Peonies, with the scientific name Paeoniaceae, are a whole family of plants with origin in Europe, North America and China and their surroundings. The species of wild peonies, which are 3, can be found in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Maghreb. One of its legends tells that this plant is named after Paeon, a medicine apprentice of the god Asclepius, who came to provoke the envy of his master for having more talent than him and was transformed by Zeus into the flower that receives his name.
It is also a plant that has traditionally been used for its medicinal properties, especially in the treatment of menstrual pain in women, and to alleviate asthma symptoms. If you want to know how to care for peonies at home and their meaning , keep reading this article.
How to sow and plant peonies
Before you start sowing peony seeds , it is important to choose well both a good location and the right season. The best time to plant peonies is in the fall, or even in winter if you live in a not too cold climate. The species of peony that you are going to plant also influences: the arboreal ones are best planted in the autumn months, while some bushy ones respond better to a planting in spring.
Once chosen, follow these steps to sow and plant peonies :
- Find a location where the plant receives at least eight hours of sunlight a day, but where it will be protected from the wind.
- Once the optimal location is chosen, bury the seed. If it is a tree species, bury it about 5 cm deep while, if it is a bush peony or one of the herbaceous peony species, plant it just over 10 cm deep.
- Once this is done, fertilize to enrich the soil and water it.
- If you plant several, respect at least 1 meter of distance between them.
- If you plant a cutting or transplant a peony seedling, prepare the fertilized soil in the pot with a hole in the center and place the plant well, centered, and cover it with soil until the roots are covered and the stem is firmly attached.
- After this, water with water and a little diluted rooting agent.
How to care for peonies – basic care
These are the basic care of peonies :
Location and light
As we have indicated before, you need at least eight hours of sunlight per day, but we recommend that you do not give direct light in the strongest hours of sun, a semi-shady area will be better at least in the central hours of the day, which is when the sun is more powerful.
Nutrients and compost for peonies
One detail that you should keep in mind is that this plant is very demanding in terms of soil nutrients, so you should plant them in areas where there have not been other plants with similar characteristics, or enrich it with organic fertilizer . In the same way, the subscriber should be done twice a year later, in autumn and spring. Fertilizing it in excess will harm the flowering of the peony.
Drainage, humidity and irrigation
It is also important that the soil has good drainage, so that it does not stagnate when you water. The peony needs a good level of humidity, but an excess of it with waterlogging in its roots will be very harmful to the plant and even fatal.
For watering, it is enough to once a week during winter and cold months, and twice a week from spring.
Finally, remember that the flowers and fruits of the peony are toxic , and should be kept away from children and pets.
Peonies: general meaning and by colors
There is a huge variety of peonies , and all of them have different meanings that depend on the area. In Asia, it is a symbol of beauty and good luck , being something similar to the oriental equivalent of the rose. For example, in some of these Asian countries this is the meaning of peonies:
- In China the peony is known as “The king of flowers”, and it is attributed a relationship with honor and good fortune , as well as symbolizing national beauty.
- In Japan this flower is related to happiness, luck and prosperity , in a similar way to how it is done in China.
In addition, in the art of feng shui it is used to bring peace to the spirit and calm love sickness.
In the West, on the other hand, the peony is related to the shame and shyness traditionally associated in ancient times and in some cultures with female beauty. The Greeks, in fact, had a myth that nymphs, to hide from the gazes of men, ran naked behind bushes of peonies.
The meaning of peonies according to the color of their flower is also variable:
- Red peonies symbolize wealth, honor, respect, and prosperity.
- Pink peonies are used to symbolize the beauty of marriage, although they are also related to crushes or love at first sight.
- White peonies receive the traditional symbolism of shyness and shame, although they are also used to express regret for a mistake made.
- The purple peonies, finally, are directly related to the myth of Paeon, and embody the envy of Asclepius and the punishment that it unleashed.