It is not quite surprising that peonies are widely considered one of the best and most popular perennials, given their striking looks, scent, durability, and easy maintenance.
When given the right care and conditions, they can survive anywhere worldwide. Peonies begin their life cycle from the ground every year, and during fall, the whole plant dies back. But what are peony growing stages?
Since peonies take 3 to 4 years to fully mature, they undergo 7 different growth stages, starting from bud swelling, germination, leaf opening, extension, bloom bud enlargement, bud coloring, and flower opening.
Each stage requires proper care to give you the best peony yield possible!
What Are Peonies?
Scientifically known as Paeonia, the peony is one of the genera of about 30 species of flowering plants from the Paeoniaceae family. It is popularly known for producing huge colorful flowers.
Peonies are famous, beautiful, old-fashioned perennials found primarily on flower gardens, and exist from late May to June.
They grow lovely flowers, especially when you cut them. The blooms look large, tender, soft, silky, and colorful.
Peonies are of three different groups: the herbaceous Eurasian peonies, the Asian tree or mountain peonies, and the North American peonies.
The herbaceous peonies are perennials, which can grow as tall as 1 meter (almost 3ft). They are known for producing huge, glossy, and hugely partitioned leaves growing on annual stems that are created by fleshy rootstocks.
During late spring and dawn of summer, they grow huge single and double flowers that come in white, pink, rose, and crimson color.
The nicely scented Chinese peony and the European common peony have produced most of the famous garden peonies so far.
The Chinese peonies, in particular, have produced about hundreds of grown varieties like the Japanese varieties, with a single or two rows of petals hovering around a group of half-formed petals in the middle (petaloid stamens).
Peonies are rarely cultivated from seeds except for breeding programs, as it takes about two years before the seed can germinate. Peonies thrive in slightly moist, well-drained soil.
The potted herbaceous peonies are best planted by digging a hole, removing the plants from the pot, and putting the plant in the hole to enable the top of the root ball to level up with the soil.
Peonies hardly produce flowers in their first year after cultivation. It can take up to three years for it to fully produce huge bountiful flowers.
However, immediately after the peony plant has started producing flowers, you can expect it to produce long-lasting, gorgeous blooms. Peonies hardly require separation!
Different Peony Growing Stages
As we earlier discussed, since peonies can take almost 3 to 4 years to fully mature flowering plants, they need to pass through seven different growth stages.
Meanwhile, the first year of its growth is hinged on root production and germination. If the first year produces flowers, they could be smaller and have different forms and colors from the mature ones.
The following are the seven successive peony growing stages with their developmental activities:
Stage 1: Bud Swelling
The first peony growing stage occurs when the buds swell after there’s an increase in temperature and water absorption. This stage provides the fleshy and bright looks of the outer scales.
After that, it loosens up yet remains folded. At this period, peony regrowth begins after the frost season.
However, the time frame between the period of temperature increase and bud swelling differs with each cultivar. But, the ability of the bud to pass through dormancy to swelling up determines the time it gets to antithesis for each cultivar.
Stage 2: Bud Germination and Shoot Appearance
This is the stage at which the bud scales begin to open, and the shoots start to slowly appear. Meanwhile, the baby leaves will remain folded and tightly jam-packed inside.
After that, the shoots will begin to elongate quickly as the stems and leaves mature.
Stage 3: Leaf Opening
As the stems and leaves continue to grow towards maturity, the petioles begin to elongate, which results in the opening of curved leaflets and the emergence of the flower bud.
Once this stage ends, the stem grows up to ⅔ to ⅘ ft tall, which is accidentally the last height it’ll get to. Several cases during this stage might witness the appearance of early flower abortion.
Stage 4: Leaf Extension
At this stage, the leaves begin to expand outwardly, resulting in their drooping and flat shape. Here, the flower bud also begins to appear on top of the upper leaves.
Stage 5: Bloom Bud Enlargement
The stage sees the bloom buds significant enlargements. This process brings about excrete exudation as the flower stem enlarges over the upper leaves.
Stage 6: Bud Coloring & Maturity
This is the stage that coincides with the opening of the bloom buds. Also, at this stage, the petal color becomes very visible.
Stage 7: Flower Opening
This stage is the final stage of the peony growing stages. It is the period when the petals open up, and the flowers start displaying the significant ornamental features of the cultivars.
Note that the ability of the herbaceous peonies to flower under pressured circumstances differs according to the cultivar and is not based on their blooming ability in ambient growing situations.
What is the Best Condition for Growing Peonies?
As we earlier discussed, peonies are among the best popular perennials. It rates among the top when it comes to the gardeners’ favorites. This is mostly because they grow lovely flowers, especially when you cut them.
They have amazing features like large, tender, soft, silky, and colorful flowers.
However, all the above features and more will be made even more visible with the right conditions.
In other words, if peonies are given the best care conditions possible, they will return the favor by producing the best beautifying, fragrance-rich, and best yield you have ever desired.
If a peony is situated correctly and happy, it could continue to produce flowers for 100 years or above.
Therefore, even though forgotten peonies may somehow survive on their own, it would be best and healthier if you choose the best growing area, prepare the best soil, and adequate nutrient and moist conditions.