If you’re an enthusiast of peonies, it’s important to understand the specific care each type requires. There are two types of peonies, herbaceous and shrub, each requiring different pruning practices and winter preparation.
Understanding Herbaceous Peonies
Herbaceous peonies are a type that dies back each year. This type of peony requires timely pruning to guard against the risk of disease. The optimal period for pruning these plants is late October or early November.
Pruning these peonies too soon after the flowering period might harm the plant. Any damaged or diseased foliage should be removed as soon as it’s noticed during the growing season.
Taking Care of Shrub Peonies
Shrub peonies are small shrubs, bearing cup-shaped flowers that grace gardens during May and June. Unlike their herbaceous counterparts, they don’t require similar pruning practice as hydrangeas in the fall.
However, it’s good practice to remove faded seed heads. Let the faded foliage fall by itself naturally and refrain from pruning them back, as they are often grafted onto herbaceous peonies.
The Art of Pruning Peonies
The optimal time for pruning is dictated by the type of peony. Herbaceous peonies should be pruned in the fall, while shrub peonies respond better to spring pruning after new growth begins.
Pruning in the fall encourages new growth and more vibrant flowers in the following spring. Shrub peonies, which are dormant in the winter, store their buds in their woody stems, thus cutting these stems during the fall could detrimentally affect their spring bloom.
Winter Preparation for Peonies
Both types of peonies need specific preparations for winter. It’s recommended to surround the base of the plant with a 15cm layer of mulch. This measure prevents the roots from lifting during frosty conditions.
Stem protection is also advised via a winter veil. This winter preparation method is particularly effective for the first two years after planting the peonies.