Did You Know You Can Grow Peonies in Texas?
Garden Peonies are perennial tuberous plants that bloom annually from when they are planted. The large fragrant flowers have become so costly that many gardeners rush to include them in their landscapes. The plant mainly grows natively in rocky areas or meadows, and it thrives in cool weather; not all areas of Texas are efficient for growing the plant. Peonies easily adapt to different gardening conditions if they are properly cultivated.
Different Peony species require different growth conditions. We have three common Peonies; herbaceous Peonies, garden Peonies, and tree Peonies. Herbaceous Peonies, also called Paeonia lactiflora, require about six hours of day-long sunshine before the flowers bloom. If you live in warmer areas, the plant will need about half the amount of sunshine, and if the afternoon is sunny, the plant will bloom with perfect large flowers that are not faded. The second type is the tree Peonies, also called Paeonia suffruticosa, that grow well in dappled shade. Tree Peonies do not require sunshine to bloom. They do well when they are protected from the afternoon sun. The soil needed to grow tree Peonies is different from that of herbaceous peonies. According to Hunker, in the United States, there are different hardiness zones. Texas is gazetted by the U.S Department of Agriculture to have a plant hardiness zone of six to nine. Tree Peonies can be grown throughout Texas because they are hardy in zones of five to nine. Herbaceous Peonies are hardy in zones three to eight, which means they cannot be grown in Texas’s gulf coast and the southern plains.
According to Gardenmanage, there are approximately 33 different species of Peonies. To grow perfect blousy Peonies, there are certain tips that one needs to know;
1. The best time of the year to plant Peonies
Peonies tend to bloom well if they are planted between October and March. Some gardeners recommend planting the plant in December.
2. It is important to know how deep to plant Peonies
If you plant them too deeply, they might fail to bloom. Herbaceous Peonies should not be planted more than 2cm below the soil surface.
3. The best place to grow Peonies
Peonies are easy plants to grow if they have the necessary conditions for growth. Ensure that the plant has an adequate water supply but do not waterlog the plant. To avoid waterlogging, you need to plant Peonies in well-drained soils. You can use clay soil, but ensure that it does not stay wet. Also, ensure that the plant is exposed to a full day of sunshine to bloom at its best.
4. How long does it take for Peonies to bloom, and what is their lifespan
Peonies flower annually, but when they are initially planted, they can take up to three years to develop annual bloom. Once they start to flower, the plant can stay for 50 years with annual flowering. If you happen to shift to a different area, it is possible to move with your Peonies, and they will adjust to the new environment.
5. What to do if you move and you need to replant Peonies
If you want to move from one place to another and have Peonies, the best time to shift is when the plant is inactive. Peonies are dormant every year from October to March; this is the best time to plant Peonies. If you are moving, carefully dig around the roots and deter the roots before transplanting the plant to the new environment. It is possible to make new plants during transplanting. Cut the stem buds open with at least three cuts on each section if you want to divide.
6. How to get rid of insects that affect Peonies
Ants are one of the greatest threats to Peonies during budding. Most beginners do not know how to get rid of ants. Ants are common during budding because they tend to feed on nectar excreted during budding. There is no need to fret. Ants are harmless, and once the plant starts to bud and opens up, the ants will disappear.
Peonies require a regular supply of water immediately after planting. The water supply should be enough, but it should not flood the planting area. The soil should be wet but not soggy, especially during the first year of planting. It is advisable to water heavily than to frequently water the plant to avoid waterlogging. Deep watering is effective because it helps the plant to develop deep roots. If you experience a watering runoff, you need to give the soil time to absorb the water before watering it again. Once the plant is fully developed, it will require a weekly water supply of about an inch. If you live in dry areas of Texas, you will need to water the plant weekly if there is an inadequate supply of rain. If it gets extremely hot and the plant starts to wilt in the hot summer, you can add more than an inch of water weekly. Adding organic mulch is also helpful in water conservation.
The use of fertilizers during planting is optional. Consider using dry granular fertilizers in the ratio of 10:10:10 for the NPK fertilizer. The ratio is approximate to using a quarter to half cup of fertilizer. You should add the fertilizer to the soil at the bottom of each plant, and you should take care to avoid the fertilizer coming into direct contact with the plant. The best tip to prevent fertilizer from touching the roots is to add fertilizer before making a soil cone. Apart from NPK fertilizer, you can also use a half cup of superphosphate fertilizer or bone meal simultaneously.
There is a myth that growing Peonies is complicated. That is not the case. If you do your research well on the plant and the necessary conditions for growth, it is easy to grow the plant. The necessary conditions are direct sunlight, well-drained soils, and a regular water supply.