Peony (Paeonia): tips, cultivation and how to care for them


HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS

PEONY
(Paeonia)


Paeonia lactiflora in Breslau

The Peony they are splendid plants that are widely cultivated not only for their extraordinary flowers but also for their ornamental foliage. In fact they are widely used for herbaceous or shrubby borders.

BOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom

:

Plantae

Clado

: Angiosperms

Clado

: Eudicotyledons

Order

:

Saxifragales

Family

:

Paeoniaceae

Kind

:

Paeonia

Species

: see the paragraph on "Main species"

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

The kind Paeonia, better known as peony, belongs to family of the Paeoniaceae. They are plants native to Europe, eastern Asia and western North America where they are found in meadows, scrubs and rocky areas.

I'm perennials, herbaceous or shrubby. Their peculiarity is the flowers very showy with bright colors and often perfumed, for which they are widely cultivated. They are usually erect and solitary or, less frequently, gathered along a stem. They can have different shapes: saucer; large cup or spherical. Normally peony flowers are classified into:

  • simple: the flowers have 3 layers of large, wide and flat petals with visible stamens and pistils. These flowers are usually fertile;
  • semi-double: the flowers have large and adherent petals arranged in 4-5 slightly overlapping layers that resemble the shape of a lotus flower (in Japan this shape is in fact called "lotus"). Also in this case both the stamens and the pistils are visible;
  • double (or Japanese): they are formed by 2-3 outer layers of wide and straight petals as if two flowers were superimposed. The stamens are transformed into small narrow petals while the pistils are normal or reduced.This is a very common form and we find it in many herbaceous type peonies. P. lactiflora;
  • anemone: there are 2-3 outer layers of wide and straight petals reminiscent of the anemone flower.

The leaves they are of a beautiful deep green color. They are pinnate with many leaflets, both of size and shape, quite irregular, more or less lobed depending on the species and variety.

Peonies can be divided into two large groups:

  1. HERBACEOUS PEONY all with tuberous root. We find here most of the species and cultivars on the market and almost all derive from Paeonia lactiflora. It is about perennials particularly robust and long-lived (some varieties manage to live over 100 years).
    They are plants that adapt very well to the different situations in which they find themselves.
    The aerial part of the plants dries up during the autumn-winter period. In spring from the roots, stems up to one meter long develop, bearing large leaves, which can reach 90-100 cm in height and width. It blooms from late spring or early summer (depending on the species) thin stems are formed which bear large buds, which will produce flowers.
    The flowers can be simple, semi-double or double, with colors ranging from white to pink to red, with all the intermediate shades. Most of the varieties are fragrant.

  2. SHRUBPED PEONIES characterized by woody stems, deciduous leaves, jagged with a beautiful intense green color sometimes tinged with red. I'm very hardy plants to adverse climatic conditions such as low temperatures, frost, drought, insolation. They are very long-lived plants and exceed one and a half meters in height.
    The flowers can be simple, semi-double or double with colors ranging from white to dark red with all intermediate shades, as well as yellow and orange and are slightly fragrant.
    They bloom from the end of March until the month of May depending on the variety.
    This type of plant has multiplied by grafting it into the roots of the herbaceous peony (which only performs the function of nutrition until the new plant emits its own roots).
    They are plants used for both their flowers and ornamental leaves. In fact, they are widely used as a border (both herbaceous and shrubby species). A mixed border is generally used, made up of herbaceous species and shrub species.

From these two groups, through crossings and hybridizations, varieties have been obtained that combine the characteristics of shrubby and herbaceous peonies.

They are plants used not only for their spectacular blooms but, since they do not last many days, they are also very popular for their imposing and very decorative foliar apparatus.

Peonies are not difficult plants to grow. They can be considered rustic to semi-rustic plants and should be grown in the open ground in the garden.

First of all, let's say that they are very long-lived plants and have the particularity that they do not like to be disturbed.

Some species such as the P. lactiflora, needs support if they are grown in windy areas. Or if the flowers are too large, it is advisable, also in this case, to equip the plant with a stake to prevent the flower stem from bending.

It should be remembered:

  • herbaceous peonies they lose all the aerial part during the winter and only the tuberous root remains;
  • shrub peonies they completely strip their woody stems of the leaves and therefore bare branches remain.

