Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 Questions - How to Grow Peonies in Zone 10A

I received this question from Roseann in zone 10A:

"Hello Adriana, I really enjoy your blog. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I would love to grow Herbaceous Peonies. I've tried once to grow three herbaceous ones, and none of them took. Do you have any advice for how I can grow them here in Southern California Zone 10A? Or if you even think that it's possible. I would really appreciate any advice and help you can give me."

USDA Growing Zones Map
How to Grow Peonies in Zone 10A

I have heard of people dumping ice on their peonies during winter in hotter growing zones, but I don't have a lot of specific information on how they did it (how often, how much ice, how many days/weeks/months?). Also that sounds like quite a bit of trouble to me to grow a flower. So I would probably not recommend that approach.

I would really recommend trying to grow an intersectional peony. They are a cross between an herbaceous peony and a tree peony, and they are able to grow in a bit warmer growing zones (just like their tree peony parents). Tree peonies may be another option if you are interested, but I really think intersectional peonies will be easier to grow. Intersectional peonies are grown on their own roots, while tree peonies are normally grafted and can take longer to become established (which may be hard to do in a challenging climate).

No matter which type of peony you choose (herbaceous or intersectional), I would recommend planting them very shallow. You want to cover the roots, but the pinkish "eyes" should be at ground level, and seeing them over winter is perfectly fine (even suggested in warmer growing zones). Those "eyes" need cool temperatures during the winter to set bud.

If you choose a tree peony, plant them deep. Their "eyes" or growth buds need to be buried beneath the soil. The deeper a tree peony is planted, the better. The roots of the plant should be deep in the soil, with the actual stem (woody) part of the peony planted 3-5 inches beneath the soil surface. This will (hopefully) allow the tree peony to start growing more of its own roots from the buried tree peony stem.

A great intersectional peony to try if you are interested is Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella', an American Peony Society Gold Medal Winner. It is a stellar performer for me, always loaded with buds and flowers, and the flowers are just gorgeous - bright, full double standout yellow blooms! You can get it for a decent price nowadays too (since it has been around for a while now). Check out my intersectional peony price list for places to buy it... 2019 Intersectional Peony Catalog Price Comparison List.

I hope this information helps, and I'd love to hear more about your garden in the future. Please keep me posted on how growing peonies works out for you!

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