Articles about Peony cold
Showing posts with label cold. Show all posts

Sunday, January 23, 2022

2022 Southern Peony Gets a Big Snow!

2022 Southern Peony Gets a Big Snow!

It's been a while since we've gotten a big snow here. We did get some snow last January in 2021, and it was several inches, but you could still see a little grass peeking out. This year in 2022 we got total ground coverage! The photo above is the tree peony garden, and you can see that only the tops of the tree peonies are visible in the snow. The photo below shows the snow we got last January in 2021.

2021 Southern Peony Snow in January

You can see below one of the tree peonies is already working on growing its foliage for the coming spring. Don't worry this tree peony will be perfectly fine. The new foliage of tree peonies is much more cold hardy and resistant than new herbaceous peony foliage. All of this extra snow and chill time will be great for peony bud production. So enjoy the weather and don't worry about the peonies. Mother Nature knows how to take care of itself! I hope everyone who got some, enjoyed the snow this weekend!! ❆

Tree Peony in Snow with New Stems & Buds Growing

Friday, April 3, 2020

2020 Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!!

I guess it must have been a rough winter this year. I can't say I remember it being that bad. Mostly likely it was a rather mild winter, with a sudden drop in the overnight low temperature. I don't remember anything too drastic, but I'm guessing there must have been a sizeable temperature differential. As I'm watching things come back to life this spring (or not come back to life), I've noticed that I've lost 2 blueberry bushes that I've had for years, a small dogwood tree, and that my 3 other larger dogwood trees were killed back by about half! This is all very surprising.

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

I guess the biggest surprise of all is the big blank spot in my intersectional peony garden where Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' used to grow. I must say I've never had an intersectional peony die before, and I've been growing intersectional peonies for 13 years now! I've been growing this Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' since 2013 - so 7 years now. Luckily that is the only plant that was killed. I guess I will have to order a replacement for Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory'.

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

Intersectional Peony 'Callie's Memory' Dies!

However it was not the only plant that was affected. The Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' which I've had since 2008 - so 12 years - was also damaged. It was a huge plant last year, and now this year it only has 2 very short, one leaved shoots on it. I really do hope it can recover. I have also noticed several other peonies with blasted buds on them or no buds at all. I'm not sure whether that is due to this same winter kill freeze or some spring frost damage. Boy, Mother Nature sure can be cruel sometimes. I guess as they say, only the strong survive.

Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' Damaged

As you can see this Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' has been loaded with stems in the past. Now it sadly has just 2 very tiny foliage shoots. Those shoots are very immature and will not grow large enough to support a flower. I suppose I should just be grateful that this one is still alive! I guess this is a lesson to me to check my peonies for exposed roots in the fall that may be in need of some additional soil covering and to check for winter heaving during the winter to make sure that roots and crowns are protected. I've never seen quite this kind of winter devastation before for my peonies.

Intersectional Peony 'Cora Louise' Damaged

If a peony dies here, it is usually from lack of liking their growing conditions in the warmer months - not enough sun (bad planting location, location became shady), not enough water (too dry in summer). I have also seen a new peony rot overwinter from too much water (soggy soil & lots of rain during winter), that kind of thing. I have never seen winter freeze death and/or damage to an established peony, especially an intersectional. Also those reason for dying are usually affecting herbaceous peonies. Intersectional peonies are usually much more impervious to those kinds of things. I guess this winter kill for these intersectional peonies points to their tree peony qualities and heritage, since I know that tree peonies can have those issues during winter.

Friday, February 21, 2020

2020 First Snow of the Season @ Southern Peony

Southern Peony Snow on Tree Peonies

I was starting to think we might be able to skate by with no snow this winter - especially since it has been so warm this season. However Mother Nature had another plan, and the snow finally found us last night. The kids are all enjoying a day out of school - to play outside for a bit and then come inside to warm up! The tree peonies are not quite as lucky as the children and don't have the option to "come inside to warm up". However these tree peonies are quite hardy and while they are bent over and sad looking today, they will shortly shrug off this cold winter weather and bounce back to blooming in just a few short weeks!

Southern Peony Snow on Tree Peony

Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018 7 Inches of Snow on Southern Peony Gardens!

Snow on Southern Peony Gardens

Wow! We just got 7 inches of snow! I can't say I remember getting this much snow in a long, long time. I know we got 5 inches this January, 2018 5+ Inches of Snow on Southern Peonies!, which was rare. I also I don't remember getting this much snow in December before. This has been a high precipitation year for us overall, though. I'm sure all of the peonies will be fine since the snow is completely covering them. Almost all of my tree peonies are completely under the snow since they are so young and not very tall yet. Since the snow is so deep, you can't see any of the peony garden markers either!

