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Avatar for krazyquilter
May 5, 2020 8:16 PM CST
Connecticut (Zone 6b)
Thought this might be a good comparison question to ask!

Mine get 5-6 hours of direct sun.
I have good soil and treat mine to bulb tone and azomite, so other than crazy weather (like this quarantine year!), the other major deal seems to be sunlight. My peonies are healthy and strong, but don't double/triple in size in a 2-3 year timeframe like some others have mentioned.
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May 5, 2020 8:29 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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Krazyquilter, a lot depends on variety, some increase faster than others. I don't see anywhere near that rate of increase, either, mine most likely because of how arid Colorado is.
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May 6, 2020 12:36 AM CST
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
I agree it depends on a variety, some are fast growers, some are slow. Our garden is surrounded by forest so different peonies get different amount of direct sun light, something between 14 and 5 hours. I have to watch the lower number, never actually counted.
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May 6, 2020 4:56 AM CST
Moderator
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Butterflies Garden Photography Hostas Hummingbirder Peonies Region: Tennessee
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I have different garden beds. I know most get at least 6 hours, and several get almost 10. I have found that you have to be patient with peonies.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
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May 6, 2020 9:55 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Annuals Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Dog Lover Daylilies Bee Lover Birds
Isn't 6 hours and over considered full sun anyway?
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May 6, 2020 10:15 AM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
Since all my herbaceous peonies are rescued, I had to plant them in partial shade. That is, because my garden is small, and the sunniest spots are reserved for roses, poppies and three peonies. As the time passes by, I've figured out that three peonies are doing better in partial shade. I believe that is because they prefer a bit of shelter in our climate (Zone 5b.)

Thus, I had two herbaceous peonies blooming in almost total shade (e.g., no more than 2 hours of direct sun light.) I believe one of them was White Wings and the other was Sarah Bernhardt. In general, single flowering peonies peonies do better in partial shade than doubles. All of them will need more time (i.e., additional two or three years) to start blooming in partial shade.

A couple of years ago, I rescued one creamy-white peony from the neighborhood. I admired that plant for many years; it was huge. Just when I'd come to rescue it, I realized that the plant was growing in almost total shade. Cannot explain how. Anyway, I had to dig through the piles of bricks and concrete (developers!) to save it. The roots broke into five or six pieces, which I gave to other neighbors. The piece that I took was planted in partial shade, but it gets a lot of morning sun. Hopefully it will bloom again this year and we will be able to id it.

Another rescuee was growing under a huge Norway maple tree; total, total shade. I noticed a couple of dry flowers that were still there when I dug it up. Not sure re the id, but it might be Karl Rosenfield or Red Charm. We can try to id it this year. Hopefully, it will bloom.

On the other hand, there ate some peonies that really need more sun. Several years ago, I got an old variety that we couldn't id. The plant was really nice when it was growing in the full sun, but the neighbor wanted to get rid of it, so I took it. It's in partial shade in my garden, but it obviously needs more sun - the plant simply stopped blooming. I'll have to replant it in the fall.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
Last edited by Jasmin May 6, 2020 10:22 AM Icon for preview
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May 6, 2020 6:17 PM CST
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
Jasmin, you give me hope, I have an alley that my mulberry tree is growing and getting fruit. Maybe I can plant some of my single flower peonies there.
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May 7, 2020 11:12 AM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
SoCal, can you have tree peonies in your temperature zone? They are much more shade tolerant. There are also woodland peonies.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
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May 7, 2020 11:58 AM CST
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
I don't have one yet but I've read the Huntington Library which is in Pasadena can grow them, also the nursery Charmaron in the Bay Area said you can grow them in California. I can grow Itoh and some herbaceous types. I will put them in a shady area.
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May 7, 2020 12:20 PM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
SoCal, mulberry trees may create dense shade. By the way, I love mulberries, since childhood. The only reason I didn't plant a mulberry tree in my garden was dense shade that it may create.

You can try, for example, if there are at least two to three hours of sunlight below the tree, it might even work. You can always move the peonies. Smiling
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
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May 7, 2020 1:12 PM CST
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
Jasmin, mine is in an alley and in a pot. Delicious fruit btw. I'm thinking of putting the peonies in that alley but not right underneath this mulberry tree. This area is about 3 feet wide space, along the length of my house. The mulberry is about 2-3 years old. It won't be huge but at least I get something useful out of this space.
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May 17, 2020 3:58 AM CST
Sacramento, CA (Zone 9b)
I have found that in northern/central California (where I am), it thrives the best in partial shade, especially in those brutal high temp afternoons. My herbaceous peonies get about 5-7, but there are older plants near them to provide some shade during the high afternoon sun.
Last edited by amymonel May 17, 2020 3:59 AM Icon for preview
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May 17, 2020 9:23 AM CST
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
I have an area, that are in the shade, I hope to plant an easy going tree peony like High noon. Most things I plant in this area died, rose and fig tree. It's amazing how fig tree is a survivor and it died on me. The only tree that survived in this area is a mulberry tree.
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Jul 26, 2022 3:49 PM CST
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Bulbs Winter Sowing Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Charter ATP Member
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Bump
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Jul 26, 2022 4:15 PM CST

Jasmin said: Since all my herbaceous peonies are rescued, I had to plant them in partial shade. That is, because my garden is small, and the sunniest spots are reserved for roses, poppies and three peonies. As the time passes by, I've figured out that three peonies are doing better in partial shade. I believe that is because they prefer a bit of shelter in our climate (Zone 5b.)

