Peonies forum→Do established peonies need watered on the Colorado front range?

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Krw1243
May 29, 2018 7:30 PM CST
I have been looking for a plant to plant alongside an edge of my yard with full sun that has no irrigation/drip. I don't want to have to be watering by hand all the time once the plants are established. I've heard peonies are drought resistant, but can they survive Colorado front range summers based on natural rainfall? Or if not, how frequently would they need to be watered?
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
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Mieko2
May 31, 2018 5:54 PM CST

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@LizinElizabeth

This question is perfect for you!
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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LizinElizabeth
Jun 2, 2018 6:11 AM CST

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Hi Krw1243, welcome to the peony forum! Well established, well performing peonies can survive field conditions in front range CO easily without additional water. They will go dormant earlier than those that are watered during our dry summers/early autumns, though, and won't increase as quickly. Once thet're dormant I don't water them at all and it isn't typically necessary during spring. If they have some shade during the summer they do better, i also mulch with pine straw to help retain moisture—stopped using wood mulch as it compacts too much and was causing rot.
If you're planting in rocks, along pavement or putting it in an area that would get additional heat and stress I wouldn't try it without additional water, even when fully established. By fully established i mean minimum 2 full springs after being fall planted I'd consider not watering them the 3rd year. The watering requirements until they're established aren't too strenuous though, even a gallon or water a week during the hottest, driest part of our summer is sufficient after the first spring.
If you're into gardening groups I'd suggest that you join the Rocky Mountain gardening forum on gardenweb.com. We meet for plant trades twice a year, spring and fall, and occassionally once in the summer as well! I typically bring at least a few peonies to trade and should have extra foxtail lilies for the first time this fall. It's a really friendly group with some very knowledgeable CO gardeners, hope you check us out!
LizB

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