Peonies forum: Shaded peony?

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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
Aug 25, 2017 8:46 AM CST
Hi all,

I love gardening for pollinators even though I have very limited garden space. I planted three bare-root peonies last fall, and though two are only about a foot tall and produced no flowers, they've otherwise been doing well. But over the last weeks, the cosmos, dill and a few other things I planted around those peonies have grown to the point that the peonies were in complete shade throughout the day.

I say "were" because I've trimmed them back to allow the sun in. But one is still in dappled shade for about 1/2 day and I'm loathe to trim back the other plants more than I already have.

My question to you all is, will my partially-shaded peony be okay next year if it spends 1/2 days in the shade now? I plan to make sure nothing blocks out the sun next year, but my concern is what the shade will do to this plant now.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Aug 25, 2017 9:54 AM CST
I have some peonies that are in fairly deep shade. They throw a bloom or two every year and look nice, so I wouldn't worry about yours unless it is a very expensive peony.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 10:39 AM CST
Mieko2 said:I have some peonies that are in fairly deep shade. They throw a bloom or two every year and look nice, so I wouldn't worry about yours unless it is a very expensive peony.


Thank You! What's very expensive?

I actually don't remember what I paid for these, but they are dear to me regardless. Actually, one is a win from the NARR! But it's as important to me as the others.
AKA Joey.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Aug 25, 2017 12:28 PM CST
Lol! I guess I should have used valuable. 😉
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 12:36 PM CST
Mieko2 said:Lol! I guess I should have used valuable. 😉


Oh, no! I understood what you meant! LOL, they are, after all, ALL valuable!

Just wondering what price would be considered expensive? The local box store has them for a few dollars each, but usually in spring. But a more common price would be, what, $15 for a bareroot?

But then, I've seen potted peonies for $50 - $75 each. No doubt, that's expensive! nodding
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
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 25, 2017 9:13 PM CST
Having them in more shade now (mid-late summer) is no big deal, Joanna. When they're actively growing in the spring you probably want them in more full sun. I'd just make sure those things aren't self seeding in your peony's grow space.

As for what's expensive it really depends on your perspective, garden plan and budget. You can get a Sarah Bernhardt root from a big box store for a couple of bucks and it'll probably grow and give flowers in 3-4 years. You can buy a bigger, fresher root of the same from one of the big growers from online for somewhere around $18-25 and it'll probably bloom 1st spring after planting in the fall. The root from the big box store could easily (speaking from experience) not be the correct type and, while all peonies are pretty, if you really wanted that Sarah you'll have to start over and buy another root. Most of the big on-line sellers will send a true to variety root or will replace it for free if they make a mistake and you'll probably know that first spring. That larger, fresher root will probably be big enough to divide by the time the smaller root starts producing flowers and you could easily trade divisions for different varieties to grow your collection. And then you're addicted and start spending the $100 plus to get your favorite hybridizer's most recently released roots.....
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 9:34 PM CST
LOL Liz, that addiction would be a lot more expensive for me! I'd have to buy a new house with some land first!

Thanks for all the info. Yes, self seeding is how all those plants got there in the first place. And my little garden area is so full of bumble bees that I just don't want to remove anything I don't absolutely have to.

One of the four peonies I planted, Bowl of Beauty, did put out one flower this spring (they were all planted last fall). Below is a picture of Garden Treasure after I cut away some of the wildflowers. It looks okay, doesn't it?



Thumb of 2017-08-26/joannakat/6c4e98

Thumb of 2017-08-26/joannakat/3ff55a



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
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 25, 2017 11:25 PM CST
It looks healthy to me. I think as long as you keep the self seeders from taking over within the circle of the peony's foliage it'll be fine. Just watch to make sure the edging around it doesn't cause too much water to stand over the root during rains/snows, looks like the BoB is slightly elevated from the rest of the garden, if they're all like that I'd think they're good.
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 26, 2017 7:33 AM CST
LizinElizabeth said:It looks healthy to me. I think as long as you keep the self seeders from taking over within the circle of the peony's foliage it'll be fine. Just watch to make sure the edging around it doesn't cause too much water to stand over the root during rains/snows, looks like the BoB is slightly elevated from the rest of the garden, if they're all like that I'd think they're good.


BoB? Sorry, I'm so new to this. Still so many terms and other things I don't yet know.

