The Q&A Archives: peonies and ants

Question: The Peonies in my garden are covered with hundred of ants every year. How do I get rid of the ants on plants, the plants blooms quite well every year but I can't use them as cut flowers for the house. Plants are planted North-West side of house and there is plenty of shade and moist soil.

Answer: Contrary to popular belief, ants are not essential to making peonies bloom, but they are companions of peonies because they feed on the nectar produced by the blossoms. If ants are a problem, you can bait to kill them, but they're generally happy in the garden and probably won't invade your house. If you plan to cut the blossoms, hold each one under water for a minute or so to dislodge any hitchhiking ants before you take the flowers indoors. Peonies and ants have a symbiotic relationship. The peony produces substances the ants like, and in turn, the ants protect the peony from insect pests.

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