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Growing Tips

Please remember that these Growing tips are general guidelines.
For specific instructions please feel free to contact us.

 

Delphiniums
 

Often delphiniums are thought of as difficult and time consuming to grow. This is not the case. While like all plants they thrive in ideal conditions, a few basic growing techniques will ensure quality spikes in most gardens.

Soil: Delphiniums prosper in most soil types. Amend the soil with compost before planting. Do not allow waterlogged soil as this will promote crown rot. If necessary, raise the bed slightly.

Transplanting
: Delphiniums do not like to be disturbed but if necessary move only young plants and very early in the spring, just as they begin to grow.

Thinning
: As the plants mature, if they produce many stems, the weak ones should be cut off close to the ground in early spring. The remaining stems will grow stronger and produce a better display.

Watering
needs to be consistent, especially during the growing season. Delphiniums are shallow rooted but a good soaking once a week should suffice for mature plants. We are on a hill with south exposure and rely on well water, so our watering is minimal. Mulch may be beneficial but not directly on the crowns.

After flowering
cut off the spikes but leave the foliage until new growth starts at the base of the plant, to promote strong roots. You may be rewarded in the autumn with a second flowering but the spikes likely won’t be as tall as in July.

Winter care
: Cut off plant material and clear the beds of debris before the winter, to reduce the possibility of slug damage. Our Delphiniums are very hardy and do not require winter mulch. They enjoy a good snow cover, if Mother Nature provides it in your area.

Slug and Snail Control: A thin layer of coarse gritty sand will help discourage these pests year round but be sure it has an open texture and will not form a crust which would affect new growth. Eliminate as many pests as possible by handpicking. Evenings or early mornings are usually most productive for both slugs and snails. In late autumn, cut the stems and foliage of delphiniums to the ground. Remove all leaves, debris and weeds from around the plants as slugs and snails winter over in these. If your garden is heavily infested with slugs and snails, late winter and early spring may be times of excessive damage. A solution of aluminum sulphate (usually 2 oz. mixed in one gallon of water is enough for 4 plants) may be sprayed over the area of dormant delphiniums during the winter. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for recommended strengths. This solution is astringent and therefore is able to kill adult slugs and snails as well as their eggs. Care must be taken to never spray a plant drown directly unless it is dormant. Aluminum sulphate is a soil acidifier so over use will change your soil pH and may require an application of lime in the spring.

 

Peonies
 

Peonies are long-lived perennials, so it is worth the effort to prepare the site well and purchase quality plants. Peonies are one of the least demanding perennials giving outstanding bloom and all season foliage on disease and pest resistant plants.

Soil: Peonies prefer a sunny well drained site. Dig a hole larger that the root and amend the soil with compost or bonemeal. Very well aged manure may be used in moderation. Peonies will not survive in waterlogged soil.

Planting a) Herbaceous Peonies: Place the peony root in the prepared hole and backfill. The crown buds should be no more than 2 inches below the soil surface. If planted too deep, they may not flower for several years. Plant potted peonies at the same depth as they are in the pots.
b) Intersectional (Itoh) Peonies
are planted so the top eyes are planted just below the surface and the buds on the root are about 2 inches below the surface.
c) Tree peonies
will be shipped with tags indicating the correct planting depth. They will be planted a few inches deeper than they were previously since this will encourage more roots to develop on the tree peony stems.

Watering: Peonies are drought tolerant but benefit from watering during periods of prolonged dryness especially in the first growing season. If you mulch your garden, do not put mulch over the crown.

After Flowering: When the peonies have finished flowering, cut off the spent blooms but leave as much foliage as possible to promote strong roots.

Winter Care: In September, herbaceous and intersectional peonies are cut off close to the ground but the stems of tree peonies are left since they are woody shrubs. Remove all types of peony foliage from the garden to help prevent spread of any possible disease or fungus.