Peonies mix well with roses because most share the same foliage tones of glossy copper-red. Although peonies flower for two weeks on average, their handsome foliage carries them through spring, summer and autumn. Also, they add structure and form to a border and can be planted with later-flowering annuals such as cosmos, or used with penstemons.
- Peonies are long-lived, resilient plants for good soil and sunny positions. They do not enjoy waterlogged soil. Contrary to popular opinion they can be moved. However, if you do move them, it is best to do so in the fall.
- The most common mistake is planting them too deeply. The tuberous roots should be planted 2 in. below the soil surface.
- Containerised plants should be planted so the soil surface in the pot remains level with the ground. Stake in April to prevent blooms from flopping in wet weather. Large plants need sturdy semicircular metal hoops. Peonies like cold winters and generally flower better afterwards.
- Peony wilt can be a problem. It tends to strike in wet summers and the wilted foliage should be removed and destroyed. Generally plants seem to recover the following year.
- Cut down the foliage every autumn and tidy up the plant and to help prevent diseases.