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Peony

November 2012

QuestionI need to move some peonies from a spot that has become too shady to one that receives more sun. Is it time to move them now or must I wait until later?

 

AnswerGo ahead and move them. Make sure that you replant in a sunny location and plant them shallowly. The eyes on the root system should be no deeper than ½ inch. If the location they have been in is too shady, chances are they will not bloom this coming year because they didn’t set any flowers—plus they often don’t bloom the year after a move anyway.


June 2012

QuestionI have a wisteria tree that has yet to bloom. I keep the vines/runner trimmed as needed. Any ideas on what might be causing this? Also, I have a peony in full sun that has yet to bloom. I am not an expert by no means with flowers.

 

AnswerWisteria can be notoriously slow to start blooming--sometimes as long as 8-10 years. Once it does, it tends to bloom annually. It does best in full sun and should be kept trained to a trellis or fence--not allowed to grow up a tree. It should be pruned hard in the spring once the leaves begin to come out, and then not pruned again, as it sets flower buds in late summer/ early fall. Peonies in full sun that aren't blooming usually mean they have planted the bulbs too deep. The eyes on a peony (similar to eyes on a potato) should be planted no deeper than ½ to 1 inch underground.


June 2008

QuestionI have a small flower bed, 4ft. X 8ft. max that has been taken over by the Bermuda grass in our lawn. When I cleaned it up this spring I put wet newspapers all through out and up close to the plants that are there and then mulched well with cypress mulch. The bed has some hostas, day lilies and a peony bush. This is our fifth summer in this house, the grass was sodded when we built the house, and little did we know how it would spread. I thought maybe this fall I would dig up my plants and treat the area and the border around it with something to kill it off. Any suggestions or help you could give me would be appreciated.

 

AnswerBermuda is a tenacious weed and often seems to grow better where we don’t want it. There are some grass specific herbicides you can use and now is an ideal time to use them. The key is to let the grass green up and start to spread and then treat. Brand names include Grass-b-gone, Over the Top, Ornamec and Vantage. This will kill the grass without damaging your daylilies, hostas or peony. Once the grass is killed, pull out the dead grass and mulch well. Keep a buffer zone between your lawn and flower beds to give yourself an area to keep clean.


October 2008

QuestionI recently moved to a new house and the former owner had many beds with a wide variety of plants. I am cleaning the beds now. Do I cut the calla lilies down to the ground? How about the irises? I will be moving a lot of them to new locations. What is the best way to do that? I also have peonies that have many brown leaves; can I trim and/or move them?

 

AnswerCalla lilies have beautiful foliage, even when the plants are not in bloom. If the foliage still is green and healthy looking, let it grow as it is adding interest to the garden. Once it begins its decline, or after a killing frost, cut the old foliage off. Bearded iris foliage is evergreen most winters, so leave it alone. Peonies can be cut back as soon as the foliage begins to brown. They start their growing season early, and often go dormant early in the fall. Dig and divide your peonies now if needed. Make sure you replant them shallowly. Iris are best dug and divided six to eight weeks after bloom. Doing so in the fall leaves them little time to re-establish their roots before it gets cold. Bearded iris rhizomes are planted with half of the rhizome or bulb in the ground and half above ground and if they lack a strong root system can get heaved out of the ground during the winter months. For calla lilies, leave them alone until them begin to emerge next spring. They are not reliably winter hardy in the northern tier of the state, so extra mulch is great for added winter hardiness.


September 2007

QuestionWhen is the best time to relocate peonies?

 

AnswerRelocate peonies if needed this fall as they decline. Be sure to replant them shallow and be aware that transplanting them can delay blooms for a year or two afterwards.


June 2005

QuestionPlease help!! I have four large peonies planted in my west bed with azaleas. Three have never bloomed and one had several blooms three years ago and only one bloom this year. When can I transplant them? Are there any specific instructions on replanting? I also plan to put them in full sun when I replant. Is that o.k.?

 

AnswerPeonies need at least 6 hours of sun a day to bloom, and more would be even better. If they are growing in the shade, or if they are planted too deep, they often won’t bloom. The proper time to transplant peonies is in the fall. Make sure you don't plant them too deep when you transplant them. Plant them shallowly in a well drained, well amended site in full sun. They may not bloom next spring while they recover from transplanting, but hopefully they will every year thereafter.


 

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