Sunday, May 19, 2013

This is NOT a Bonus!

This is NOT a bonus!

Yes, I know you haven't seen me here for awhile. That's what having four grandchildren and being "retired" will do.

It has been an unusual spring so far with many of our plants just loving the cooler, damper weather while our bearded iris have been slow coming and looking for heat. Me, not so much. The tree peonies in our display beds have been blooming quite happily and our herbaceous and Itoh are budding nicely.

Each year someone will ask us about the "bonus" peony growing with his or her tree peony. This is NOT a "bonus"! The tree peonies we sell and the majority you find on the market for sale, are grafted. Tree peony stock is grafted onto a common garden variety root. We always tell people to plant the tree peony a couple of inches deeper than the level it is at in the pot. The tree peony will then set its own roots and the "mother" root will die off. Before this occurs or if the tree peony was not planted deep enough, the garden peony will send up stems and if allowed to grow, will eventually take over and kill off the tree peony which we certainly would not want to occur.

Tree Peony with "mother plant" coming up from the base.

To prevent this, you need to cut the stems completely to the ground. "But they look so healthy!" you may say and "Isn't it nice that I have a lovely pink peony to go along with my lovely yellow tree peony?" NO! You may feel mean snipping away, but your tree peony will be forever ( a good forty years or better) grateful that you have eliminated the intruder from its base. It is a good idea to mound up a couple of inches of soil at the bottom also if you think you did not plant deep enough originally.
Herbaceous Peony Leaves

Knowing what to cut is easy once you are aware of the difference in leaf structure. The herbaceous plant has leaves that are shaped differently and much smoother and shinier as seen in the accompaning photos.

Tree Peony Leaves

Tree Peony Leaves
Herbaceous Peony Leaves

As always if you have any questions, send us an email and we will gladly try to help you with any peony or other gardening inquiries.

Have fun in the garden!