Answer: It is difficult to grow peonies in mild winter areas such as southern California because the plants need a pronounced winter chill, something your area can't provide. To worsen matters, peonies don't like to be moved once they're established, so digging up the tuberous roots in the winter and putting them in the refrigerator won't work, either. You may be lucky enough to get blooms from your peonies their first year in the garden, but after that they will probably just fade away. Sorry to be the bearer of sad news!
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