Growing Peonies in Alaska
We are so fortunate in Alaska to be able to grow some of the world’s prettiest flowers – peonies. Peonies are beautiful, perennial and will often outlive their owners lasting 50-100 years! You can not go wrong investing in peony perennial plants.
Peonies need continuous days of 45F or lower while they are dormant in order to bloom the following summer. That is why you rarely see peonies grown in the far south – it is simply not cold enough to recharge the peony roots each winter. But lack of cold winter is not a problem when it comes to growing peonies in Alaska! The trick is picking a hardy variety that can stand up to an Alaskan winter.
Picking the right peony root – Pink peonies?
There are several hardy varieties that we grow out in our fields such as Sarah Bernhardt, Festiva Maxima and Kansas. Sarah Bernhardt is a pink variety and is one of the most common varieties you see. A Sarah Bernhardt peony is always a good place to start. A Festiva Maxima peony is a white variety, fragrant and very popular with the brides. A Kansas peony is an electric fuschia – one of my personal favorites.
What about coral peonies?
Coral peonies are popular right now with brides. One variety we grow here on our farm is Coral Charm. However, we do not grow very many because they take extra work in the fall to mulch and protect from the harsh winter up here in Alaska. You see, coral peonies are not as hardy as the ones I listed above. So when I sell coral peonies, I always warn the home gardener to keep this one up close to the house for extra protection and mulch heavily with leaves – a foot or two! With this extra attention, coral charms are a great addition to your garden.