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Video: Growing Herbaceous Peonies - Expert Advice
Peony is the rival of the rose
Peonies have long been considered the aristocrats of the garden, because they have a history of more than one and a half thousand years.
The name "peony" was given by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, it comes from the Greek word "paintolos", which means "healing". There is a legend that the peony has magical properties, and even evil spirits disappear from the places where peonies grow.
History of culture
Since ancient times, the peony rivals the rose in its beauty. The power of the luxurious bloom and the vulnerable tenderness of the flowers, combined with the emerald foliage and the luxurious scent, have made the peony one of the most beloved and popular flowers.
To date, there are already more than 10,000 varieties of peonies with various colors, shapes and sizes of flowers, aromas.
Among the readers of the magazine, I think, the majority of those who are not indifferent to this amazingly beautiful plant. I want to share with them my experience in growing peonies. Let them, just like me, rejoice at their lush and mesmerizing flowering.
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Herbaceous peonies are perennial plants (of the buttercup family) with powerful fleshy branched root tubers extending to a depth of 90 cm.
The decorativeness of the peony is maintained throughout the season, starting in early spring, when its young shoots of purple-red color stand out; in the summer, in all its splendor, in combination with the brilliant emerald foliage, a divine flower blooms, and in the fall, retiring, the peony gives us the decorative effect of its leaves, which can change color from yellow-green to purple and crimson.
In terms of longevity, peonies can compete with any perennial crops - in this they have no equal. It is known that in the Leningrad Botanical Garden, peonies grew without transplant for more than a hundred years, and at the same time they continued to bloom luxuriously. In the collection of our nursery "Gardens of Karelia" today there are more than two hundred varieties of peonies, different in terms of flowering, flower shape, aroma, etc.
With the right choice of place, preparation of the planting pit and planting of the plant itself, peonies can then grow without transplanting in one place for tens of years, without losing their decorative effect.
For planting peonies, you should choose the brightest sunny place, protected from the winds. When preparing the planting pit, you need to remember that the plant will grow here for many years, which means that the substrate should also be composed so that the plant feels most comfortable there. It is best to use clay soils for planting peonies, enriched with humus (compost), rotted manure.
When planting peonies, I dig a planting hole with dimensions of 80x80x80 cm, and if the groundwater is close, then I increase the depth of the hole to 1 meter, filling these additional 20 cm with a drainage layer. Broken bricks, fragments of old tiles, rubble and sand can serve as a good drainage material.
If the soil is sandy, and, as a rule, we have it in Karelia and in many places of the Karelian Isthmus, it will not be superfluous to lay the bottom and edges of the planting pit with clay, to make a so-called "castle" that will delay food for your plant. As a rule, it is better to prepare deep planting holes in advance, for example, if we want to plant a plant in the fall, then the planting hole for it is prepared in spring and vice versa.
This is due to the fact that the soil in the planting pit must sink before planting the plant, otherwise it will sink along with the plant, and peonies do not like buried planting.
I put part of the unripe compost and mullein on the drainage, which, when ripe, will provide our plant with warmth and nutrition. The thickness of this layer is approximately 20-25 cm. And I fill the remaining 50-60 cm of the hole with a nutrient mixture consisting of matured compost, loam and rotted manure.
When the planting pit is ready, I put 200-250 g of superphosphate, 150-200 g of potassium sulfate into it and add about a liter can of ash there, then shovel this whole "layer cake", spill it with a dark pink solution of potassium permanganate - 10-15 liters on pit. And now the planting pit is ready - then the plant will be planted in it.
Now let's talk about the planting of peonies itself. I want to especially note that peonies need to be planted, be sure to observe the planting dates - this is either early spring (May) or autumn (late August-September). I usually give preference to autumn planting, in which the plants give even slender shoots already in the first year of vegetation and can even bloom. It is better, of course, not to allow peonies to bloom in the first year of planting, because the bloom itself significantly weakens the plants and prevents them from forming a sufficiently strong root system. In addition, this flowering, as a rule, is weak. Therefore, I would recommend removing the buds that appear immediately.
