The Q&A Archives: Peonies in California

Question: I have 5 peonies I have started. I've been told it's hard to be successful w/them in So. Cal. I'm planning to put them in an area with morning light & afternoon shade. Any other good tips for success? Any special growing medium or fertilizer?

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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