Intersectional Peony Garden Under Snow

Snow on Bird Feeder

I just wish I could have finished planting all of my peonies before the snow, but alas, I have not. That box I ordered from the 2018 Adelman Peony Gardens Black Friday Sale 50% Off is still waiting to be planted. Since we're in North Carolina, though, this snow will likely all be gone by tomorrow or the next day. So I'm sure I'll have another opportunity to get them planted. I'm just hoping the ground is not too mushy to walk on and dig in. Since newly planted peonies seem to be most susceptible to root rot, I'm also hoping that our winter is not too wet that the peony roots rot.

Tree Peonies Under Snow

Snow on Trees

7" of Snow!

I'm really glad we got those big trees down (2018 More Light for Tree Peonies, Sweet Gum Ball & Poplar Trees Gone!) before this snow and ice storm hit. Our ground has already been quite soggy this fall (no drought this year), so this heavy snow and ice on these large trees is a recipe for disaster. The weight of this frozen precipitation can bring trees down quick. Remember that large oak tree in my back yard that got taken out by an ice storm 2 years ago, 2016 3-Trunked Monster Down = More Sun for Peonies? Several people have lost power in this storm already. I'm hoping we can keep ours on, but we'll see. I am trying to prepare for a power outage just in case... Stay warm out there!

Wood Rack and Blueberry Bushes Under Snow

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

2018 Cold Damage Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'

For the second year in a row a late freeze has killed all of the buds on my Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'. It is still a bit too early to tell what the extent of the damage to all of my peonies is from the late freeze we got this year, but it is already quite evident on Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'. There are two buds on this tree peony, and they should be continuing to grow and swell, but they are not. Both of the buds that were developing normally before the cold snap, have stopped developing and started to shrink. This will mark the 2nd consecutive year that cold has killed all of the buds on my Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'.

Small Bud on Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'
Blasted by Late Cold Temperatures

Advanced Bud on Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'
Blasted by Late Cold Temperatures

Another tree peony, Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' sits right beside of this Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'. However Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' still has most of her buds. She only lost 1 out of 10 buds (2018 Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Goes from 3 Buds to 10 Buds in One Year of Growth!) due to the late cold. That's a 90% bud survival rate, pretty good! If your growing area is prone to late cold snaps, and you are looking for a lavender tree peony to purchase, I would definitely recommend Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' over Tree Peony 'Lavender Hill'.

Tree Peony 'Angel Emily' Bud Showing Color

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2018 Late Snow and Freezing Temps on Popped Peonies

You know that most recent Nor'easter? Well, it seems this one went more east than north. I guess this year will be another opportunity to see which early peonies' buds get blasted (like in 2015 Saunders Peony Varieties Frozen Bud Blast) by yet another round of extremely cold weather after weeks of above freezing temperatures. This was the scene last night as I arrived home after picking up my daughter - snow covering peonies that were already growing, some over a foot and a half high!

Southern Peonies Popped & Covered in Snow

After about another hour of heavy snow, the snow-covered sprouted peonies looked like this - leaning stems, sad looking and hung over by the loads of icy precipitation. Let's hope the damage is temporary. The snow should melt well tomorrow, but it looks like those stems and buds are going to have another challenge facing them. Now the weather forecast is calling for 4 out of the next 5 nights to have below freezing temperatures, with 3 of those nights in the 20s! Yikes!

Southern Peonies Covered in Snow with Hung Over Stems

Most of the intersectionals are not quite as high as some of the herbaceous peonies, but they have already started to pop up too. I'm hoping they will not be as affected as the early peonies, but I know from experience that a late freeze can definitely have an effect on them, 2016 Intersectional Peonies Suffered Frozen Bud Blast. Many of my intersectional peonies are much more mature this year, so if we do get a bud killing winter blast, I should be able to rate many more of them this year.

Southern Intersectional Peony Covered in Snow

Friday, March 2, 2018

2018 Early Peonies Pop, Is Spring Weather Here to Stay?

With the recent warm temperatures, bits of rain, and now sunshine today, the herbaceous peonies have started to pop this past week as well. Even though the temps have cooled back down a bit (we are now having highs in the 50s and 60s), the longer days and spring like weather are convincing the peonies that spring is here, although it's not quite yet time for the Vernal Equinox. Even though these temperatures are more "normal" for this time of year, I'm already missing those 70 degree days!

Herbaceous Peony 'Nova' Pops

Unlike the past few years, 2016 Very Early Peony 'Nova' Buds Emerge First, Peony 'Nova' has made it to March without any buds busted by freezing cold overnight temperatures. Let's hope it stays that way. Even though there weren't any freezing overnight temperatures in the 10 day weather forecast 5 days ago, it has now been updated, and I do now see a couple of nights with a forecast for 30 and 32 degree overnight temperatures. Let's hope they change the forecast again, and we don't get those freezing cold temperatures.

