JUNE: Peony (Paeonia) Perennial, zone 3-8, full sun
Peonies are loved for their delicate, beautiful, fluffy spring blooms and lush foliage that lasts all summer long. Peony plants will grow up to 3-4 feet high and up to 3 feet wide. They are usually very fragrant with some varieties fragrance more moderate than others and can thrive for up to 100 years. They are deer resistant, however you may notice a lot of ants on your peony buds, they won’t harm the plant. The ants are attracted to the buds sweet sap and will disappear once it has bloomed. Blooms will last for up to ten days, to help them last longer plant them in a space that will provide a bit of shade during the heat of mid-day.
Most Peonies will need support during blooming time, as the big gorgeous blooms are sometimes heavy and can cause the stems to break. To avoid this install a support such as a peony/tomato cage or stakes and garden twine. To avoid damaging your peony the cage should be positioned in place in the early spring, when the peony starts poking out of the ground.
When the Peony is finished blooming for the season and the petals have faded it is advised to deadhead/cutback the dead blooms. The foliage will stay nice and full for the remainder of the season and will allow the plant to save energy to increase growth for next season. Once the first fall frost has killed off the foliage, then the plant should be cut back to ground level.