Paeonia rockii 'Xue Lian'
tree peony / tree paeony (syn Snowy Lotus)
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: fertile, moisture-retentive yet well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: April to May
- Flower colour: white flushed with pale pink
- Other features: bright green leaves
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Until recently, this beautiful cultivar was rarely seen as it was considered too difficult to propagate, but fortunately things have moved on and it is now more widely available. It is a beautiful form, with large, single white flowers that are often flushed with pink, and each petal has a purple stain at their base. The grey-green dissected foliage of this deciduous shrub is dramatic enough to provide architectural interest towards the back of a mixed border even after the flowers have faded.
- Garden care: Protect from cold winds and early morning sun. Support the branches of young shrubs with canes to prevent the massive flowerheads from being battered by rain. Tree peonies are hungry feeders, so ensure that container-grown specimens receive a top-dressing of a slow-release fertiliser in spring. In the border apply a top-dressing of a balanced, slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant in early spring and mulch with well-rotted garden compost or manure. The older stems of tree peonies have a tendency to become brittle and snap, so cut these back to the ground in autumn every two or three years.
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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 11/8/2005 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 11/9/2005 by Crocus
Early-summer- flowering shrubs can be pruned this month to keep them vigorous and flowering well. It is also the ideal time to prune several trees that are prone to bleeding if pruned at other times, and it’s not too late to complete the pruning jobs forRead full article