Favored by most gardeners for the beauty of their exquisite flowers, their delightful fragrance, and their bold foliage changing shades over the seasons, peony flowers add a dazzling splash of color in the landscape. Virtually carefree once established, they live for generations, are deer proof and produce some of the best cut flowers - making them one of Nature's loveliest perennials!
However, when it comes to selecting the right peony, the task may become daunting as there are over 3 000 peony cultivars available (!!!) to choose from. A possible selection criteria would be to consider rain-proof peonies or peonies that could withstand the heat, if you live in a warm spring area.
Rain-proof peonies: Spring brings its glorious rays of sunshine but also downpours that may splatter and smash peony flowers across the lawn. The glamorous large peony flowers typically collect and hold a substantial weight of water, overloading the stems. They tend to arch toward the ground and even sturdy stems may fall or break. Sadly, peony rings are no guarantee that a hard rain won’t shatter the flowers. Staking each stem may be the only way to keep the attractive blooms upright above the foliage. However, many of us are unwilling to devote that level of care.
Peonies that withstand the heat: Peonies grow best in cool climates (Hardiness zones 3-8). They need a pronounced period of winter chilling (to induce dormancy) and not too much heat and humidity during the blooming season in order to flower well. In the southern states, choose early-blooming varieties that flower before the onset of hot weather. Select those with single of or semi double flowers and plant them about an inch deep (so that they catch the slightest nip of frost) in a cool location benefiting from some shade.
Here is a selection of peonies that proved to be resistant to rain or heat and could become the highlight of your spring garden!