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 5+ Inches of Snow on Southern Peonies!

5+ Inches of Snow

Well, I'm not sure how we went from 5+ inches of snow cover 4 days ago to no snow and temperatures in the 60s today and tomorrow, but that is definitely North Carolina winter weather for you. We are still experiencing a "Moderate Drought" period right now. So we can definitely use the moisture from the melted snow. I decided to take the opportunity during these couple of warmish days to plant some seeds that I didn't get a chance to plant this past fall. I know the germination rates will probably not be as good planting them now, as they would have been if I'd planted them in the fall, but hopefully they'll all still be okay. I took a small opportunity to get the peony seed garden markers ready for planting, and I am really excited about getting an extra chance to get these special peony seeds in the ground!

Peony Seed Garden Markers

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 I Found a Diamond In My Peony!

Diamond in My Peony

I don't know if it was luck or coincidence, but something caught my eye as I happened to walk by my intersectional peony garden today. The sun was going down, and there was just a bit of sunlight still glinting off the emerging red-toned intersectional peony foliage. Something in the foliage shimmered with facets of light, and shined like a diamond. I couldn't help but take a closer look to see what it was...

Intersectional Peony 'Unique' Foliage

When I got closer I found something very beautiful. It wasn't a diamond made of carbon, but a diamond made of water! It was so amazing. I wanted to capture it before the sun went down, before the water succumbed to the forces of gravity, before my diamond disappeared! I raced into the house to grab my camera. As luck would have it when I got back outside with my camera, the sun was still shining, and my water droplet diamond was still there! So I was able to capture these gorgeous photos of my Intersectional Peony 'Unique' foliage holding a water orb from several angles.

Intersectional Peony 'Unique' with Water Orb

How in the world did this water orb diamond come about anyway? Well Mother Nature was kind enough to give us a light dusting of snow this morning after a couple of weeks of temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Needless to say the snow melted quickly and was gone before noon. However a few of those snowflakes combined and formed this water orb. This seems like one of those once in a lifetime photos. Everything lined up just right in order for this water droplet diamond to be created, found, and photographed. The endless beauty of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. It makes my heart sing to find examples of this natural beauty each day.

Light Dusting of Snow on Emerging Peonies

Saturday, March 4, 2017

2017 Protect Peonies from Super Cold Overnight Temps

So I don't usually worry with protecting my peonies. However this weekend I decided to try to help them. The temperatures here swung from 80 degrees for the high, to an overnight low of 25 degrees in just two days! I figured the peonies wouldn't like that too much. So I went to buy some buckets on my lunch break yesterday at work. I bought all four gray buckets they had. Luckily I had a few more buckets at home already, and I found a few empty flower pots to use as well. The big buckets worked well to cover the peonies that were up higher out of the ground, and the smaller flower pots worked well to cover the peonies that were not up much yet, and still low to the ground.

Peonies Protected from the Cold with Buckets and Flower Pots

It was already getting dark (and cold!) by the time I got off work and picked up my daughter from her after school program. When we got home she helped me cover the peonies with the buckets using a flash light. Between you and me, I think she had a little bit of fun doing it - any excuse to use a flashlight and play outside in the dark! We were able to get most of the early herbacouse hybrid peonies covered that were already popping up. I didn't worry with the tree peonies or interesectional peonies since these are usually pretty cold hardy anyway.

25 Degrees Overnight Temperature

The next morning, I removed all of the flower pots and buckets from the peonies. With the covering they all seemed to have made it through the super cold night just fine. The real test will be to see if the blooms open and if they open without any damage. I left the pots and buckets near the peonies. The forecast is calling for two more nights of below freezing weather. Since I've already protected these early peonies one night, I guess I better continue. Two more nights to go!

