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Planting Peonies

The Martha Stewart Show, September September Fall 2007 2007

Fall is the best time to plant peonies, because they have completed their season's growth but will make new roots in the fall when reestablished in your garden. There are two main types of peonies: herbaceous and woody tree peony plants.

Herbaceous Peony
Herbaceous peonies are perennial bush plants, growing 3 feet high and dying down to ground level in fall with new growth emerging in spring.

Woody Tree Peony
Woody tree peonies are shrubs, producing woody shoots that remain above ground year, like a hydrangea.

Intersectional Peony Hybrid
Intersectional peony hybrid plants combine the traits and gene pools of both herbaceous and woody peonies to create an herbaceous plant with the flowers and foliage of a tree peony. Created after World War II by a Japanese man named Itoh, this variety is not widely available because it is slow to propagate and is mainly purchased by peony collectors.

Planting Peonies How-To
1. The peony root consists of the eyes, crown, or brain tissue and root system full of stored energy. Plant the peony root in a sunny area, away from large trees or shrub roots, with the eyes up, in well drained food friable soil. The eyes should be 2 inches from the surface.

2. After planting, make sure the peony has mulch, water, and a lot of sun during the blooming season, which is mid-May to mid-June.

For more information about peonies, visit Klehm's Song Sparrow at

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