Peonies are some of my favorite spring plants. They’re not blooming yet, but you can practically watch them grow which is so fun. The shoots come up out of the ground in tightly curled stalks and every day you can see they’ve grown by inches. In short order, the leaves uncurl from around the stalk and the plant fills out. Of course, I love the huge, multi-petaled flowers and their scent, but I love watching them grow in the springtime the most.
The objective of any flowering plant is always to produce seed and proliferate. Most plants have some sort of mechanism to spread their seeds away from the mother plant which might be fruit or nuts or seeds with some sort of wind-catching attachment. A Peony’s method is to grow long stalks and produce heavy flowers which will then fall over where they can spread seeds far away from the mother plant. (That’s not very far away from the mother plant, but that’s what they do.)
I don’t want my Peonies spreading seeds all over the flower bed and I don’t want them flopping over either, that looks messy in the garden. The best solution to keeping Peonies upright is using grow-through stakes. This one is a ring with three stakes but there are other types and they come in different sizes. Depending on the state of the soil, it’s usually not too hard to push the stakes into the soil around the plant and then encourage the plant to grow up through it, just like the name implies. If the soil is too hard, I water it until I can push the stakes in. To keep the stakes from bending as you push them into the soil, grasp the stake really close to the soil level and push in just a little at a time.
The trick is to get the ring on there before the plant is too tall. This is not a good time for procrastinating because the plant will literally be taller tomorrow! Here it is, just a few days later and you can see it has come through the stake and isn’t even slowing down. Come June, the flowers will be supported instead of flopping to the ground.