What You May Not Know About Peony Roses
Peony roses, known for their beautiful colors and lovely fragrance, are a popular choice for adding a splash of color to a garden or brightening up a room as part of an indoor display of cut flowers. Their colors - reds of a deep or bright hue, cream, white, and pink - call to mind the flower's origins in eastern and central Asia. Peony roses are, in fact, not roses at all - their scientific classification is as a member of the family Paeoniaceae, while roses are from the Rosaceae family. This form of peony is commonly called the peony rose because it bears a resemblance to the rose in both fragrance and appearance.
As a perennial herbaceous plant, the above-ground stem of the peony rose dies back at the end of each growing season, but its root will produce a new stem and the flower will return the following year. In fact, once peony roses take root, they can return year after year for decades. In China, some gardens contain peony roses that have been there for well over a century. Given this fact, it will come as no surprise that the peony rose is a hardy plant, and generally requires little care. Spent blooms should be removed regularly, and a bit of pruning is required in the autumn. To avoid drooping flowers, consider staking the stems for support.
Peony roses should be planted in the autumn, and do well in many areas of the United States, growing successfully in planting zones from 3 to 9. They are most likely to thrive when planted in a well-drained soil with a pH level of 7 to 7.5 (slightly alkaline), and do well in full sun or partial shade. Because peony roses can be expected to reach about three feet in height, they benefit from being planted in an area sheltered from the wind, to avoid damage to their long stems. As they return yearly but do not transplant well, it is important to give careful consideration to location before planting. They will require time to recover if transplanted, and may suffer delayed flowering.
The flower typically blooms from spring to late July, providing a colorful addition to any garden. To ensure large extra large blooms for cut flower arrangements, the side buds can be removed from the peonies' stems. Leaving only one bud per stem will ensure plenty of room and nutrients for the bloom to reach its full potential. For longer lasting cut peonies, cut them before the bud has opened; the flower should bloom within a day or two, and make a gorgeous display for up to a week.
While peony roses are easily cared for and make a wonderful ornamental addition to any garden, it is interesting to note that they also have long been grown for their medicinal properties. Traditional Chinese medicine has made use of peony root for over 1,500 years as a treatment for pain, fever, and bleeding. It has also been reported to reduce spasms and be helpful in treating diarrhea and other intestinal problems. Even coughing can be treated with a cup of tea made from dried and crushed peony petals.
The beautiful peony rose has a long and interesting history, beginning the Far East and stretching around the world. Its hardy nature and variety of colors - it is even available in a two-toned variety - make it a wonderful addition to any garden, and its large blooms and lovely scent also make it well-suited as part of a cut floral arrangement. Although not actual a rose, the peony rose should be considered just as beautiful and classic.