May is a wonderful month for many reasons. May flowers are some of my favorite things. This spring, the peony I planted a couple of years ago has its first blooms – and they are beautiful!
These lovely flowers were worth the wait over the past couple of years when the plant only had leaves on it. It’s a good thing it has nice leaves.
When I planted it, I didn’t know much about peonies except that they are pretty. I didn’t realize that they don’t bloom for a couple of years, so at first I thought my plant was a dud. It was a happy day to finally see the first peony buds this spring! They’re so lovely in full bloom.
Five tips for growing garden peonies
Although I’m not a gardening expert, I’ve learned several helpful tips for growing peonies in my flower garden.
1. Be patient. Since peonies take a couple of years to become established and bloom, give them time. Planting annuals near the peony, but not too close, can bring blooms to the area without creating deep roots that will compete with the peony. The tall green foliage pairs nicely with many annuals. Take care that any companion plants don’t block the peony’s sun.
2. Pick the location wisely. Because of the establishment period, peonies are not ideal for transplanting to a new location. Know your gardening zone and the requirements for your specific variety of peony. Find a spot with full sun and provide fertile, well-drained soil. Plan for their mature height and width, usually about 2-3 feet.
3. Provide support. Peony flowers tend to droop and need support. You can buy or make stakes or rings to prop them up. I placed a slightly taller obelisk by the peony while it was bare to add interest to my flower garden. Now it provides a nice support for the flowers.4. Trim back foliage in the fall. Peonies don’t need a lot of ongoing care, but cutting back the foliage in the fall can help avoid disease. Light mulch may be applied in the autumn; mulch should be removed in the spring.
5. Tolerate ants on the buds. Ants are attracted to peony buds for the nectar. The benefit is that ants help control other pests that damage buds. They generally move on after the bud has opened, but take care that the ants are gone when bringing cut flowers indoors.
With just a little planning and minimal care, peonies are a beautiful addition to a flower garden!
What are your favorite May flowers?
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