Features of growing grassy peonies
Part 1. Grassy peonies - favorites for all time
Part 2. Features of the cultivation of grassy peonies
Grassy peonies of even the best varieties are one of the most unpretentious and persistent flowering perennials. Their cultivation is possible even for inexperienced gardeners, and the requirements for growing peonies are quite modest.
The content of the second part:
- Conditions required for grassy peonies
- Planting grassy peonies
- Humidity and watering requirements
- Rejuvenation, trimming and tying bushes
- Feeding for grassy peonies
- Wintering of grassy peonies
- Pest and Disease Control
- Propagation of grassy peonies
Conditions required for grassy peonies
The main thing you should pay attention to when choosing a place for planting a grassy peony is a sufficient amount of light. All grassy peonies are sun-loving plants, but able to come to terms with a slight shade at noon. Insufficient lighting affects the quantity and quality of flowers, so grassy peonies are best placed in well-lit places. In the shade, these perennials do not bloom at all, but the attractiveness of the bush is always maintained.
Grassy peonies love sheltered and warm places. New varieties have increased shoot resistance, do not lie under the weight of inflorescences, but even they should be placed on sites protected from active drafts. It is worth remembering that, like roses, peonies need to provide free air circulation around the bushes. Peonies are placed away from large plants, buildings, objects of small architecture - so that the plants grow and breathe freely.
The soil for peonies is best selected from among the fertile and well-developed substrates. Loams are best suited for these perennials - loose, fertile, fresh (or at least not too dry). Grassy peonies prefer a slightly alkaline or neutral reaction (the optimum pH is from 6 to 6.5).
Plants can come to terms with slightly acidic, but not extremely acidic soil, the reaction of which can be adjusted in advance by adding lime. Peonies cannot tolerate dampness, they will not be suitable for areas with a high occurrence of groundwater, lowlands, places where there is a risk of stagnation of water in the spring. Compacted soils for this perennial will not work.
Planting grassy peonies
Preliminary soil preparation is carried out a few weeks or a month before planting seedlings. On high-quality fertile soil for peonies, digging is rather deep and organic fertilizers are applied to the soil (plants are not liked by manure, so compost or leaf humus is added to the soil). But usually the soil for planting peonies needs to be qualitatively improved.
There are many options for the preparation of earth mixtures, each of which provides peonies with a sufficient level of nutrition and the “correct” soil texture:
- The soil removed from the planting pits is mixed in equal proportions with compost, peat and sand, supplementing them with a standard portion of full mineral or phosphorus-potassium fertilizers recommended by the manufacturer, a handful of wood ash. If necessary, adjust the texture of the soil with clay or sand additives.
- Planting pits are filled with different soil mixtures: at half or two-thirds of the height, a mixture of garden soil with sand, peat, humus, taken in equal quantities is poured into the planting pit, adding double superphosphate to them to increase nutrition (200-250 g, you can replace with twice as much the amount of bone meal), iron sulfate (enough a tablespoon per planting hole), wood ash (a few handfuls or 3-4 cups) and potassium carbonate (half a tablespoon). To the top, the planting pit is filled with ordinary garden soil without impurities.
- A planting pit is filled over the drainage with a layer of compost, humus and a double portion of mineral fertilizers with a length of 20-30 cm, and for planting and filling the planting pits, ordinary soil is used, to which organic fertilizers are added.
Given the size of the rhizome and the dislike of the plant for root injuries, planting pits for grassy peonies dig as well as for planting large tree and shrubs - about 60-70 cm in width and depth. On moist soils or in places where there is a risk of stagnation of water, a high layer of large drainage (at least 20 cm) is laid at the bottom of the planting pits.
Planting pits are filled with selected mixtures, allowing them to compact and settle before planting. If the preliminary preparation was not carried out on time, then when filling the landing pits, it is necessary to spill and tamp the layers in order to avoid soil shrinkage during planting.
Planting periods for peonies are limited due to a rather early period of flowering and the dying off of aboveground parts in the winter. Plants are replanted only after flowering and ripening of the buds of renewal and fruit, in the early autumn (first and second decades of September) or at the end of August.
The landing distance for grassy peonies is not less than 1 m. Only this distance allows the bushes to freely develop and not bend, to form them thick, elegant and symmetrical.
Peonies do not like transplants, so caution, careful handling of the roots when planting new bushes is the key to their health and longevity. Plants are mounted on a sand cushion so that after shrinkage of the soil it is slightly deepened, focusing on the buds: they should be located 3-5 cm below the ground. A stronger deepening will lead to both a lack of flowering and plant health problems, and a higher planting will increase the risk of freezing.
Typically, plants are planted at a level of the soil or slightly higher, which, after filling the pits with soil, watering and shrinkage, allows you to get the desired depth. When planting, the soil is carefully added and manually compacted so that there are no voids between the roots.
Peonies are planted with traditional abundant watering. With the onset of resistant frosts, plants necessarily mulch for the winter.
