Flower of the Month - The Peony
Each month we feature a different flower. We include fun facts, what to do and what not to do when caring for it and also it's heritage and how it has come to be one of our most treasured and popular flowers.
And what better way to start this series off other than with the perfect Peony.
The Peony got its name from Paeon (also spelled Paean), who was a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of Medicine and healing. Asclepius become jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.
Nowadays the peony has become one of the most popular and sought after flower on the flower market. It is the perfect wedding flower but also amazingly gorgeous simply on its own in a tall vase. Here are some fun facts and tips on our lovey peony.
- Peonies comes in a variety of colours and shades. Some of them are: red, white, pink, blush, rose, coral, yellow, purple, lavender, orange and green.
- Peonies are in season a really short time, from late April to mid-June
- An emerging source of peonies in mid to late summer is in the Alaskan market. Unique growing conditions due to long hours of sunlight create availability from Alaska when other sources have completed harvest.
- A peony represents wealth and honour. It also embody romance and love, and are regarded as the one of good fortune and happy marriage.
- They are the 12th wedding anniversary flower.
- A peony plant can live to be 100 years and still produce flowers.
- Peonies are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America.
- The white peony is on of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. Peony root is the part valued in Chinese medicine to treat conditions such as convulsion.
- The Chinese name for the peony is "sho yu" and this means "most beautiful". No wonder why there are so many people that fell in love with peonies for centuries.
There are two types of peonies that you can plant in your garden, herbaceous peonies or tree peonies. Herbaceous peonies will die back to ground level once each autumn and its beautiful red stems will grow back the following spring.
However tree peonies produce permanent woody stems that will loose their leaves in winter, but the stem itself remain intact above ground level.
- When choosing a spot to plant your peonies, try choose a spot that gets a lot of sunlight. A minimum of six hours is preferred.
- They are heavy feeders so they will appreciate a moist fertile soil.
- Avoid planting in soggy soil as this causes the crown of the plant to rot.
- Before planting the peony, you need to check where the highest bud is on the grown of the plant. The highest bud needs to be planted about two inches below soil level. Bear in mind that planting it too far down can delay or even prevent the plant from growing.
- It can take up to three years for this type of peony to produce a lot and full blooms so be patient.
- Best position to plant a tree peony is in a sunny or semi shade spot, with shelter from strong winds and shade from early morning sunlight.
- Like herbaceous peonies they also prefer a rich fertile soil.
- Before planting a tree peony, take a look at the stem for a bulge where the woody stem is grafted to the root stock. This graft determines how deeply your tree peony should be planted. The graft should sit four to six inches below soil level.