Yesterday I received an email from a lady in Jeffrey’s Bay in response to one of my previous posts about peonies (Groete, Mev Strydom!). The email reminded me to update the blog on the progress I’ve had, and that my Twitter friend Lallie has had with her peonies in the Cape. We bought the bulbs online from Hadeco & they arrived in June.
I’m growing mine in the ground in Gauteng where it is quite warm compared to the Cape. Lallie is growing hers in pots over there, in a much cooler climate. Peonies appreciate the cold so hers have done really well & sprouted more than a month before mine:
This is from about a week ago
— Lallie (Luh Lee) (@Lalliestweets) August 31, 2015
Mine have just started to wake up. Most of them are these bright red little shoots:
But one of them has grown very fast, in a shady area of the garden with my Papa Meilland roses, poppies and an as yet unidentified summer flowering bulb. The main picture is of that particular peony. I tried to make sure we planted them in shady spots. I find a new set of red shoots in these books and crannies every couple of days. I am especially excited about the ones growing under the big camellias by the side of our pool. They will look amazing over there as they mature. I’m really happy that the peonies woke up after the winter.
My 2 top tips for SA gardeners in warm to hot areas trying to grow peonies are:
1. Plant the tubers in the coolest place in your garden, that still receives a bit of sunlight.
2. Leave the eyes (tips) of the tubers above ground. Don’t full bury the tuber like other bulbs. You want to leave the tips exposed to winter air to make sure they get cold enough to bloom later on. The soil acts as an insulator.
If you live in the colder areas of SA, especially anywhere that gets snow, definitely try peonies next year.
If you came to my blog while searching for info & a source for peony tubers in SA be sure to check out my previous post Growing red & pink peonies in South Africa
According to their website Hadeco will sell the peonies again next year between March & May, & deliver in June: http://www.hadecoshop.com/shop/Peonies.aspx
They sold out this year. These are the packages and tubers as received earlier this year:
To tide me over until I can see my home grown peonies, I often look at the pictures I took of peonies while we were in Japan in June. I spotted this beautiful bouquet in a busy market street in Fukuoka. I think the variety is Festiva Maxima. It smelt like the most heavenly perfume! I will never forget it.