April

Tree Peonies

tree peony

When first seen the delicate fine foliage and the paper thin flowers often frighten people away from this group of plants fearing that the Mediterranean might be a better climate. You could not be more wrong these are very hardy plants records show that they were first cultivated 2,000 years ago in China from wild plants found growing in rocky places exposed to harsh extremes of temperature. Tree peonies are also misdescribed as they are not trees but medium sized deciduous shrubs

Tree peonies do best in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil that is neither strongly acidic (above pH 5.5) nor prone to getting waterlogged. Sufficient depth is crucial. Japanese tree peonies, which are all grafted onto herbaceous rootstock, must be planted with the graft union about 6in (15cm) into the soil. Deep planting encourages the grafted plant to form its own roots, which reduces suckering from the herbaceous rootstock and prevents the rootstock becoming dominant. Do not despair if your new plant does not flower in its second year it is establishing its roots still feed it and your rewards will be great.

A good mulch is recommended and a feed of Blood, Fish and Bone in the spring will give the plants a good start avoid high Nitrogen feeds, when the buds start to swell a regular feed of high Potash will repay you with great flowers.

Colours are an amazing kaleidoscope from  white with a chocolate centre, yellow, delicate shades of pink, apricot with brown edges, blues and rich dark reds, single flowers are better in our North Wales climate as the doubles can hang down and get lost in the foliage.

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