APS Question & Answer

 

QUESTION:

I have a small peony farm and many of the plants are from old Rehoboth, Massachusetts homesteads. I cannot identify one of the plants we have and neither can Roy Klehm. He feels it might have come over to the "new world" from France, via English settlers. Is there a way to find out? If it is not named, can it be named after our farm?

ANSWER:

While it is possible to identify some of the old varieties, it requires that they still be at least somewhat in commerce. Catalog descriptions (which are essentially what we have to work with) are not technical enough to work backwards from an unknown peony to a name for it. Thus, once you have a tentative identification, you have to match it up against a known named variety for verification. There is somewhat more certainty in working from a name to a decision whether that name is plausible for what is actually growing there as one might do in verifying an old historic collection.

So, with all of that uncertainty in mind, here's what we need to have in order to try for a tentative identification.

1) A series of good clear photographs showing all parts of the plant, including an overall shot of the entire plant.

2) A detailed description and items of note that may be unique or distinguishing. A whole list of things could apply, so for now do the best you can, and as we get further into the process more specific points are sure to pop up.

As for naming this peony after coming up empty on an identification, that is something we are reluctant to do until we are certain that it can't be identified with the resources we currently have available.

Reiner Jakubowski, APS Cultivar Registrar


QUESTION:

We were given some bare root peonies late this fall, and unfortunately did not get them in the ground before it froze. The peonies have been outside (USDA Zone 4) in a bag all this time. Is there any way to keep them, until we can plant them in the spring?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, if the roots have been repeatedly frozen and thawed, without soil or peat moss around them, they will most likely rot after planting. The freeze/thaw cycle draws water out of the cells until they die and become essentially freeze dried. If they were on the ground, close to a building, somewhat moist and buffered from repeated freezing and thawing, I would do one of two things.

(1) Pot them up in soil, which may not be available with the ground frozen, and place them outside in a shaded area (such as the north side of a building) and cover them with leaves on all sides until spring—on the outside chance that they are still alive.

Or, (2) pack them in slightly damp peat moss in a box that has a large plastic bag as a liner and store them in a minimally heated location where the temperature is close to freezing. Then plant them in April when the ground can be worked.

If the roots do sprout, they will have missed their rooting cycle, which would have been in the fall. This means that they will need careful attention to watering throughout next year to keep them alive without the benefit of new roots, until temperatures start to drop and the days shorten—some time in early September, next year.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

I have a very large pink peony that use to bloom with a lot of large flowers. Some years back it started having one flower. I finally moved it and replanted it in a different location. That didn't help. It had only one flower again this year. It has a lot of green foliage and a lot of small buds, but only one develops into a flower—the rest of the buds shrink.

ANSWER:

Such a complete failure in development of the flower buds suggests a plant that is in a state of serious decline. Decline results from failure of a plant to store sufficient food in a growing season to fully support growth and flowering the following spring. My first thought is that something must be changing progressively for the worse where your peony is located, possibly during multiple seasons. Decline most often results from reduced availability of moisture, light and soil nutrients, as by trees or large shrubs nearby. A multi-year drought cycle, as happened recently in the Midwest, in absence ofadequate irrigation, will aggravate the problems of root competition. If the problem is in fact encroachment by shallow rooting trees and shrub roots and when these dominant plants are to remain, then the best bet may be to take up the peony plant, divide it and replant elsewhere. However, if competition is not an obvious explanation for the decline, it might be worthwhile to give increased cultivation for a couple of seasons—supplemental fertilizers, compost and weekly irrigation when it is not raining—to see if the plant can be brought to acceptable performance.

At maturity peonies have a large root run, many of them more than four feet in diameter and extending more than 18 inches deep when in a well aerated soil. Prepare the soil widely and well. They want good fertility, well fortified with both organic matter and mineral nutrients. Most kinds do best with the soil near neutral in acidity. In heavier soils raised beds are generally advantageous.

To make the best use of their growing season they need soil moisture so long as the leaves remain green, either from rainfall or supplemental irrigation. Once weekly thorough irrigation is needed when there is not an inch of rain per week.

