The peony, beauty of spring

It’s one of my favorite times of the year – peony season. :) It’s a downright shame they only bloom for a week or so once a year!

I don’t even know why I picked up our state flower to plant a few years back – I saw them blooming at the nursery and thought they were lovely, but I didn’t fall head over heals until last year when the bigger plant really started producing:

light pink fragrant peony

Now? I’m obsessed. If they bloomed all summer I’d have them everywhere, but for now I stick with hydrangeas. :)

There are a TON of peony varieties – in the thousands really. There’s a great list you can check out here. I’m not even sure of mine, but I am pretty sure this one is the Hermione. The scent is heavy on these – absolutely intoxicating. I’ve never smelled a flower like it.

I have two bushes that haven’t bloomed in years and they finally did so this year – I was surprised to see the hot pink version when they did: hot pink peony

I only got about six blooms between the two but it’s progress! These darker pink flowers didn’t smell as much and they aren't nearly as big as my lighter ones.

The lighter pink blooms fall to the ground because they are so big and heavy. Just simply gorgeous! There are two things peonies need – full sun and a cold winter. They need the cold to create buds, so those of you in the south will probably get a gorgeous green bush and nothing more. :)

You can cut it down anytime after the blooms are gone but I leave it throughout the summer and fall because it’s such a big, lush plant.

Many of you on FB and Instagram (where I shared their progress) mentioned the tiny ants that live inside them. I don’t have too many, never have, and I’m not sure why. But I’ve learned a trick to get rid of little critters on my cut flowers:

getting bugs off of cut flowers

I give them a bath in some soapy, cool water. I went a little heavy on the soap here by accident, you don’t need quite this much. But I let them soak for at least a few minutes:

getting bugs off of cut flowers

Mine were starting to wilt in the heat a bit and then the water makes them look even worse but don’t worry, they’ll bounce back!

Before I put any cut flower in a vase I always cut off any leaves that would be in the water – leaving them can turn the water gross fast. I rinsed the flowers very lightly (they look so delicate but are strong!) and then very lightly tapped them against the side of the sink to get the water out and to puff them back up again.

Within a few minutes after drying they had perked back up and looked better than they had outside!:

cut peonies in pitcher

I love big blooms and I cannot lie. :)

I have six or so in here and it’s crazy full:

how to grow peony plant

These have been going strong for the past few days and I’ve got a few more that were just opening up that I’ll bring in soon.

It’s always an internal struggle for me when they bloom – leave them outside and enjoy them there or bring them in? But of course I end up bringing them in so I can see them all day. :)

If you are in the right zone (the further north the better) these are incredibly easy plants to grow – I do next to nothing every year. The larger one has produced quite a bit the past couple of years, I just hope the other two follow suit soon.

Love them!:

growing peonies

Do you have any tricks for getting the little bugs off of flowers? Do you grow peonies? They are everywhere here in Indiana – so pretty. There are varieties in pink, hot pink, white and coral. They tide me over nicely until my hydrangea start to bloom (any day!).

Have a great weekend my friends!