The quality of the planting material must be taken seriously. The best one is not a mature perennial bush, but a well-formed division with 3-5 strong stocky buds and fresh young roots approximately 10-15 cm long.As a rule, such a division is obtained after dividing a 6-8-year-old bush into small parts with subsequent two-year rearing.
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So, you have purchased high-quality planting material, and you can start planting, which is no less responsible than the choice of divisions. The further development of the peony and its future flowering depend on the correct planting.
I have already noted that peonies categorically do not tolerate a deep planting, but too shallow planting is also undesirable, since the upper buds can suffer from frost in winter, and from overheating in summer.
You need to plant a peony in the upper part of the planting pit, so that the upper bud is located 3-5 cm below the soil level - this is about three fingers of the hand. It is this planting depth that must be strictly maintained. We begin planting: we dig a hole for the delenka, at the bottom of the hole we make a small mound, on which we put the delenka, straightening all the roots and filling all the voids with earth. Then we fall asleep and tightly squeeze the planting with our hands on all sides, creating a small hole, which after planting we will thoroughly spill water, and then we will finally add the earth to the required level. In the first year of planting, we spud peonies for the winter and cover them with spruce branches.
In the future, peonies, as a rule, do not require shelter, since they are quite frost-resistant plants even in our country, in the harsh climatic conditions of Karelia and the Karelian Isthmus. If suddenly you fail, and your peony's upper buds freeze, do not despair, since in this case the lower sleeping buds immediately wake up, however, the flowering of the plant in this case will be weakened. Peonies are less prone to diseases and pests than other plants, but it is still necessary to take preventive measures.
It should be started in early spring and continued throughout summer and autumn. This is how I usually do it. In early spring, when there is still snow, I sprinkle ammonium nitrate over it at the rate of 1 tbsp. spoon for 1 square meter of area.
When the ground has already thawed, I very carefully undo the peony bushes, do it with my hands so as not to damage the buds, and spill them with a warm pink solution of potassium permanganate. When red sprouts appear on the surface, I do the first liquid feeding with a 1:10 mullein solution, but first I spill the planting with 10 liters of water, and only then I pour out 10 liters of mullein solution.
The second feeding, already with mineral fertilizers, is done at the beginning of the budding stage. Here I give preference to such fertilizers as Kemira or ekofoska - 100 g per square meter - scattering them around the bush. And the third top dressing comes after flowering - 25-30 g / m². Superphosphate plus 15-20 g / m² of potassium magnesium - I dissolve this fertilizer in 10 liters of water and spill the bush, after spilling it with water.
During the entire growing season, you need to remember about watering, especially during dry periods. Peonies are watered not often, but abundantly - to the entire depth of the roots, which is 10 liters for a 5-6-year-old plant. Surface irrigation with light wetting of the soil to a depth of 10 cm will only harm the plant. Do not forget also about loosening the soil, do it regularly, especially after watering, do not let a crust form on the ground, which impairs the access of oxygen to the roots. Always remember that the plant is alive, it likes to eat and drink on time, and the soil must be structural. If you adhere to all these rules, then, undoubtedly, peonies will thank you with their unique beauty.
The roots of a newly dug bush are very fragile and break off easily. Leave the bush in the fresh air for several hours before dividing. In this case, the roots will be slightly tucked, and it will be much easier for you to cope with the division.
To make it easier to divide a perennial bush, a peg is driven into its middle and, gently swinging it from side to side, break the bush into 2-3 parts. Then you can already start working with a garden knife or pruner. On each cut, we leave 3-5 well-developed buds, shorten the old roots to 10-15 cm, treating the cuts with crushed coal or brilliant green.
To make the peony flowers larger, we leave only the central buds on the shoots, and pinch all the lateral ones.
When cutting flowers for bouquets, leave at least two lower leaves on the stem, and at least half of the shoots on the bush. The plant should be gaining strength for flowering next year.
I wish you all successful landings!
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