Tree paeonies and herbaceous paeonies both enjoy similar growing conditions. They should be planted in the Autumn once the plant is going dormant as this gives them time to become established before they begin their spring growth and commence to flower. We sell out plants in pots and recommend that they be left in the pots and planted out from April to November, but earlier the better. Once established the plant will grow and bloom in a suitable spot for many years.
Because the paeony plants live for such a long time it is advisable to prepare the site very thoroughly before planting. Choose a well drained area that is free of tree roots. Space plants 2.0 metres apart as they do not like overcrowding. They like the sun, but in hotter areas, some partial shade is recommended especially while flowering. Shelter from the prevailing strong winds which might break branches and tear leaves.
- Dig a hole that is 600mm by 600mm to take the root system of the plant, make sure the soil to fill the hole is friable and crumbly, add well rotted compost or humus (bag of potting mix mixed with soil is ideal.
- Plant your seedling tree paeony to the depth it was in the container or
- Plant your grafted tree paeony with the grafted union of the scion and the rootstock at least 100mm x 125mm below ground level.
- Stake well in both cases while the plant is young.
- Prune dead or broken branches early Winter. Cut strong central leader back mid Winter after the first year of growth if there is a cluster of strong buds at the base, this will help your tree paeony to bush out. Remember it's better for your tree paeony to be established and bushy rather than have tall and leggy stems which can easily break in the wind.
- The plant does not require a lot of fertiliser. We use nitrophoska blue special 22.214.171.124 in the spring just before flowering. 1 tablespoon scattered around the outside perimeter of the leaves for a 2 year old plant, 2 tablespoon or more for an older plant. Fertilize in Autumn with sulphate of potash and lime in May.
- Watch for botrytis. It appears as:
(a)a dense grey mould at the base of the shoots which may wilt and then die.
(b)can attack foliage, flower buds, and stems as well. These infections appear later in the season as irregular dark brown areas on the leaves. Buds which are affected turn brown and wither and the roots area spongy brown colour. Spray if necessary with Benlate first then a fortnight later with Captan following the manufacturers instructions and recommendations, repeat once more if necessary. Remember, sanitation is the best control for disease so careful inspection and removal of any infected part is very important.
- Do not over water. Your paeony can withstand very dry conditions but will not tolerate becoming waterlogged.
- Maintain and keep weed free. Do not plant perennials (other than bulbs) too close to smother plant.
Planting a tree paeony crown or grafted union 125-150mm below
top of soil.