For additional information obtain a copy of Handbook of the Peony.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

Do you know of any commercial or non-commercial sources for heirloom or historic peonies? I am looking for old cultivars that are fragrant, if possible.

ANSWER:

I do not know of a grower who specializes in historical or "heirloom" peony cultivars, per se. However, many growers regularly market peonies that have been known for a very long time. Begin your search by contacting growers listed in the commercial members section of the APS' Annual Yearbook or the commercial links on the website. Also, it is possible to post an inquiry for select cultivars to be included in The APS Bulletin.

Some older cultivars offered at Hollingsworth Peonies from time to time are: Edulis Superba (Lemon of France, 1824) and Fragrans (Sir Joseph Banks, 1805); both of these survived in production, most probably due to their suitability to be produced for the florist trade. Fragrans is the name given in Europe to one of the peonies imported from Asia, sorts which survived the long ride on a wind powered ship. Among the Asian imports of the same period we also have a few plants of Humei (Anderson, 1810) and we regularly offer plants believed to be the originally named Whitleyi (Whitley, 1803) later renamed Queen Victoria, the latter said to have been one of the most widely grown in North America for florist use during the first quarter of the 20th century. Having no way to absolutely prove the connection with our stock we list what we believe to be the latter under the heading "Old Farmstead Peonies", the plural because we have what appears to be the same peony from multiple sources across the USA. Many peonies, first introduced for distribution in the mid-1800s and the following decades, remain in commerce.

I suggest you obtain some of APS' historical publications and read them with an eye for references to the older cultivars. Some of the books I recommend for an interesting exposure to peony history are The Best of Seventy-Five Years, The Peonies and Peonies; History of Peonies and Their Originations.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

My peony bush (approximately 50 years old) did not bloom well during the spring of 2007 in my Northeastern Ohio location. I was told to dig it up this spring and separate it. When do I do this; before or after the last frost?

ANSWER:

Many peonies did not flower over most of the country last spring due to flower bud injury, because of severe damage during the week of April 8th series of deep freezing overnight temperatures.

The most likely alternate explanation for failure of your 50-year peony is that it had poor gains in food storage during the previous season. This often happens over time because of encroachment of shade and tree roots or weather effects that caused poor growth during recent seasons, such as drought. Peony flowering any spring is very much influenced by how well the plants stored food the previous growing season.

A less frequent explanation is invasion of the roots by disease or parasites.

While peonies can be moved with success any time of the year, if you have a choice late summer or early autumn is the best time to do it. At that time, the plants have saved up the food made during the growing season and are fully dormant. Peonies naturally start the next growth cycle in late autumn by beginning growth of new feeder roots that will be in place to support the flowering shoots at the beginning of the next growing season. If something about your situation demands moving them now, then the sooner the better. I suggest you keep as much soil on the roots as you can and reset them temporarily, to be taken up in autumn for replanting. At that time you can wash the roots free of soil and inspect for root maladies that might be the cause of the decline. If determined okay, divide the clump into starter pieces to be planted in well-prepared soil.

It would be best to get as much growth as possible on your plants during the current season. My suggestions is that you give special care to your peony plant for this growing season and to put off dividing and re-setting until late summer. Top dress with a soluble fertilizer around your peony now and again after flowering time. See that the soil remains evenly moist so long as the leaves remain green this season. Do not cut down the foliage until late summer. The idea is to get all of the food storage into the roots that the plant is able to produce during the upcoming growing season. It is also important to irrigate as needed to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. The peony's food making system cannot function when the roots are unable to deliver moisture to the leaves.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

Several of the leaves on my well-established peony have brown streaks and are wilted. Is this caused by a fungus? If so, how can it be treated? I am careful to clean around the plant after it loses foliage in the fall and have applied a fungicide to the stem base each fall. The bed is well-mulched. Please help with some treatment. This has been a beautiful plant and strong performer in the past.

ANSWER:

Your account of symptoms is consistent with there being a Botrytis infection site that has occurred where a leaf emerges from the main stalk. This happens when a windborne or rain-splashed Botrytis spore lodges there as the shoots emerge. These spores are generally only successful in germinating when the site remains continuously moist for six–eight hours. Thus, periods of much precipitation and continuous humidity favor development of disease sites.

