White Peony Varieties: Planting White Peonies In The Garden
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By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
A staple of many country gardens, peonies are showy perennial flowers, with an exceptional lifespan. Each spring, large bushes reward gardeners in USDA zones 3-8 with a profusion of intricate blooms. Though available in a wide range of colors, the addition of peonies that are white can add an elegant and sophisticated element to landscapes and cut flower gardens.
Planting White Peonies
The process of planting white peonies is very similar to that of planting other peony varieties. Though plants are often available through local nurseries or home improvement stores, more rare or unique white peony varieties can be purchased online as “bare roots.” Not only is purchasing bare roots sometimes cheaper, but it also affords gardeners with greater selection.
Ideally, both bare roots and potted peonies should be planted in the fall, several weeks before the first frost. Planting can also occur in early spring. However, spring planted peony bushes may take additional time to become established.
To plant, simply work soil in a well-amended location. Ensure that the planting site receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day and drains well. Transplant potted plants to the depth of the container. Bare roots should be planted with the growing “eyes” facing up, and no more than 2 inches (5 cm.) below the soil. This guideline is especially important to follow, as peonies that are planted too deeply may not bloom. Ensure to plant only varieties which are suited to your growing zone, as a winter chill is required for these perennials to flower.
Herbaceous peonies will begin growth in the spring, when leaves will emerge from the soil. Depending upon the size and age of the plant, blooms may appear after planting or take several years to become established. Once established, growers can expect beautiful blooms for upward of 50-100 years.
Peony plants require minimal maintenance, and rarely have issues with pests. Commonly, ants are found on the large nectar-rich flower buds. While the ants can be washed away with water, they do not seem to damage the plants.
These bushy blooms may also require staking or the use of a cage, as their weight can cause plants to droop, especially when wet. To maintain the plants each season, cut back foliage within 3 inches (8 cm.) of the ground when leaves begin to turn yellow, or after the first fall frost.
White Peony Plants
The following list includes popular garden peonies that are white:
- Festiva Maxima
- Duchesse De Nemours
- Bowl of Cream
- Bride’s Dream
- Ann Cousins
- White Towers
- Nick Shaylor
- Charlie’s White
- Baroness Schroeder
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Paeonia lactiflora. Photo by: PaylessImages / 123RF.
There are garden-worthy peony varieties for Zones 2 to 8.
There are three types of peonies: herbaceous (bush), tree and Itoh (intersectional). Compare them in detail here: Types of Peonies.
Herbaceous and Itoh varieties grow 1 to 3 feet tall, with a similar spread, while a mature tree peony can reach 4 to 7 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.
Most peony plants are sun-lovers. However, tree peonies prefer light shade during the heat of midday, which encourages the blossoms to last 10 to 14 days, rather than fading quickly (two to three days) in full sun. In China, parasols are enlisted to protect the delicate flowers from sun.
In most locations, flowers will bloom in April, May or June. Expect tree peonies to bloom first (around Mother’s Day), followed by herbaceous varieties (around Memorial Day) and then the intersectionals. Include all three types in the garden to enjoy blooms for up to seven weeks.
Colors range from white, pink and red to coral, maroon and yellow. Many peony flowers change color as they open, so make sure to check them daily to appreciate these differences.
Many peony flowers are fragrant. Scents can differ—some are scented sweetly, some have enticing citrus smells, and some are described as slightly spicy.
Pests and diseases:
Fortunately, they are deer and rabbit resistant. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to botrytis blight, a fungus that can cause young shoots to rot, unsightly spots on leaves, and prevent flower buds from developing. Good air circulation around your plants will help prevent fungal diseases. Learn more about issues that can arise in the Missouri Botanical Garden's guide to peony problems.
How tall are Paeonia officinalis?
The garden Peony typically reaches about 70 cm (just over two feet) in height, with a similar spread.
How do you Care for Paeonia officinalis?
Ensure that soil remains moist, stake in windy areas, deadhead after flowering (or let seed set as pods are attractive), cut back leaves after the first frost of autumn.
How do you Propagate and Grow from Seed?
Divide tubers after 4 or 5 years, bury eye upwards at a depth of about 5 cm (2 inches).
When to Plant Paeonia officinalis? When do they Bloom?
Bury tubers in autumn. This perennial should flower in late spring every year.
Do peonies like sun or shade?
They do well in both sunny and partially shaded parts of the garden. They look particularly attractive when grown beneath small bushy plants such as roses.
How long does it take Peony plants to bloom?
Paeonies will seldom bloom in their first year after plants, typically the odd flower may appear in the second year, and they will bloom properly in their third year.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Paeonia officinalis. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to Grow Hyacinth and Hibiscus plants.