Humidity and watering requirements
Grassy peonies are quite stable and unpretentious, require minimal watering during the flowering period.
In fact, there are only two mandatory watering:
- in late June, watering allows peonies to form high-quality renewal buds;
- at the end of August, watering stimulates the growth of strong subordinate roots.
But if possible, you can not be limited to only two waterings. Watering at the stage of budding and flowering, as well as during the period of active growth of leaves, allows you to get more impressive and lush flowering bushes. Watering is carried out only during droughts, compensating for the insufficient level of natural precipitation.
The plant does not tolerate waterlogging, stagnation of water, therefore, one maintenance watering per week is enough. After flowering, peonies can not be watered, but these additional procedures allow you to keep attractive greens longer. The main thing is not to overdo it.
When carrying out any irrigation for grassy peonies, it is important to make sure that the soil is wetted to the full depth of the roots. Usually for each bush it is necessary to use not standard 10 liters, but 2-3 buckets of water. Peonies are watered only in the evening, on days with a high night temperature, not cold water. Watering can be simplified by additionally laying communications for “spot” watering under the root or by creating watering holes.
Rejuvenation, trimming and tying bushes
Grassy peonies are durable, can please for decades, but due to thickening and growth, the quality of their flowering worsens with age, as a rule, it begins to suffer on bushes older than 7-10 years. Bushes of varietal grassy peonies are best divided regularly, with a frequency of 1 time in 5-8 years. Separation of bushes is carried out only in late summer or early autumn.
Varieties of peonies with unstable shoots, as well as bushes growing in open areas, with the beginning of flowering under the weight of heads without timely garter, quickly fall apart, lose their attractiveness. Luxurious flowers lying on the ground - a sight not one of the most pleasant. Therefore, at the beginning of the growth of peduncles and at the stage of budding, peonies are tied so as not to allow the branches to bend, bend, break.
There are special supports on the bush for sale, but peonies can be tied to simple pegs installed around the perimeter of the bush, wrapping the bush around the bush with soft twine or cords at the stage of budding and raising the circle as the flowers bloom and flower stalks grow.
The removal of flowers from peonies is carried out differently, depending on whether the flowers are cut into bouquets or left on a bush to reveal full decorativeness:
- The branches are cut into bouquets before they bloom, after coloring the outer petals in the color characteristic of the variety - in simple and semi-double varieties, or after opening, bending the lower petals - in thick-terry varieties. Any grassy peony can remove no more than half of all flowers, because pruning all the shoots leads to disruption of the process of laying renewable buds. Cut flowers with legs up to 40 cm long, be sure to leave a shoot with 2-3 leaves in the bush. Peonies are cut in the early morning, only on fine days, immediately putting flowers in the water and cool. For bouquets, the slices are updated under water.
- To obtain larger and better flowers, side buds can be removed, leaving only the central one on each shoot.
- Fading flowers are cut after the start of the dropping of the petals. It is impossible to leave withered flowers on the bush, since this greatly increases the risk of the spread of diseases and infection of the plant. If you want to let the seeds ripen, then 1-2 flowers from the first are left on the bush, removing the rest. Cutting off faded peduncles is carried out not to the base, but leaving the leafy part of the shoots to form buds.
- On new peony bushes, the first two years after planting, it is not advisable to allow flowering to form powerful rhizomes and strong regeneration buds.
Pre-winter pruning of peonies is a mandatory measure. But you should not carry it out too soon. Pruning of peony bushes should be postponed until the onset of stable frost. In plants, all aerial parts are removed, leaving hemp 3-4 cm above the buds of renewal, almost at the level of the soil. All cut off parts of grassy peonies are burned without leaving the plot and not using for composting. It is advisable to sprinkle the remains of the bush with wood ash to prevent the spread of diseases.
Feeding for grassy peonies
In order for a plant to please with a large number of flowers, to fully display its varietal properties, it is necessary to regularly replenish the level of nutrients in the soil. Grassy peonies are fed according to the standard method for all flowering plants, adding three top dressings per season:
- At the beginning of active growth. For the first feeding, it is preferable to use nitrogen fertilizers to stimulate the rapid growth of shoots and leaves.
- At the budding stage. For the second top dressing, full mineral fertilizers are used in a standard amount.
- At the peak of flowering. This top dressing can be replaced by two procedures - at the beginning of the blooming of the first flowers and at the end of flowering. For these top dressings, it is preferable to use phosphorus-potassium fertilizers.
If grassy peonies are grown for cultivation or varieties with unknown winter hardiness are grown, then instead of classical top dressing, you can top dress at the beginning of growth with nitrogen or full fertilizers, in June with organic or full mineral fertilizers and in September with potassium and phosphate fertilizers.
The beauty of inflorescences and the general condition of plants are beneficially affected by spraying with growth regulators and foliar top dressing. Such procedures are carried out only in the summer and not more than 1 time per month. Young plants react especially well to foliar top dressing.
