Growing Peonies in California – video by Jean Wells
Peonies are among the most glorious of blooms and are favorites all over the world.
In California, it is possible to grow them successfully, although the size and length of bloom is less than colder areas of the United States. Success can easily be achieved by planting single, semi-double or early double types of peonies as they need to bloom before the temperatures rise too much in the spring. If it gets too hot, the buds may not open. I have some mid-season peonies in my garden which have bloomed nicely after about three years, but the early doubles are the best in our warmer climate in Northern California. Over 600 plants bloom in my peony bed which is planted on the western side of my property under the partial shade of oaks. It is usually recommended that they be planted with eastern exposure and afternoon shade. Several of the plants are located on my eastern side outside of my fence, and the deer have not bothered them.
Peony Culture: In California, the roots should be planted with the pink buds just below the soil surface. This maximizes the cold temperatures during their dormant period in the winter. The early varieties will begin to emerge in March and will bloom in April/May before the summer temperatures get too hot for the buds to open. They may also be planted in pots which are at least 14″ in diameter and kept well watered. Do allow ants to have access to the buds.