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Paeonia, Intersectional Hybrids

Peony Intersectional Hybrids
Paeoniaceae
Perennials

PAEONIA

Though a few species peonies may be found through specialists’ catalogs and seed exchanges, most garden peonies are hybrids. The basic types are herbaceous and tree peonies, both descended from Chinese species. A new third category, the intersectional hybrids, combines the best traits of herbaceous and tree types. All peonies are extremely long-lived plants of significant size; they provide choice cut flowers and are a mainstay of big perennial borders.

Plant peonies in fall, either as bare-root plants or from nursery containers. Ideally, the planting site for peonies should be deeply dug at least several days before planting. Work in plenty of compost, especially in heavy soil, and incorporate a high-phosphorus fertilizer; then allow the soil to settle before planting.

Peonies of all types can be grown in large (18–24-in.) containers. Replant every third autumn in the same or a slightly larger pot, replacing most of the soil when you do.

Paeonia, Intersectional Hybrids

Woody perennials. Moderate growth rate to about 3 ft. high and wide. Attractive leaves resemble those of tree peonies. Compared with herbaceous and tree peonies, intersectional hybrids produce more flowers and bloom over a longer period, sport better-looking foliage throughout the growing season, and have superior resistance to botrytis. Flowers may be single, semidouble, or double in single and multicolored shades of lavender, pink, red, copper, yellow, or cream. There are many varieties to choose from, including the new Itoh hybrids, named for the first person to successfully cross a herbaceous peony with a tree peony. Intersectional hybrids require less winter chill than herbaceous peonies.

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