The Q&A Archives: Growing Peonies

Question: Can I plant a peony near pine trees? I have them everywhere around my house. Also, I live at a farly high elevation, near the Canadian border. Will a peony do well here?

Answer: Peonies are perennials that grow from tuberous roots. They won't mind soil that's on the acidic side, so your pine trees shouldn't affect them. They prefer to grow in full sunshine, and they need a pronounced winter chill to bloom best. Prepare the planting hole by digging down about 18 inches to loosen the soil. Add some compost or aged manure to the soil and refill the hole, place the roots so the bud is only 2 inches below the soil surface and finished filling the hole. Water well and spread a mulch over the area. You may have to stake taller varieties, so plan to add a stake to the hole before you refill it. Stems will grow in the spring, and blossoms will follow in the summer. The blossoms are large and can pull the plant over, so gently tie the stems to the stake as they grow.

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