Apart from easy maintenance, they can also see blooming peonies every late spring through early summer hence no need to replant it.

While we are discussing perennial plants, let’s talk a little further. There are several differences between perennial and perennial plants. One of the most significant differences is their lifespan. Perennial flowers are those that continue to grow year after year with no need to replant it. While annual plants are usually planted, bloom, and die immediately after bloom time is over. Although you can replant it annually, it will not develop properly.

 

Is Peony a Rose?

       If only seen from the shape of the petals, you cannot distinguish peony and rose. However, it is a different flower. The difference between peonies and roses is that peonies are always planted in the field. They need a cold period to bloom peony plants. Instead, roses are cultivated in greenhouses. There are various kinds of peonies forms :

1. Single

The basic peony shape is similar to the wild form of a peony with five or more petals arranged around the pollen and flower stamens.

2. Japanese

This type has five or more petals arranged around stamens. The anther is transformed into staminodes, which are similar to stamens in shape and color but have a thick texture and tissue that prevents pollen shedding. This form is the first in a series in which stamens that usually contain pollen are transformed into distinctive petal-like tissue.

3. Anemone

This flower essence turns into a small, narrow petaloid in the center of the flower and mixes with the outer guard petals. This form is the next step in transforming the stamens into the distinctive petal-like tissue and yellow. It is giving a stark difference to the Japanese form flower.

4. Bomb

The stamens of this flower turn into the inner petals. These inner petals are narrower than the outer guard petals so that the flower looks like an ice cream ball sculpted in a shallow bowl. A “bomb” is the name of this ice cream dessert style. The bomb ended this series of stamen transformations.

5. Semi-double

The semi-double form has a partial transformation of stamens into inner petals that looks like a bulk of petals. They have five or more lids with smaller inner center lids often decrease in size when they are near the center of the flower. Beehive thrush may mix with petals or be present in the center of the flower. Occasionally transform stamens for petal-like structures.

6. Full-double

While this form, all stamens and carpels are transformed into petals. So, this type of structure looks like a rose. Most peonies of this form are called semi-rose flowers.

Peonies for Wedding
Peonies for Wedding

Why are Peonies so Expensive?

Peonies are very popular for use on wedding days. Many couples want to use pink peonies as wedding hall decorations and bridal bouquets. They want to use pink peonies on their wedding day because pink peonies symbolize a happy marriage, honor, and fortune. But the price of each flower stalk is highly valued. Usually, one peony can fetch up to five US dollars.

The reason peonies are so expensive is they can only be bought during the peony season. The flowers have seasons, usually quarterly. The peony harvest period is very short, only 2-3 weeks. So, if you want to use peonies at your wedding, make sure the wedding day is the same as when the peonies bloom.

Pink Peonies for Wedding
Pink Peonies for Wedding

 

How Long Can Peony Last?

We already know that the peony is a perennial plant. Compared to other types of perennial plants, peonies can live longer. Peonies can live up to 100 years. So, what should you do to make your peony plant last forever? To make your peony plant live longer, you should do these three steps to care for your peony. 

First, you should fertilize it in spring and summer. It can help them grow well and bloom beautifully. Second, you have to cut off the withered peony flowers and peony leaves right away. It is done so that they don’t die and can bloom in the next blooming season. And last, get rid of all pests around the peony plant so that they don’t fight over the soil’s nutrients.

When you buy or receive peonies, you can also keep them long-lasting. But, how to care for cut flowers? Maybe you can easily follow this method at home:

1. Buy flower buds rather than flower blooms

Harvesting peony flower buds to sit in a vase as decoration is the best way to keep it last longer. If you want to harvest peony buds in your garden, then morning is a perfect time. Peony flower buds will bloom in the afternoon.

2. Granulated sugar as a flower food

To make your cut peonies flower last longer, you can put a spoonful of granulated sugar on the vase that is filled with water. It will help flower fresh. But don’t forget to change the water every two days.

3. Keep them cold

This method can be done when you harvest peonies and want to use them later. You can do this by wrapping the peony buds in a newspaper and putting them in the refrigerator. Or, if you want your cut peonies to last, you can store them in the fridge at night and put them in the vase again the next day.

4. An angle cut for the stems

This angle cut is done so that they absorb more of the nutrients in the water. You can do this once in two days to prevent blockage in the cut stem.

5. Get rid of ants at the flowers

In essence, flowers attract insects or pests because of their nectar as they bloom. So, when you harvest the peonies, put the stems in the water and leave them for half an hour before bringing them into the house. Do this to let the ants or insects go away from the flower first.

Are Peonies Rare?

As we know, peonies can only be harvested once every three months and only for two weeks. Therefore, peonies are expensive and hard to find. So, when the blooming season comes, many flower lovers are hunting for peonies to be bought. Although some peonies are easy to find, some peonies are hard to find. But, why are peonies rare to be found?

Most types of peonies are wild plants. Therefore, they are not able to adapt to cultivation like other types of flowers. Digging a peony bush requires great care so as not to damage the roots. They also cannot be stored in a wet place for a long time after being excavated. It results in them being damaged before being marketed. Whereas to plant a peony from peony seeds to blooms takes at least three years.

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