Every June I look forward to my peonies blooming. My grandmother had a pink tree peony, so I planted one in my garden. Every year when it blooms I think of her.
To honor Grandma and peonies, I’d like to share thirteen facts I’ve researched.
- Peony flowers can be 10 inches in diameter.
2. When Marco Polo saw peonies in China, he’s said to have described them as, “roses as big as cabbages.”
3. When they open, the huge blossoms can be so heavy that they cause their stems to droop over, so most gardeners use ring-cage supports.
4. If you grow peonies, it’s likely you’ve noticed that ants crawl all over the buds. Gardeners have theorized that peonies need the ants to open. Although scientists might disagree with that, they do note that the buds produce a nectar that attract ants.
5. Gardening websites observe that the ants help the peonies by attacking and/or devouring other insects that could harm the peony and that once the peony blossoms open the number of ants crawling on them decrease. That said one website recommended gently shaking the blooms before bringing them into the house.
6. According to several sources, peonies symbolize happy marriages and good luck in China.
7. Perhaps because this symbolism or perhaps because of their sheer beauty, peonies are popular wedding flowers.
8. Probably the most common color for peonies is pink, but they come in hue except for blue.
9. When I moved into my current home, the peonies under the elms were just green-leaved bushes. After a couple of years of them not blooming, I decided to move them to the sunny rose garden and discovered that even three feet down I hadn’t found the end of their roots. I was surprised, yet if I’d done research at the time, I’d have learned peony roots can be six to eight feet in length.
10. I moved the peonies because I’d learned that they don’t bloom well in the shade.
11. They need full sun to thrive, so it’s important to consider how close they are to developing trees when you plant them.
12. Another surprising fact about peonies is that they can live for hundred years.
13. And once you’ve picked them, their blossoms, usually last about five days.
Peonies are one of my favorite flowers partly because of Grandma and partly because of their huge and lovely blooms. Just when I think I’m growing my favorites, another peony variety catches my eye. Do you like peonies? What’s your favorite color?
English, Micaela. “12 Facts Every Peony Enthusiast Needs to Know.” Town & Country, Town & Country, 7 Oct. 2017, www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/news/g1236/12-peony-facts/.
Noelle, et al. “Flower Garden: Little Known Facts About Peonies.” Birds and Blooms, 13 June 2014, www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/flower-garden-little-known-facts-peonies/.
Paula, et al. “Growing Tips for Peonies.” Birds and Blooms, 24 Nov. 2011, www.birdsandblooms.com/blog/growing-tips-for-peonies/.
“Peony Facts.” Math, www.softschools.com/facts/plants/peony_facts/2152/.