Everything you need to know about peonies

Known for their extravagant beauty, peonies are the favourite flower of many. Learn key care tips and check out the Your Home and Garden peony photo shoot

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Everything you need to know about peonies

The extravagant beauty of peonies has enchanted gardeners all around the world for centuries since its cultivation in China as early as 500 BC. The peony was once grown for its medicinal qualities but today we prize this perennial flower for its distinctive, fragrant flowers.

They’re mainly grown in cooler areas as they need a frost to do well. If planting in the garden, autumn is the best time to let the roots develop, but you can plant them in containers during spring and summer.

Choose a sunny spot with well-drained, fertile soil without trees or shrubs encroaching on your peony’s territory. Planting depth will depend on the type of peony so check with the grower or garden centre when you buy. Wait until autumn before cutting off foliage after they flower.

PeonywatercolourCaring for your peonies:

  • From bud to bloom, cut peonies usually last five to six days. To extend their lifespan, keep away from direct sunlight, change water daily and cut stems on an angle.
  • When arranging, remove most of the excess foliage, and stagger stems to create height and voids.
  • In the video, we have used the coral gem variety, at different stages of bloom. Peonies change colour as they open and become quite full and dramatic. It is best to buy them in bud form.

Words by: Carol Bucknell. Illustrations by: Pippa Fay. Video by: Jack Whelan.

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