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Vibrant peonies in bloom is a beautiful sight. The blooms are huge and fragrant, exuding a sweet smell into the springtime air. There are some tricks to growing healthy and hardy peonies, not difficult, but key to success.

Want to grow vibrant, fragrant peony blossoms? Here’s what you need to know:

The Blooms

Most people are drawn to peonies for their distinctive blooms and memorable fragrance. The blooms are colossal, usually up to ten-inches in diameter, and are found in a wide range of colors. In fact, peonies grow in every color except blue.

The Climate

Oddly enough, Peonies thrive in locations with a brutal winter season, but they are also hardy and happy in the warm southern climate of the Carolinas. Some say that this plant does best in the upper-to-mid South, even further south in the hot and humid Mississippi and Alabama region.

The Species

There are two basic species of peonies and Tree peonies are the ones that grow best in the Lowcountry climate. These peonies have sturdy trunks, and you can plan on planting them in the fall or springtime.

The Pests

Peonies are not particularly vulnerable to conventional garden pests, though ants find their sweet nectar irresistible. You may see ants crawling on your peonies, but don’t worry and do not spray- the ants are helpful and encourage the buds to open. It is best to leave them alone. Also, peony petals are edible, so try not to use additives and chemicals on the plant for an organic treat that brings something different to a summer salad. 

The Cut

When you want to bring a few blooms in to your home to enjoy or if you are trimming down a haphazard stem, trim sparingly. Always leave buds behind and never take more than half of the flowers from one stem at once. This jeopardizes the nourishment that the plant receives, and therefore impacts the hardiness, growth, and health of the peony. Always try to clip your peony in the early morning, before the buds open and blossom.

Something to remember is that it takes patience and time to grow beautiful peonies. It can take two to three years for tree peonies to bloom at all! Your tolerance will be rewarded, though, as many peonies live over 100 years, becoming cherished components of gardens and landscapes.

Ready to plant some beautiful peonies in your yard or garden?  Call the professionals at Terra Bella Garden Center, a Local Garden & Landscape Design Center based in Charleston, SC, to schedule services or learn more. Enjoy the color, life, and smell of peonies all spring and summer long.

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