Once infected the diseased area spreads up and down the vascular traces of the stem, with the upper foliage eventually becoming starved for moisture. This is when we see wilting. By then the damage will have extended well across the stem. It is very important to cut off the damaged stem below the symptomatic area, far enough down that no discoloration is evident in the cross section of the remaining stub. This is to prevent the infection from advancing downward into the perennial crown of the plant. When an infection involves the underground tissues, the only way to get rid of it is to take up the plant, so that the diseased area can be cut away.

Your care in cleaning up fallen leaves and peony stems is a good prevention technique. Careful sanitation is the first line of defense. There are also preventative sprays, which to be effective must be applied as soon as the "noses" of the shoots appear above ground, and reapplied as necessary to keep a barrier of the treatment present. In addition to infection at crotches formed by the leaves, Botrytis spores may similarly lead to damaged flower buds when they come to rest on the top of the small buds. As the buds enlarge by growth from their centers, the infected site will be moved to the underside of the bud and expand across the stem immediately below, leading to dead buds having the typical "shepherds crook" distortion. Flower buds infected later in their development may open or partly so, and when held in cold storage will show the typical gray mold of spore formation. For preventative treatments licensed for use against Botrytis, check the labels of plant disease products available at garden stores in your area.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

I have 22 new (planted last year) peony plants. What is the best fertilizer (brand/type) and the best time/times to fertilize?

ANSWER:

If your planting site is one that was made favorable for the peonies when they were planted, give the plants a couple of seasons during which they take on mature height for their variety, before beginning annual applications of a supplemental fertilizer.

In the event that your planting site was not already fortified with mineral nutrients and humus—a good topsoil—at planting, there are some things that you can do now toward correcting. One of the most valuable strategies is to add generous amounts of an organic compost, one rich in nutrients. This will come from decomposed plant material (not peat or pine bark, which are generally sterile). An inch depth of compost applied annually over the area where your peonies were planted is not too much. Earthworms and microbes will further decompose the compost and move it into the soil beneath.

The best place to seek information about improving your soil for good performance of your peonies, or just to obtain a more knowledgeable recommendation of the amount and kind of annual fertilization, is the University Agricultural Extension Service in your state.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

I purchased a yellow peony tree. It was beautiful and bloomed the second spring. I forgot and cut it back that fall. Will it ever bloom again?

ANSWER:

There is a very high probability your plant will not be injured at all by the removal of the woody stems last fall. Normally these plants readily renew top growth from below ground very much as you see in other shrubby ornamental sorts, although flowering of tree peonies' new stems is less common.

However, most woody peonies are marketed while still on the nurse root by which they were propagated—a budded stem section from the variety, grafted into a separate root piece. If the grafted plant happens to be set in the soil so that only the nurse root is below ground surface, it can be a different story. In that case whether the variety can make new shoots from the base depends on whether one or more of its shoot buds remain, after a loss of the top.

Normally the planting instructions that come with a grafted plant will have cautioned to set the graft union well into the soil. If that caution was followed, your plant will likely be no worse off for having its tops removed. We gardeners learn a lot of things as we go along (one of many consolations appreciated by me for having grown older) and experiences such as this do tend to be readily remembered! I like to tell the young folk around me that I do not mind my age, there is a whole lot they still have to learn, of which I am glad to have already been through (including when one of them inadvertently cuts down a tree peony!).

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

I have some peonies that flowered profusely for two years—after that only leaves. What can I do?

ANSWER:

It would help me to give you a more confident diagnosis if you gave some specific information, such as your location and what kinds of trees, shrubs and other plants may be growing along with your peonies. How are all your plants doing? What may have changed where the peonies are growing that might have affected their growth? Have you allowed your peonies to keep their leaves throughout the summer (not cutting them down after they bloom)? Lacking this kind of information, I will do what I can, with what you have written.

When peonies fail to flower after having reached flowering maturity the most common reason is that they are declining in vigor, due to poor growth, poor food storage quantity. Peonies grow and flower this spring on growth gains made last summer.

However, your account of "profuse flowers for two years" suggests that at one time they had satisfactory growing conditions. How long ago was it that they flowered for two years? If they failed for the first time in 2007, then my first thought is the flower buds may have been destroyed by late freeze injury—most of the US suffered freeze damage of early spring flowering plants and fruit crops last year.

