Peonies forum: Planting milkweed around new peonies

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Nov 6, 2016 7:07 AM CST
Hi everyone,

I've planted my very first peony roots and am hopeful I did a decent enough job that I'll have growth in the spring. I've left a lot of room around the roots because I've heard that peonies don't like their roots to compete with others. I've actually got about 3' by almost 3' bare around each one.

I have very limited space and I really want to plant some milkweed for butterflies--the few monarchs I've seen around here are usually pretty beaten up and look a little desperate. I'm wondering how my peonies would do with milkweed planted around their small plots, at least until they've established themselves? I'm thinking of planting around the perimeter maybe, leaving the immediate circle around the roots clean of all other plants. Would this work? And if I do it, how much area should I leave clear for the peonies to be able to thrive?

Thoughts?
AKA Joey.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Nov 6, 2016 8:33 PM CST
I think that would be a great idea.
I don't think that milkweed is a heavy feeder, so I don't think it would hurt the peonies. Personally , I like diverse plantings, and I have a bad habit when I see patches of bare dirt: I just must toss some wildflower seeds on any bare dirt! That is just me-we will see what more experienced peony growers say.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 6, 2016 9:34 PM CST
I think the only thing you'd have to watch for is self seeding from the milkweed. As long as you pull out any that could potentially interfere with the peony roots it'd be fine. I have milkweed growing behind a few of mine; it seems fairly well behaved.
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Nov 6, 2016 9:52 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:I think the only thing you'd have to watch for is self seeding from the milkweed. As long as you pull out any that could potentially interfere with the peony roots it'd be fine. I have milkweed growing behind a few of mine; it seems fairly well behaved.


Thanks Liz. How far away from the base of the peony should I keep the milkweed?
AKA Joey.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Nov 7, 2016 10:01 PM CST
The roots can go out quite far, I try to keep a 3-4' circle cleared of weeds and other self-seeders around each peony. My big offender is Rocky Mountain Penstemon--winter sowed it one year now it's all over. It's a good thing I really like it and it looks so pretty in vases with the peonies 'cause that stuff grows like weeds. The milkweed I have is amazingly well behaved in contrast.
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Nov 7, 2016 10:06 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:The roots can go out quite far, I try to keep a 3-4' circle cleared of weeds and other self-seeders around each peony. My big offender is Rocky Mountain Penstemon--winter sowed it one year now it's all over. It's a good thing I really like it and it looks so pretty in vases with the peonies 'cause that stuff grows like weeds. The milkweed I have is amazingly well behaved in contrast.


Hmmmm, okay, I'll give it a try. I can always pull it up if it seems to interfere (and apologize to it as I do.... *Blush* )
AKA Joey.

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