How do I get ants on my peonies? - Knowledgebase Question

Nixa, MO (Zone 6A)
Question by louannlott
April 29, 2005
We just moved into our new house and the previous owners have planted 6 healthy nice peonies. The bushes are covered with blooms, but I have not seen one black ant anywhere. Will they bloom? Do I have to have ants for them to bloom? I have just joined your club and look forward to all your wisdom.


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Answer from NGA
April 29, 2005

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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. Ants will probably find your peonies, as soon as the blossoms begin to mature and produce nectar. 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 predators!

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