Vermont Garden Journal: Tree Peonies

Jun 9, 2017

One of my favorite spring perennial flowers is the peony. While many of us grow the herbaceous peonies, there's another type gaining popularity; tree peonies.

Tree peonies are just what they sound like. They have woody stems that survive the winter. Though they may never grow into "trees" in our climate, they do have a shrubby appearance. Tree peonies flower later than  herbaceous types, expanding the peony season, and have bigger flowers in a wide range of colors.

Tree peonies are not for the impatient gardener as they may take a few years to establish. But once blooming, they will last for many years and slowly grow into a small shrub. Listen to this podcast to learn about planting tree peonies and the many varieties.

Now for this week's tip: Check the underside of rose petals for rose slugs. These small caterpillars are actually sawflies. The adult lays eggs on the underside of the leaves and the worms eat holes in the leaves and flower buds. Spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil coating the leaves and buds to kill them.