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A Flower Fit for Kings

Mar 6, 2008
Peony Characteristics

Peonies are one of the most beautiful, resilient, low-maintenance and fragrant perennials in the world. From Asia to Europe to North America, gardeners, photographers and even kings have treasured these ornamental flowers.

In China, the peony is known as the "flower of riches and honor" denoting the beauty and value of its blossoms. The Qing Dynasty even fancied the peony so much, that they declared it China's national flower in 1903.

The shade of its petals can be pink, rose, maroon, red, yellow or white and the blossoms can be several inches in diameter. In addition to their lovely appearance, many peonies are also quite fragrant making them a wonderful addition to home-made bouquets. Even the thick, green foliage that grows around its flowers is a beautiful.

Whether you have a green thumb or a touch that withers flowers, peonies are the plant for you because they are easy to cultivate with a hearty constitution that helps them do well even in cold weather climates. Most peonies grow to be 0.5 - 1.5 meters tall, but some can grow as high as 3 meters tall. They make wonderful backdrops for smaller perennial flowers, beautiful borders and attractive privacy screens.

How to Cultivate your Peonies

Although peonies require little attention after they get going to thrive in your garden, there are a few tips every gardener should know if they choose to cultivate these royal blossoms.

When planting peonies, be careful not to put the eyes of the root too deep in the soil. Two inches down should be sufficient. Any deeper and your peony may not be able to bloom. Peonies can grow to a very mature size so it is wise to plant them two or three feet apart from one another. Find a plot that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight a day because peonies need this much sunlight in order to develop the strong stems that support their giant blossoms.

Peonies don't handle transplantation very well so the spot you chose should be a permanent home for these flowers. They may fail to blossom for a few years if you try to move them around the garden.

Until the first flowers appear, take care to water your peonies well. From then on, the plant will be able to take care of itself and you can enjoy years of beautiful blossoms with very little additional effort on your part.
About the Author
Art Gib writes for the Perennial Place (http://www.perennialplace.com), a premier perennial supplier with a large selection of the most popular peonies.
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