The conditions for injury were widespread. During the first week of April middle-America from the Rocky Mountains eastward, and to the Southern States was hit by multiple nights of severe freezing temperatures. If you had not thought of that already, maybe that is the explanation for the loss of flowering. For most kinds of peonies, the loss due to freeze will be a oneseason effect.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

My peony seedlings are growing under artificial light and have developed a red tinge and/or red edges. Is this a problem of light spectrum (not full enough?) or of light distance? I'd be interested to know what other people are using.

ANSWER:

The condition you are describing can be caused by a number of things.

  1. Genetics—as you might note some peonies sprout in the spring with a red or bronze cast to the leaves. Often the seedling color of lactifloras is a total beet red not just on the edges.
  2. The growing temperature may be too hot or too cold—65-70ºF is about right.
  3. Too much fertilizer—go very light or not at all. Softened water is not recommended because of the salt burning.
  4. Lights should be on no longer than 16 hours a day, to avoid confusing the metabolism of the plants.
  5. If the plants look otherwise healthy, the light source given from daylight fluorescent bulbs is adequate.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

I have a five year old tree peony tree. Every year I only get six blossoms, no more, no less. The tree is very spindly and is only two and a half feet high, but the blossoms are enormous. The tree is in full morning sun, with afternoon shade. Do you have any suggestions on increasing the output of flowers? I should also mention that once the flowers do open, they last about two days and then the petals start falling off. I am perplexed.

Would it be advisable to move this peony tree to another location, so it would produce more flowers and be less spindly, or should I just leave it alone and enjoy what I have?

ANSWER:

If you planted the tree peony too shallow it is not growing on its own roots. This means it can't produce more shoots from below the ground. So, you are probably getting the maximum number of flowers possible.

The flower quality depends on two factors: temperatures at the time of bloom and water that the plant receives during that time. High temperatures and inadequate water would account for a shorter flower life. Maximum flower life for tree peonies is about five days.

I would be inclined to leave the tree peony where it is and perhaps think about planting a new one in a more ideal location, since it is obvious that you can grow them successfully.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

I have new bare root peonies and want to try and plant one in a pot. Is there a best way to do this? Or is this totally not recommended?

ANSWER:

You are right—this is totally not recommended. Even when potted for sale, they are intended to go in the garden that following growing season. They are designed by nature to be good at storing food in fleshy roots that don't tolerate pots.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

I'm trying to locate a peony that my great grandfather developed. His name is Augustof Jules De Mars. I believe the name of the peony was Mureljean. It would have been developed in the 1930s or 1940s in Minnesota. How would I go about locating any, if they still exist?

ANSWER:

A place to start is to learn if the peony name was ever established. There are 7,995 entries of known peony names in APS' newest publication Peonies 1997-2007. Or, an Internet search may also turn up something. Finally, a query to the APS Registrar might get you the following answer—the chances of locating this peony are statistically zero. The APS membership lists I checked (1938, 1944, 1951) do not have Mr. de Mars (or anything close) as a member.

A peony by that name was never registered with the APS and it does not show up in any other supplemental lists.

The best advice may be to place a classified ad in The APS Bulletin. There may be some grower or collector who has it, but I rather doubt it. There were many peonies that existed in their originator's gardens and nowhere else.

Reiner Jakubowski, APS Registrar ~ Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


QUESTION:

What does "Triploid; no fertility noted" mean? I've seen it in catalogs.

ANSWER:

Triploid means that there is three times the basic number of chromosomes. No fertility noted means that, as far as the seller knows, the pollen is unviable for creating seeds that will grow and the peony plant will not produce seeds that will grow.

> for APS Scott Parker, Parker's Perennials ~ Tomah, Wisconsin


QUESTION:

Is there a special herbaceous peony I should use to graft my tree peony to for better strike rate?

