dahlias and peonies - Knowledgebase Question

Irvine, Ca
Question by zcollis
November 19, 2008
Can I grow dahlias and peonies in coastal so calif.?


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Answer from NGA
November 19, 2008

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Dahlias will grow year around for you in Irvine, but peonies will be a disappointment. The peony (genus Paeonia), requires a pronounced winter chill to grow and bloom. Peonies are also sensitive to having their roots disturbed once they become established in the garden. So, even if you bought peonies, planted them, and then dug them up and placed them in the refrigerator for a few months each year, they'd only sulk and refuse to perform.

You might have some luck with tree peonies (P. suffruticosa), a shrub from China that grows to about 6 feet high with yellow or salmon colored flowers, or P. lutea, which grows 3-6 feet tall with large yellow flowers. This one's from Tibet. Both of these varieties will grow and bloom without the deep chill required of their Japanese cousins. Best wishes with your garden!

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