There are few trees in the garden that are as fascinating as the Chinese tree peony. Unlike so-called farmer peonies and the slightly larger Japanese Itoh hybridsTree peonies, which belong to the perennials and form new, fresh shoots from below, year after year. In late autumn, after the first frosts, they shed their leaves. What remains are gnarled, bizarre branches. Some gardeners claim that light winter protection is sometimes advisable, according to the specialist literature. So far, no real winter protection has been necessary here in Franconia. At most, you can shade young plants with pine green in winter so that they do not sprout too early. In my experience, more protection doesn’t really have to be. We already had temperatures as low as minus 24 degrees. In April the first leaves sprout again and that alone is a delightful sight in the garden. Because next to the late tulips that bloom at the same time, the young shoots of the tree peony look like branches of a bonsai.
The Chinese tree peony is a picturesque growing wood for small gardens
The Chinese tree peony grows very slowly and it can easily take three to five years for it to bloom for the first time. When it finally blooms, it’s a floral spectacle, if only because of the size of the flowers. Some varieties resemble the flowers of the herbaceous peony. Other tree peonies have plate-sized, weakly double flowers and have a stunning smell.
Over the years my tree peonies, originally 30 centimeters in size, grew into sturdy, compact trees two meters square. The gigantic flowers sit all around and dominate this part of the garden for a few days. So it is advisable to plant tree peonies near the terrace, definitely in places that you have in sight every day.
How to care for the Chinese tree peony
After the short flowering, I cut off what has withered, this is not mandatory, but it looks nicer and the plant does not waste itself through seed formation. A fertilizer (no compost!) In early spring ensures strength and healthy growth. In addition, caring for the tree peony in the garden is very easy. Only water the wood thoroughly once if it is extremely dry and persistent, but only then. The tree peony is apparently completely spared from vermin. To prevent fungal infestation, the tree peony should stand „free in the wind“ and not be planted under with ground cover. You should also avoid compost because of the risk of fungus.
The right location and soil for healthy tree peonies
Chinese tree peonies love a well-drained, often sandy or emaciated soil and a location in full sun. They also like to stand on a plant mound specially created for them. Work the root area very carefully and by hand so as not to damage the flat roots. It is astonishing that hardly anything grows under a tree peony. I suspect that the tree peony holds it like the walnut and uses hormones to drive off annoying food competitors at its feet.
Plant tree peonies in early spring or autumn, both are possible. Since the plants, which you usually get in well-stocked perennial nurseries or directly from the grower, are still very small and with a single shoot, you should mark them with crossed bamboo sticks at the beginning so as not to accidentally step on them when working in the bed. This is especially true for planting in autumn. In the course of the first year of standing, however, Chinese tree peonies usually develop so well that no further protective measures are necessary.
Unfortunately, tree peonies only last a very short time in the vase
The Chinese tree peony is unfortunately not very suitable as a cut flower. After just two or three days, the flowers hang their heads. For the photo studio, however, I can’t avoid cutting some flowers with their 30 centimeter short stems: However, these are always flowers that point towards the wall or the neighbor. This year’s yield is impressive. In the flower picture gallery and in the photo wallpaper designer there are now some new beautiful flower pictures with red and yellow tree peonies. It’s just a shame that you can’t preserve this beguiling scent as well as the beauty of the flowers in a flower picture.
More flower pictures with peonies in many variations