ANSWER:

It is my belief that there is little or no agreement among persons who do large volume of tree peony grafts about what makes the best nurse root. Perhaps they tend to consider such information proprietary and are reluctant to pass it on. I will wager all of them have preferences and some of those preferences will be cultivars. I have been inclined to suspect KRINKLED WHITE (Brand, A.M., 1928) is heavily used by one or two grafters. This may be because the root diameter is favorable and the length suitable to take multiple nurse roots each.

One of the North America tree peony producers gets roots from our nursery when we have some that satisfy him. In my view he is a little "narrow-minded" in his specifications and also quite practical. We collect roots of herbaceous peonies for him while processing plants to fulfill our orders. We avoid sending him roots of sorts that will sprout on blind root stubs and otherwise make the effort to comply with his notions.

Our tree peony producing friend emphasizes having a certain size, which he defines at not less than 5/8 inches diameter at the top end and about as long as an average size cigar. I believe his concern for the size is because he fits his grafts using the triangle scion that is described in a David Reath article published by APS. However, that is not the most commonly used method for fitting the parts of a graft. The so-called cleft graft versions can be used on most any size root that also lends to applying the binding.

Another friend who is just getting into tree peony grafting uses cull seedlings from his breeding experiments for nurse roots. If one grows nurse roots from seedlings of Lactiflora Group cultivars, you may have the most disease-free stock available. The shape and length of roots will be variable, but they will have little potential for being infected with a virus. When you find some seedlings that grow vigorously and tend to make long roots, you may have found one that is worth replanting to grow more roots. Do pay attention to disinfecting your cutting tools between plants, both while preparing nurse roots and fitting the grafts—the idea is to avoid transferring any sap borne disease organism from one plant to another.

When selecting seeds to grow for nurse roots, avoid lactifloras and herbaceous hybrids that are known to have the ability to sprout on blind root stubs. These will plague you and your customers the same as so often do grafted Suffruticosa tree peonies that come from Japan.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

Generally speaking, are most peonies fragrant? Looking in catalogs, it's hard to tell; if they are noted as fragrant, it's easy, but many are not listed as such. Before looking online, I had always assumed that all peonies were fragrant. Is there a difference with type? For instance, are tree peonies or intersectional peonies more likely not to be fragrant?

ANSWER:

Not all peonies are fragrant and some that are do not have a pleasant smell. Some peony catalogs indicate fragrance and others do not. Catalog descriptions vary from seller to seller, so I would recommend checking several different catalogs and/or web sites to get several growers views of the peonies that you are considering to purchase. I tend to give a lot more weight to the descriptions of peonies that come from actual growers of peonies vs. companies that "resale" peonies. I will list a few fragrant peonies which you might want to consider when looking through your catalogs and online web sites: MOONSTONE (Murawska, 1943), DIANA PARKS (Bockstoce, W.S., 1942), HERMIONE (Sass, H.P., 1932), and MISS AMERICA (Mann / van Steen, 1936).

The same holds true for tree peonies and intersectional peonies—some are fragrant and some are not. In general it benefits the seller to note if the peony is fragrant (more chance of a sale). Thus, if nothing about fragrance is listed I would tend to think that the peony is not fragrant or the fragrance is not worth noting. But make sure to check several sources so that you do not depend on one person's opinion. I hope this information will help you in making your decision about which peonies to buy.

> for APS Scott Parker, Parker's Perennials ~ Tomah, Wisconsin


QUESTION:

My peonies have what appear to be seed pods that are on the stem after the flower has fallen off. Are these seed pods? If so, when and how do I harvest the seeds?

ANSWER:

The peony seed pods (botanical anatomy: "fruits") may or may not contain seeds. This may be because the cultivar is unable to produce seeds, as is typical among the hybrids of interspecies origin, or because the ova have not been fertilized by viable pollen having reached the stigmas during the fertile time of the pods. Pollination may happen by bugs and wind or you can aid nature by transferring pollen, usually most effective if from another variety of peony.

When seeds are present, maturity (in the Northern hemisphere) may occur as early as July to as late as September, consistent with species ancestry and whether the mother plant happens to shut down early because of heat and drought. Pods with growing seeds in them will become rounded in outline compared to empty pods. As the seeds become mature the surface of the pod adjacent to the contained seeds will begin to lose its green color. Inside the seeds may still have immature seed coats, in which case they will be either creamy or a plum red color. As maturity advances the seed coats will become hard and take on a dark color—brown, black or a deep gun-metal blue. At some point the outer shell becomes sufficiently dry with maturity that the suture along the top of the "fruits" begins to open. Seeds for normal planting are usually not harvested earlier than when the color is changing to the mature stage.

