Growing peonies is relatively easy, but there are many subtleties that not all gardeners know. One of the most common problems you may face is the post-flowering period. There are a number of tips to help you deal with this.
In short, after flowering, you should cut the faded flowers so that the peony does not waste its energy. Apply fertilizer and mulch the surrounding surface. You also need to water the peonies in time.
There are a few more useful tips that we’ll talk about in detail in this article.
Cut back peonies after they bloom.
The first thing you need to do is cut the flowers after they bloom. The fact is that after flowering, seeds begin to form, and this requires a lot of energy and nutrients from the plant.
So if you remove the faded flowers, you will get a lush bloom next year.
Cut the flowers as soon as they fade, do not leave them on the stems for more than one week.
Today there are a large number of varieties of peonies on sale. Some of them bloom in spring, some in early summer, and some even in the second half of summer. As soon as the flowers begin to wither, it’s time to cut them.
The place where you need to cut is one or two inches below the flower. That is, you need to cut the flower along with the stem on which it grows to the first leaf node.
Do not prune the main stems and leaves of the peony at this time! The plant will still need foliage to store energy for flowering next year.
Peony should be pruned at ground level at the end of the season (autumn) when the stems and leaves begin to turn yellow.
Also, use only high-quality pruning shears. Before work, sharpen the tool well and soak it in antiseptic.
Mulch surface to get more benefits
Mulching the ground near the plants has a great effect on their growth. Peonies are no exception, and mulching is also desirable for them.
The most important property of mulch is that moisture stays in the ground longer. Due to this, the plants do not lack moisture and grow larger and with more flowers.
Another positive side of mulching is the delay of summer heat in the ground for a long time. As a result, peonies are easier to endure the winter, and in the spring, they grow faster and more energetically.
The best material for mulching is compost. Its advantage is that it is an organic and pure product made from plants. In addition to the above benefits, it adds additional nutrients to the soil.
However, here I must warn you against using poor quality compost. The fact is that composting is a complex process, and improperly prepared compost can damage peonies.
I recommend using quality compost made by the right technology. To find a good compost, be sure to read the reviews of the manufacturer.
Pour a layer of mulch one or two inches thick, that’s enough. With a thicker layer of mulch, oxygen will be poorly supplied to the soil surface, and as a result, there may be problems.
Sprinkle mulch on the ground to the width to which the plant extends. Exactly on this width, the roots spread under the ground.
Do not pour mulching material close to the stems. There should be a gap of one inch between the base of the stems (the place where the stems and roots join) and the mulch.
Fertilize peonies for better next year blooming
I have already mentioned that the process of seed formation requires a lot of energy from the plant. In the case of peonies, this is especially true because these plants have large lush flowers that, after flowering, form boxes with fairly large seeds compared to other plants.
In order for the plant to recover after flowering and gain strength for the next year, you should fertilize it.
After you cut the withered flowers, I recommend watering the peony with liquid fertilizer. This will give momentum, and the plant will feel better.
One watering is usually enough, although you can repeat it if necessary.
Do not fertilize later than August. Otherwise, the peony may begin to form a young growth, and it will be damaged by early frosts.
Also, apply slow-release fertilizers in early spring. This will provide the plant with a constant supply of nutrients throughout the season.
There are many products on the market. Choose only quality manufacturers. Also, strictly follow all the rules listed on the label.
Another thing that must be done is to treat peonies with remedies.
The fact is that after flowering, the plant is weakened, and as a result, it can easily be affected by powdery mildew. This is a very serious disease that needs immediate treatment.
If you neglect this, then the plant will get sick, and next year, it will lag behind in growth and recovery.
At the beginning of the season, it is best to spray peonies with fungicides designed to combat this disease. Prevention is one of the best ways to avoid trouble.
It is also not superfluous to spray against other diseases and pests.
To reduce the risk of disease, plant peonies in full sun at a distance from other plants so that air can move freely between plants.
In the shade, the peony can not only get sick and will not even bloom, or flowers will be few if the shade is partial.
Create support to avoid damage
During the growing season, peonies grow in size. The number of leaves increases, and it becomes heavy. The stems on which all this rests can not always withstand the weight.
In strong winds, the stems can break or bend. As a result, the bush will be damaged. You need help to keep the plant growing and gaining strength.
The simplest solution, in this case, is to tie all the stems with a rope in a bundle. Together, they will be more resistant to bad weather. But do not tighten them too much as the movement of juice can stop.
Another simple solution is to insert three sticks into the ground around the bush and wrap it all in one or two turns of lace.
However, it is best to install a beautiful plant cage that sells online or in a garden center. This will make your peony look even more graceful.
Water them properly
An important condition for the successful cultivation of peonies after flowering is watering.
You need to keep the soil around the plants always slightly moist. Peonies can tolerate a slight drought for a short period, but it is better to give them enough water.
On average, peonies need to be watered every 5-7 days in the absence of precipitation.
In quickly drained soils (sandy soil), watering may be needed more often (up to twice a week).
If there is clay soil in your yard, then watering can be reduced to once every 7-10 days.
Always check how moist the soil is and water if necessary.
One or two gallons of water is enough in most cases, but if the drought is too severe, you can slightly increase the amount of water.
Also, try to water so that water does not fall on the leaves. This will reduce the risk of disease.