“Roses as big as cabbages,” Marco Polo exclaimed when he first saw peonies. With huge, often fragrant flowers, peonies are often a source of awe. Maybe that’s why they’re considered a symbol of good fortune and a happy life.
Peonies Fun Facts
Peonies are primarily native to Asia and Europe. There are over 6,500 varieties and only two are native to North America—on the west coast.
Over 40% of peonies for the cut flower trade are grown in the Netherlands, but, believe it or not, Alaska is an up-and-coming grower! According to some experts, the longer cooler growing season makes for more prominent flowers.
Peonies grow in zones 3 to 8, so grow just about anywhere in the U.S.—except for the warmer climates. They should be prevalent here in Virginia because deer won’t eat those large, beautiful flowers! They’re also tough, durable, and long-lived—living over a century.
You’ll often see ants on them—attracted by the nectar secreted by the buds. Legend says they need the ants to help the buds open but that’s not so. The buds will open with or without the ants. However, the ants are territorial about their nectar source and will help fight off other insects who might harm the plant, so leave them alone.
How to Plant and Care for Peonies
Peony roots should be planted in a spot with six or more hours of sun. Be sure the soil is well draining. Plant the roots two inches deep only, they will not bloom if planted too deep. Feed them in early spring when the leaves first start coming up. Plant them in a spot where you can enjoy them for years.
If you have to divide or move your peonies, remember that they resent being disturbed, so they may not bloom for several years.
Get Your Very Own Peonies Now
We just got in some freshly grown and dug LOCAL peony roots, so come in and get yours!