Paeonia lactiflora 'Shirley Temple'
paeony / peony
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: fertile, moisture-retentive yet well-drained
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: June to July
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Prized for their blowsy, glamorous blooms and glossy, deeply cut foliage, peonies are held in deep affection by many gardeners, despite their shortish flowering season and vulnerability to peony wilt in damp weather. It's easy to see why. From the promise of early spring, when their red, mottled shoots push through bare earth and the handsome foliage unfurls from spherical red buds, to early summer, when the huge flowers burst open, peonies exert a fascination that few can resist. 'Shirley Temple' is later flowering than many peonies with large, pale pink, double flowers, gently fading to buff-white, and mid green leaves. The centre of each beautiful, scented flower is full of small, loosely arranged ruffled petals. It will thrive in full sun or partial shade. Fill the bare ground around the peony before the leaves appear with spring bulbs to prolong the season of interest.
- Garden care: Deadhead after flowering. In early spring apply a top dressing of a balanced, slow release fertiliser around the base of the plant and mulch with well-rotted compost or manure. If the plant shows signs of collapse or the leaves become spotty, this may be a symptom of peony botrytis. Remove affected leaves immediately. In the autumn, cut off all the foliage and dispose of it to prevent reinfection the following spring.
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Q:I have this planted in a large tub and though it has small buds they never open and flower any suggestion would be appreciatedAsked on 2/8/2015 by R J from Bristol
There are a number of reasons why this may happen. These include a late frost, or a lack of fertiliser or water. It can also be caused by fungal diseases, which tend to be more active in cool, wet weather, or pests such as thrips.Answered on 6/8/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Growing plants for a wedding
Dear Crocus, I am a very happy customer ..... I love your site, plants and service. I learnt about you first from Arabella Lennox-Boyd. But now I am writing for some advice please. My sister is getting married in Oxfordshire on the last weekend of May. I would love to grow the flowers for the wedding. I have a big garden with empty beds and a green house at my disposal. Could you give me some advice on types of cut flowers that would be in bloom at the end of May? Some pointers as a place to start my research and buying would be fantastic. Thank you very much, Best wishes, KateAsked on 8/1/2010 by Kate Olivia Higginbottom
A:Hello Kate, It will be a little hit and miss as a lot will depend on the weather, but the following plants should be in flower around that time. Choisya ternata
Osmanthus x burkwoodii
Viburnum x carlcephalum
http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.paeonia/ Euphorbia palustris
and if we have a hot start to the summer a couple of roses or some of the earlier lavenders may have started too. I hope this gives you lots of ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 8/1/2010 by Kate Olivia Higginbottom
A:Thank you so much Helen - amazing! I'll send you photos of the finished results. Best wishes and thanks again, KateAnswered on 8/1/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Hi, I received my RHS garden magazine a few days ago and I am interested in the Peonies. I just have a question regarding Peonies - if I buy them now when is the best time to plant them? Regards GiovannaAsked on 22/10/2009 by Giovanna
A:Hello Giovanna, Ideally these should be planted as soon as you receive them into fertile, moisture-retentive yet well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. I hope this helps. HelenAnswered on 22/10/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Paeonias starting to look bit unwell- are they ok?
Hi, I ordered some Paeonias in April.....of the four that I bought I am bit worried as to me thye don't look very healthy. Would you be able to give me some advise please? Are they Ok? Thanks and with kind regardsAsked on 26/9/2009 by Maria Hagbro
A:Hello there, These plants are starting to die back now and this is a natural part of their life cycle. The leaves will continue to deteriorate in autumn and disappear altogether in winter, then in the Spring the plants will put on lots of new, lush growth. Best regards, Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 28/9/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Help with leaf problem on my Paeonia please
Hi, I bought a Paeonia lactiflora 'Adolphe Rousseau' and have potted it into a large container with (washed) gray slate covering the soil. For some reason the leaves are being eaten away at an alarming rate, with scarred, brown lines throughout. I have looked at the 'blight' disease but they look eaten rather than blotchy. Any Ideas, help please!? Yours, WillAsked on 23/7/2009 by W Bone
A:Hello Will, I'm afraid I have not been able to determine what has been 'at' your Paeonia from your description, but if you think it is being eaten, then I would spray it with a good, systemic insecticide such as Provado, which will kill off most predators. http://www.crocus.co.uk/product/_/tools/chemicals/pesticide/provado-ultimate-bug-killer-ready-to-use/classid.2000006039/ I'm sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 24/7/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Can I divide my Peonies?
Could you please tell me what to do with my Peonies, now that they've finished flowering. I would like to move and divide them if possible, as they have outgrown the space where they were first planted. Thank you ValAsked on 14/6/2009 by david gregory
A:Hello Val, Herbaceous Peonies, should be left until they have died back and then lift and divide them in the autumn or early spring. I hope this helps.Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 15/6/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:How do I look after my Paeonies?
I have two newly established Paeonies (2nd year - still no flowers) and the leaves have now turned brown. Am I meant to prune them? Is there any other advice regarding their general care?Asked on 8/11/2005 by Bets Ingram
A:Paeonies can take a few years to establish and produce flowers, so I would not be too despondent. As for general care instructions, it all depends on what type of paeony you have - a tree paeony or a herbaceous type. If your paeonies still have a woody stem at this time of year then they are more than likely tree paeonies. The herbaceous paeonies die right down, so any foliage now would have collapsed due to the frosts The later need very little care. Do not prune the plants at all, but remove the dead foliage in autumn to tidy them up. In early spring apply a balanced slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant and mulch with well-rotted compost or manure. If you have a tree paeony, you will need to treat it a little differently, but you will still need to remove the dead leaves, making sure the remaining stem remains intact. Depending on the size of the plant you have bought, they can take up to to four years to start flowering after planting. Sometimes a newly planted tree peony will appear to make very little growth in its first season, but all its activity happens underground as its energies are going into producing a good root system. Providing the foliage looks reasonably healthy, there is nothing to worry about and this may just be a 'settling in' period. Occasionally the main stem may die back a little. This might be a little worrying, but wait until the following spring when vigorous growth should resume from the lower part of the stem or even from below soil level. Tree peonies are heavy feeders and they respond well to a generous, early autumn top dressing of blood, fish and bone, a slow release organic fertiliser. Its high potash content encourages flowers to develop. A light sprinkling of a general fertiliser such as Growmore can be applied in the spring if you wish. They also respond well to pruning. Ultimately you should aim for a broad, multi-stemmed shrub of up to 120-150cm in height, which will not need staking. Chinese and American types have a naturally branching habit and will need less regular pruning than the Japanese and French types. While the plant is still young, don't be tempted to prune, apart from removing dead wood during the first two years to help get the plant established. After this if your plant forms a good shape, no regular pruning is needed. However, if your plant has few stems and is poorly shaped, then prune hard in late winter or early spring, just as the growth buds are swelling. This may mean that you sacrifice some flowers in the coming year. If this is a big issue, you can also prune it directly after flowering but the regrowth will be slower.Answered on 9/11/2005 by Crocus
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