Growing Spectacular Peonies

May 18, 2018

Every spring they burst forth, usually in late May or early June. You see them on farmsteads and in city landscapes. They're spectacular. They smell amazing. They don't last long. They're peonies.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe chats with Cindy Haynes, associate professor of horticulture at Iowa State University, about how best to care for peonies.

Haynes warns peony gardeners about common problems. They may be planted too deeply, or be growing in too much shade, and high-nitrogen fertilizers may prevent blooming entirely. But ants collecting peony nectar, Haynes says, are not cause for concern.

“The ants farm the peonies for the nectar," Haynes says. “They’re taking advantage of the situation, because everyone likes a sweet treat every once in a while.”

Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, joins the conversation as the Hort Day gang answer questions from callers.