For a first person look at fertile seed pod development, examine the pods periodically for changes in their appearance beginning about mid-summer.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

I have planted about 12 peonies in my yard over the past 20 years and they are doing beautifully. However, I have not always recorded the cultivars' names carefully when planting and I am interested in planting more in the future. I have just ordered from APS the Handbook of the Peony and The American Tree Peony. I am interested in a good, inexpensive book that would give me color illustrations of the various peony cultivars (to both help in possibly identifying a few unknown plants, as well as selection of future plantings) and was wondering if Wister's The Peony would be a good starting point? Thanks for any suggestions you have to offer.

ANSWER:

Color pictures of hybrid peony varieties (up to publication date) and the species flowers are covered fairly well in the APS book The American Hybrid Peony, but I do not know of a comprehensive photo treatment of either all peony cultivars nor the most commonly grown sorts (those of the Lactiflora Group). Probably photo illustrated commercial catalogs and web sites afford the most extensive range of peony flower photos. Of course, none of those can be taken as absolutely foolproof—peonies survive for centuries and sometimes there is no way to be sure you have the correct plant, no matter how much experience can be brought to bear on the question.

Using flower pictures only has limited value in identifying unknown sorts "from scratch". This method is probably the most useful in confirming what you have, when you have an idea what the variety is. Bottom line, it can be quite a challenge to identify an unknown peony name without bringing in named sorts to compare.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

Why do the buds fall off my peony plant?

ANSWER:

The main reasons the buds fall off peonies are:

  1. Too much shade—peonies need 8-10 hours of sun each day.
  2. They are fighting for nutrients and water because of surrounding plants. Tree and shrub roots can starve a peony plant to the point that it will live, but not have enough energy to bloom.
  3. The plant is starving because it has never been fertilized. Fertilize in mid-June.
  4. The plant is being cut back to early in the season.
  5. There is not enough water during the late fall when the new roots and buds are formed.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

My peonies wilt or rot. Is this a fungus or what?

ANSWER:

Peonies cannot be watered with an irrigation system. They like deep watering once a week.

Crowding by other plants and over fertilization will also contribute to rotting, as will growing in too much shade.

More peonies are killed by over watering from lawn sprinklers than any other means. There are records of peonies that are over 150 years old so that if planted in a location with rich soil, full sun (8-10 hours each day) and watered when there is a period of more than one week without one inch of rain and fertilized once in late spring, the plants should provide decades of joy for the gardener.

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota


QUESTION:

For the first time I have seedlings from my tree peony. How will they "behave" over the winter? Will they vanish and come back next year?

ANSWER:

I am assuming by "for the first time" you are saying this is the first season the little plants produced a leaf upon their germination and that the plants in question are outdoors in the soil and exposed to the natural winter weather.

In answer to your question, my experience is that a first season tree peony seedling is not likely to make a woody stem above ground. If that is true for yours as well, I believe you will see the leaf die off in autumn and you will not see evidence of the little plants until they grow again, next spring. Thus, I suggest you consider whether there is any reason to mark the area against inadvertent disturbance before their leafy growth emerges.

If frequent, repeated freeze/thaw cycles cause heaving in your soil, mulch will be helpful to reduce the frequency thereof.

for APS > Don Hollingsworth, Hollingsworth Peonies ~ Maryville, Missouri


QUESTION:

Are herbaceous peonies shown [in cut flower exhibitions] as a single flower and disbudded? Are multiple flowers and buds a fault?

ANSWER:

Peonies are to be shown as a single bloom per stem. Stems should be disbudded as this gives the largest blooms. To disbud, remove side buds while the size of a pea, so that the removal does not leave a noticeable scar. The exception for "single bloom per stem," is when the exhibition schedule calls for "one stem with three or more blooms open at the time of exhibition."

for APS > Harvey Buchite, Hidden Springs Flower Farm ~ Anoka, Minnesota