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Perennials/Peonies

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Question
I planted a peony tuber last fall but it has never emerged out of the ground. What do you think could be wrong please and is there anything I can do to rectify it?

Answer
Hi Patty,
Thanx for your question.  It sounds to me like the rhizome rotted and died.  Peonies do not do well in the Deep South.  Peonies need a cold winter.  Growth begins to die back in late summer and is all but gone by winter.  The rhizome has stored energy from the sun during the summer and requires a cold, resting period in order to rejuvenite and provide for next year's growth and bloom.  Some people suggest planting the rhizome in a shallow manner (just an inch or two from the top of the soil.).  

For better results try these varieties:

‘America’ large fiery-red flowers with golden center tuft.
‘Blaze’ early single-petaled red with a sunny yellow center.
‘Bride’s Dream’ creamy white with soft yellow center
‘Coral Charm’ deep coral buds that soften to coral-peach when open
‘Festiva Maxima’ large, early, white double flowers with crimson flecks.
‘Kansas’ large, early double flowers of watermelon red
‘Miss America’ snow white petals that open to a full early semi-double flower
‘Paula Fay’ glowing pink, early semi-double with waxy, textured petals.

To grow peonies in zones 8B and warmer is going to be next to be very difficult because the winters are simply too warm.  Zone 8 is about the limit for growing peonies.  As I said above, look for cultivars that will grow in warmer climates.

I hope this helps.
Tom

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Tom Alonzo

Expertise

I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.

Experience

I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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