In addition to the basic care procedures, a few more agricultural techniques should be included in the program for caring for grassy peonies:
- mulching the soil, with the obligatory renewal of the mulch layer in spring (it is advisable to use organic fertilizers or a mixture of earth and organics with a layer of up to 10 cm);
- weeding; regular weed removal;
- loosening the soil to maintain its water permeability, which is desirable to carry out after each irrigation or heavy rainfall.
Wintering of grassy peonies
Despite the fact that garden peonies are considered winter-hardy plants, one should not forget that their regeneration buds are high and not protected by a sufficient layer of soil. Peonies winter well only under snow, so it’s better to take timely measures and create a light shelter that guarantees a successful wintering even in snowless periods.
For peonies, they are very dangerous for heating, so they do not use leaves or straw for shelter. It is best to create a thick layer of peat or compost mulch over the bushes trimmed for the winter (minimum - 5-7 cm). But such a shelter is considered mandatory only for young and varietal peonies, the acclimatization of which (in the past) is unknown. Plants purchased in local nurseries in adulthood can not be covered at all.
In the spring, you should not hurry to remove the mulch layer: the shelter is removed only after the appearance of reddish sprouts and the beginning of the development of shoots. The removal of the shelter should be carried out carefully, because young shoots are very fragile. After removing the shelter, the soil around the bush must be loosened.
Pest and Disease Control
Gray rot is especially common on grassy peonies, which is considered the main cause of the loss of these herbaceous perennials. The slightest deviation in soil characteristics towards compaction, acid reaction or excess nitrogen sharply increase the risk of damage to the bushes. But besides gray rot, grassy peonies are not uncommonly common diseases of garden plants - from spotting to stem and root rot, powdery mildew and even rust.
For unstable varieties of grassy peonies, the most reliable way to avoid problems is timely and regular prevention. Enough annual treatment with a solution of copper sulfate (from rust - with a sprightly mixture, from powdery mildew with colloidal sulfur) or systemic fungicide to protect plants from infection. Fighting on infected bushes is a long and not always successful process. To cope with this problem, systemic treatments with fungicides and preventative treatments in early spring in the future are needed.
Pests on grassy peonies are less common. But aphids, ticks and thrips can do no less harm than diseases. Fight insect pests is better with systemic insecticides with the frequency and concentration recommended by the manufacturer.
Propagation of grassy peonies
Like any other peonies, varieties of grassy peonies can be propagated by seed and vegetative methods.
The easiest way to get offspring of grassy peonies, fully preserving all the characteristics of the original plant, with rejuvenation of the bushes and the planned separation. Only those grassy peonies are separated, in which at least 7 full-fledged shoots develop and a full bloom has occurred for several years.
The optimal time for separation coincides with the landing date - from the second half of August to the end of September. Before you start digging, it is worth trimming all the shoots of the plant, leaving not very short, about 15 cm long, stumps on all stems.
The procedure itself is slightly complicated by the fragility of the root system of pions:
- The bushes are dug up very carefully, with a large earthen lump, trying not to damage the young and old roots. It is best to remove the bush, first digging it over a wide radius, and then already - removing a very large earthen lump.
- Depending on the condition of the soil, it is gently shaken off or washed off with a gentle stream of water, exposing the rhizome for inspection. After removing the main soil, the bush is carefully examined and left to dry for several hours.
- The dried bush with a sharp knife or other sharp tool is divided so that at least 2-3 shoots, 3 renewal buds and strong new roots remain in each part (the optimal size of the separated rhizome is about 10-15 cm). Both large and small delenki, like the bushes as a whole, do not take root well and require careful care.
- Each dividend is examined, removing damaged sections of the roots. All sections and breaks on the plant must be treated with ash or special preparations for treating wounds. Before planting, it is better to soak the plants in solutions of fungicides, and then rooting stimulants, but such treatment is not considered mandatory. Soaking is carried out before trimming.
- Planting of deletions of grassy peonies is carried out according to the same rules as the planting of peonies in general. Plants separated at the end of summer take root well and grow actively, but they will bloom only in the second or third year after transplantation (even if the bushes produce flowers in the first or second year, it is better not to allow them to bloom, so that in the third year they will get larger and more plentiful flowers).
Grassy peonies are also propagated in another vegetative way - by root cuttings or by individual stems with buds and roots. Small bushes of rhizome with one sleeping bud at the base of a single shoot are separated from the bushes. This procedure is best done not in the early autumn, but in July, immediately shortening the shoot to 2 to 3 leaves.
Rooted seedlings, like ordinary cuttings on seedling beds (without a cap, but with constant care). In winter, plants are covered with a thick layer of mulch, and then they grow peonies for several years, receiving flowering plants only for the fifth year after rooting.
Seed propagation is a method that is used only in the selection of grassy peonies and is very rarely used in private gardens (as opposed to tree-like counterparts and species plants). But if you want to try your hand at breeding new peonies, then sowing is best done in the winter. Peonies will bloom only in the fourth or fifth year.
The first part of the material: Grassy peonies are favorites of all time