65.6 F
Naperville
Monday, March 4, 2024

Naperville Gardener – Fall care for peonies

-

The most common peony is “Paeonia Lactiflora,” a non-woody herbaceous perennial. Peonies are among the longest living, most reliable and unbelievably gorgeous flowering plants. One of my favorites in my gardens is “Sarah Bernhardt” who blooms lavishly every year.

To be sure to have healthy peonies next year, note some important tasks that must be done. Cut back the stems in late fall almost to the ground after the first frost turns the foliage yellow. It is essential that you disinfect your clippers/pruners before, during and after you are doing this chore. I use a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and spray my clippers every few cuts. The removed stems and leaves must be discarded. Don’t add to your compost.

Peonies are susceptible to botrytis blight, the gray fuzz that appears on infected plants. There are commercial fungicides, but I like a homemade remedy. Add one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of liquid dish soap (use one without dyes or fragrance) and one tablespoon of oil (vegetable or horticultural) to a gallon of water. I use a watering can to soak all of the leaves, but if you have a sprayer that would be even better. I try to be proactive combating this problem by starting a weekly spraying regimen each spring when the new buds appear and it works quite well. After fall cleanup, being sure to remove all the fallen leaves and stems, I water the little stubs with this concoction.

- Advertisement -

The last step is to put about two inches of aged compost on top and wish your peony a good winter’s nap. You can find compost in most landscape sections of big box stores, but there is a wonderful garden compost product at my favorite garden center, The Growing Place, that I have recently discovered. Well, not really discovered. I “learned” about it as I was asking for gardening advice from an employee. You may need to gently brush the compost to the side when the new stems emerge in the spring. No mulch should touch the stems, so keep that in mind when you add mulch to your gardens.

Fall is a wonderful time to add a peony or two to your home landscape. You’ll be glad you did when they bloom next spring.

Stay Connected!

Get the latest local headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
- Advertisement -
Marilyn Krueger
Marilyn Kruegerhttp://www.napervillegardenclub.org
Marilyn Krueger is an avid local gardener and member of the Naperville Garden Club.

LATEST NEWS

DON’T MISS OUT!
GET THE DAILY
SQUARE-SCOOP
The latest local headlines delivered
to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
close-link

Stay Connected!

Get the latest local headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
close-link