Yes, they're all like this. Water doesn't stand anywhere so we're good on that one.
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
Aug 26, 2017 7:44 AM CST
Growing peonies in shaded areas means fewer flowers and smaller plants . They experience slower growth than if they are planted in full sun . I am going to dig up one that has been there for 30 years, but which has dwindled as the shrubs have grown.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Aug 26, 2017 8:08 AM CST
CarolineScott said:Growing peonies in shaded areas means fewer flowers and smaller plants . They experience slower growth than if they are planted in full sun . I am going to dig up one that has been there for 30 years, but which has dwindled as the shrubs have grown.


Thanks Caroline. They're actually in a full sun area and get full sun most of the time. It's just now, the end of summer into fall, when the self-seeded wildflowers have grown tall that they're shaded. By spring, they'll be in full sun again, and I'll make sure things don't grow around them again. I just can't bring myself to cut the wildflowers away because there's so much activity there! Most especially bumble bees, who I love.
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
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 26, 2017 8:26 AM CST
Sorry Joanna, just using BoB as an acronym for Bowl of Beauty. Shouldn't have done it that way since I hadn't used it spelled out in my response and it was just mentioned as a side comment in one of your posts.

Good luck digging that 30 year old root out, Caroline! My largest has probably been in place just 7 or 8 years but I'm dreading the work....
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Image
joannakat
Aug 26, 2017 8:50 AM CST
LizinElizabeth said:Sorry Joanna, just using BoB as an acronym for Bowl of Beauty. Shouldn't have done it that way since I hadn't used it spelled out in my response and it was just mentioned as a side comment in one of your posts.

Good luck digging that 30 year old root out, Caroline! My largest has probably been in place just 7 or 8 years but I'm dreading the work....


Oh! D'Oh! No apology necessary Liz, I should have known! Thumbs up
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
Aug 27, 2017 7:39 AM CST
It might be less arduous to just cut back my shrubs !
I shall see which a lazy gma can accomplish.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 27, 2017 5:26 PM CST
It is a stretch to make empirical statements about other environments but, in the middle of the country where I am, I found peonies like to be dug and divided every 5 or 6 years. They seem to thrive when moved to new soil. I suspect it is from their consumption of the micro nutrients in the soil which fertilizer just cannot replace. Here in farm country, crops are rotated from corn to wheat to beans and repeated. Helps to reduce diseases also,
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Oct 7, 2017 6:10 PM CST
I'm mostly unsuccessful with peonies here in AZ. Most fall into two categories. 1) The ones that are planted in full sun and would rather have quite a bit of shade. 2) The ones that have quite a bit of shade and don't bloom because of it.

Two Scarlet O Hara peonies are an exception to that rule. They seem to be very happy and bloom their heads off for a full three days each May. Hurray! Showy but short-lived blooms.

Thumb of 2017-10-08/Steve812/a45798

I realize that I am at the southern edge of their range. In response to my general lack of success... I've purchased a few more.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Oct 7, 2017 7:15 PM CST
Steve, That's great that Scarlet O'Hara is such a nice exception! I planted this variety and hope it will please me one day.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Oct 8, 2017 10:49 AM CST
I have the same hope. Good Luck, Anya!
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Oct 10, 2017 11:35 AM CST
Anya, Scarlett O'Hara blooms like crazy here out in the ABG bed. Surrounded by all sorts of other plants, some even taller, but by the time the others get their height SO is through blooming. Still gets plenty of sun though to build its roots.

Jerry, I was reading in one of my peony books that they recommend never planting a peony in ground that has had a peony before. Like you said, it deplete the micro nutrients. But I thought that azomite would help replace them. Not fertilizer, but minerals that peonies need long term. I dug up a peony in one bed as it as a noid and I wanted to put one of my new named peonies there. Now I am not sure what to do.

I was pleased to see pips on all three of the Garden Treasure that I divided. I am so frightened of dividing as it looks like such a tangled mess and it is so difficult to avoid breaking roots in the process of sawing (yes, I used a saw) the roots apart.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 10, 2017 12:01 PM CST
I think it would be acceptable to dig the hole much larger than normal and refill it with new, enriched soil. That is, 2 feet or more in diameter and 2 feet or more in depth. The roots normally would not expand farther than that size.

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