Thus, I had two herbaceous peonies blooming in almost total shade (e.g., no more than 2 hours of direct sun light.) I believe one of them was White Wings and the other was Sarah Bernhardt. In general, single flowering peonies peonies do better in partial shade than doubles. All of them will need more time (i.e., additional two or three years) to start blooming in partial shade.

A couple of years ago, I rescued one creamy-white peony from the neighborhood. I admired that plant for many years; it was huge. Just when I'd come to rescue it, I realized that the plant was growing in almost total shade. Cannot explain how. Anyway, I had to dig through the piles of bricks and concrete (developers!) to save it. The roots broke into five or six pieces, which I gave to other neighbors. The piece that I took was planted in partial shade, but it gets a lot of morning sun. Hopefully it will bloom again this year and we will be able to id it.

Another rescuee was growing under a huge Norway maple tree; total, total shade. I noticed a couple of dry flowers that were still there when I dug it up. Not sure re the id, but it might be Karl Rosenfield or Red Charm. We can try to id it this year. Hopefully, it will bloom.

On the other hand, there ate some peonies that really need more sun. Several years ago, I got an old variety that we couldn't id. The plant was really nice when it was growing in the full sun, but the neighbor wanted to get rid of it, so I took it. It's in partial shade in my garden, but it obviously needs more sun - the plant simply stopped blooming. I'll have to replant it in the fall.



Well, I'm speechless. Everything I was concluding about my own peonies not blooming because they only got 2 hours of sun(maybe a little more) a day and the rest dappled light(never deep shade) just went out the window.
Last edited by janyss471 Jul 26, 2022 4:18 PM Icon for preview
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Jul 29, 2022 4:06 PM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
Janyss, where did you find that old post of mine? It is probably from 2016. Here is an update.

There were two herbaceous peonies booming under my deck, less than 2 hours of sunlight. At that time, I had really bad neighbours, and they were growing practically on the mutual right of way. My concern was that those evil neighbours might kill them, so I moved them to an even shadier spot. They did not bloom there. One of those peonies was NOID; I called it "Mistery Wings". The other one was Sarah Bernhardt.

In the meantime, I had rescued two more peonies, and since there was no space in the garden, I planted them below the deck, where the first pair of peonies had been previously planted. One of them started flowering the next year; it was probably Bowl of Beauty. The other one was NOID, which started deteriorating; it had only one stem the following year; it was dying.

Moreover, that old-fashioned peony from the original post started deteriorating too, and my concern was that I was going to lose it. The red peony (probably Karl Rosenfield) also started deteriorating.

Finally, in 2020, since was working from home and could not renovate the house because of covid, I turned towards the garden and decided to totally re-landscape the garden. I definitely needed more sun for the herbaceous peonies. They were all rescuees; I gave them the second chance, but they needed more sun to thrive. In the shade, they were slowly losing flowers and getting smaller and smaller. The deck was demolished that summer and the new sunny flower bed was built. That is where I planted five peonies: Mistery Wings, Bowl of Beauty, Sarah Bernhardt, Shirly Temple and that dying NOID.

Here they are this year; they were planted on the terrace in the fall of 2021. It took them a year to pick up some strength and start growing and blooming.
Mystery Wings had only one flower this year:
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/61f732
Sarah Bernhardt also bloomed with big, fat flowers:
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/388557
The old peony was unrecognizable in the sun. The flowers used to be small, but this year, in the sun, the flowers were at least two times bigger.
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/45547e
The dying NOID bloomed for the first time.
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/b6bd10

This fall, I will have to move Blaze to the spot with more sun. Blaze has been deteriorating in the shade, it had only one flower last year, and one flower this year. I will also have to move Karl Rosenfield and a small pink NOID from the front garden. Final conclusion; peonies do need sun.

Here is the Mistery Beauty in my garden (the one that bloomed in full shade). It is still not in full sun in my garden, but it has nice morning sun.
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/aa30c3
When I rescued Mistery Beauty, I had got three roots. I keep one and I gave the other two to my neighbours. The one across the street was planted in full sun, and as you could see, it is two times bigger than mine. Yeah, herbaceous peonies need lots of sun Shrug!
Thumb of 2022-07-29/Jasmin/523480
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
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Jul 29, 2022 7:05 PM CST

Jasmin said: Janyss, where did you find that old post of mine? It is probably from 2016.


It was bumped up by another member. Glad she did. I found it a very eye-opening thread in regards to peonies. Likewise with your most recent post. My takeaway is that peonies need need, but they can bloom in the amount of sun I have right now. So, that leaves me wonder why mine aren't - at least to start with as yours did.
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Jul 30, 2022 9:04 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Annuals Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Dog Lover Daylilies Bee Lover Birds
I think your solution will have to be found locally, Janyss471. Most of us have never dealt with zone 3 growing, things that will work with no problem in my zone 8a garden with really hot summers wouldn't work for you at all. Are you on FaceBook? I'm on mainly for all of the wonderful gardening groups! If I were you I'd ask this question on a local gardening group, might be able to come up with something those of us in the lower 48 would never think of.
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