When I first moved into my home, the landscape left a lot to be desired. While the previous owner clearly hadn’t given much thought to planting around the house, my mind quickly became filled with plans. One of the first projects that I wanted to complete was the creation of a flower bed in the front yard, near the walkway that led to the front door. Immediately, I knew exactly what I wanted to plant – peonies!
Peonies have long been an extremely popular bush for use in home landscapes. In fact, their old-fashioned charm had played a big role in my own decision to plant them. Like most perennials, the peony bushes in my yard took several years to become established. Now that they are large enough to bloom dependably each season, there are undoubtedly some major pros and cons to my decision to plant them so close to my garden paths. Below, I have outlined some of the most important aspects to consider when deciding whether or not to plant peonies near sidewalks or patios.
The Pros of Planting Peonies
Aside from their gorgeous blooms, ease of growth is one of my favorite attributes of peonies. Beyond the occasional application of a well-balanced fertilizer, the plants require little care. Having planted a long row of the same variety, bloom time is synchronized perfectly, so that bushes produce a full wall of color in the landscape.
Once blooming has ceased for the season, there are a few options. Personally, I like to let the flower fade naturally. When this happens, seeds are produced in large pods. The seeds can then be collected and grown into new hybrids over the next several years. Most growers simply deadhead the plants after bloom. This allows gardeners to maintain a neat and tidy appearance in the border.
The Cons of Planting Peonies
Though peonies are undoubtedly beautiful, there are some cons to consider. One of the most common issues directly relates to the stature of the plant. Before planting, growers will need to carefully consider the size and shape of the peony bushes at maturity. Since peony flowers are very large, many stems can also droop or hang. This seems to be especially true in regions that experience heavy spring rainfall. Fortunately, this problem can be quickly solved through staking or the use of small peony support rings.
Foliar diseases may also be an issue. Though most peony foliage remains attractive throughout the entire growing season, changes in weather can often lead to the development of diseases like peony leaf blotch or botrytis. In most cases, neither of these infections lead to the complete loss of plants. However, infected plants can quickly become quite unsightly in flower beds.