Peonies Protected from the Cold with Buckets and Flower Pots

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 Rough Winter on Early Peonies

I'm hoping for a bit steadier weather this late winter / early spring than we had last year. Usually everyone shares the pretty peony photos. Here I wanted to share the ugly ones. What happens when an early spring warm up meets late winter temperatures? Well, take a look... ugly peonies. Is it still worth it to grow these early peonies? I think so. I really enjoying seeing their neat looking foliage pop up from the ground and their palette of colors brighten up my very early spring garden. Yes, it is sometimes disappointing to feel like you've missed seeing some blooms when they get busted by a cold snap, or wish that the bright yellow stamens weren't mixed with gray or brown. However not all years experience such weather, and sometimes the peonies' blooms are just dandy. And sometimes the bad is not all that bad... :-)

Winter Damaged
Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Halcyon'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Firelight'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Nova'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Sweet May'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Mahogany'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Raspberry Charm'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow'

Winter Damaged
Peony 'Flame'

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 Tree Peony 'White Phoenix' Growing in January

Yes, this is a tree peony that is growing in January. It is only just starting its growth cycle, but it is starting. When I've seen tree peonies growing so early in the season in previous years, it was worrisome to me. I didn't and still do not have tons of experience with tree peonies. However, I am beginning to learn that these mighty beauties begin their growth cycle much earlier than herbaceous peonies. Also the buds of tree peonies seem to be much more impervious to winter weather (although not invincible). Since almost all of the tree peony's flower buds are above ground all winter long, these buds are built to withstand the cold temperatures and weather fluctuations that can be experienced in a winter to spring warm up transition.

Tree Peony 'White Phoenix'
Beginning to Grow in January

This is likely another reason that tree peonies have a reputation of growing well in Southern climates. Since tree peonies' flower buds are formed in the fall, and remain on the tree peony stem tips all winter long, they are able to accumulate more chilling hours on their buds than herbaceous peony buds, which are at or below the soil surface all winter long. This is yet another reason to plant your herbaceous peonies as close to the soil surface as possible in Southern climates. This allows the buds to accumulate the chilling hours needed to flower. So if you grow tree peonies in a Southern climate, and you notice that they begin to grow so much earlier than your herbaceous peonies, do not fear. The foliage will not be harmed and the buds will likely be just fine too...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Questions - Dividing an Herbaceous Peony in Winter

I received this question from Gwendolyn in zone 7b:


I have an 8 year old Sarah Bernhardt peony that I would like to divide. I live in Raleigh, NC and I was wondering if it is too late to divide it? Thank you for any advice you can give me.


Herbaceous Peony Buds Still Dormant
(End of January)

Actually you are in luck. Since the ground never really experiences a hard, long freeze during the winter here in growing zone 7b, you have some extra time to divide your herbaceous peony plant (especially with the warmer temperatures we've been experiencing here recently). Ideally peonies are divided in the fall season. However, digging and dividing a peony now in our growing zone should be no problem, as long as there is no snow cover (which is rare here anyway) and the ground is not frozen at the time. I would definitely get it done now, though. January and February would probably be the limit on when to divide a peony in a Southern growing zone.

Herbaceous Peony Buds Beginning of Growth Cycle
(End of February)

By March the peony's foliage will begin to start an active growth cycle, and that foliage would be stunned by a division during that time. The plant may still recover. However, completing the division now, before that active growth cycle starts is your best bet. Also if you need some step by step instructions (with pictures) on how to divide an herbaceous peony, please take a look at my How to Divide an Herbaceous Peony guide on my How To page. Good luck with your dividing your peony!

Herbaceous Peony Foliage Active Growth Cycle
(Middle of March)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 First Winter Weather on Peony Beds

Winter Weather on Peony Beds

Earlier this week I took advantage of a 65 degree (and wet) day we had to cut back most of my remaining peonies. I squeezed the last bit of daylight out of a couple of days, and I was able to finish cleaning up several peony beds. Good thing I did too, since our first winter weather of the season was right around the corner! I awoke this morning to a light layer of snow covering all of the peony beds and some of the grass too. It has started to snow again this morning, and the final result will likely be much whiter! It is rare to get snow here. Some years we go without any snow at all. The last few years, we have seen at least one or two snow showers, though. Since it doesn't come around very often, I am happy to see it, and the peaceful calm it lends to our natural surroundings.

Peony Beds 2 Days Before the Winter Weather

As you can see just two days ago, I had just finished cleaning up the peony beds, and everything looked so neat and tidy. The old peony foliage was a bit wet when I was cutting it back, which I find very helpful to get the job accomplished. It is much easier to cut and bag the dead foliage when it is soft and pliable from a rain, rather than stiff and dry from winter winds. It makes the job quick and more effective when you are able to get the dead peony foliage into the bag without it crunching and breaking into so many bits all over your garden. When the goal is to remove the foliage to help prevent disease, it helps when the foliage stays in one piece instead of breaking up into a thousand tiny bits. No, I am not throwing away good garden soil. I always save my old soil bags to reuse them as trash bags for dead peony foliage. I hate paying for garbage bags. It is like throwing your money away... literally. Also it is so much better for the environment to reuse things. If these bags were going to get thrown away anyway, why not use them for trash?

Reuse Old Soil Bags for Dead Peony Foliage