CULTIVATION TEMPERATURE

Peony plants do not fear low temperatures, so much so that their cultivation is also widespread in northern Italy. However, attention must be paid to young leaves and buds that can be damaged by late frosts.

EXPOSURE

The peonies in the very hot areas of the south are preferable to place them in semi-shaded areas while in the cooler climate areas, they can be grown in full sun, where they can receive a good amount of light during many hours of the day.

WATERING

During the vegetative period they must be watered regularly (from spring to autumn). The soil must be dry between one watering and another, in fact the plants can withstand short periods of drought but do not like water stagnation.

Late summer-early autumn it is advisable to stop watering because the plant is preparing for winter rest and to strip off all the aerial part. At this time it is also advisable to cut the plant 15-20 from the ground (this for herbaceous peonies).

At the first warmth of spring as soon as the first shoots begin to appear, resume watering, favoring the awakening of the plant.

TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT

For peonies use a fertile soil rich in humus, soft and porous thanks to the addition of a little coarse sand to facilitate the drainage of irrigation water. In fact, they do not tolerate water stagnation.

They are planted in autumn or spring. During the preparation of the soil it is advisable to bury good quantities of mature manure.

PLANT

As for the planting of the peony, it is necessary to plant the tubers in a well-draining fertile soil added with sand and mature manure.

Regarding the distance of the plants to the plant (once you have identified the place in your garden that respects the characteristics of the soil and exposure), considering that they are very exuberant plants, they should be planted at a distance of 70-100 cm from each other both along the row and between the row.

For the height of the plants to the plant, it must be taken into account that for herbaceous plants the collar must not be at a depth greater than 3-5 cm while for shrub plants the grafting point must be located approximately 7-8 cm below the ground level.

The choice of the place to plant peonies it is essential to have beautiful blooms therefore place them in a semi-shaded place where they can receive a good amount of light in the warm areas of the south and in full sun in the cooler northern areas.

Once positioned it is advisable to water the soil well and make sure that it is always fresh and free of weeds.

Since they are plants that do not like to be disturbed, if this rule is followed, they will remain in production for many years.

In any case, it should be borne in mind that, since they are plants that do not like to be disturbed, once planted, they will take at least a couple of years to acclimate to the new environment. This means that we will have to wait before seeing them in bloom.

FERTILIZATION

We start fertilizing the peony in spring when the plant begins to develop. The plant takes advantage of mature manure or alternatively, of slow release granular fertilizer for flowering plants, easily available at any good nurseryman.

It is important to use a fertilizer that in addition to having macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for proper plant growth.

FLOWERING

Flowering of the peony varies according to the species to which it refers. Generally speaking, in our country it runs from early April to early June.

For all species, however, flowering does not last long, indeed only a few days. Moreover, the flowers are very delicate and a little rain or a strong wind is enough to make them fall.


Note 1

When the flowers begin to wither, they must be removed.

A peculiarity to remember concerns the herbaceous peonies that to have a constant and generous flowering it is necessary to divide the plant at least every 3-4 years.

The first to bloom are shrub peonies which, although not suitable for the production of cut flowers, give us an early flowering 20 days compared to herbaceous peonies.

PRUNING

There is no talk of real pruning for the peony. You just have to be careful to remove old or dead leaves to make room for new shoots and prevent them from becoming a vector of parasitic diseases.

At the end of the summer, when watering is interrupted, the plant must be cut 15-20 from the ground (this for herbaceous peonies) and leave it like this until the first buds appear in spring.

For shrub peonies, it is necessary to shorten damaged or too old branches without making too drastic pruning which could lead to a lack of flowering the following spring.

MULTIPLICATION

It simply multiplies by division or by seed.

MULTIPLICATION BY DIVISION OF TUBEROUS ROOTS

Tuberous root cuttings should be taken in winter, so that each portion has at least one bud.

Remember that with this multiplication the plant usually takes a couple of years before having an abundant flowering because it must have time to free itself well to the ground.

MULTIPLICATION BY DIVISION OF HERBACEOUS PLANTS

Herbaceous peonies can be multiplied by dividing plants in the fall (September) using large plants that can be divided into 3/4 parts. Care must be taken that each portion has an adequate number of stems and roots.

MULTIPLICATION OF TREE PEONIES

Shrub peonies can be multiplied by split grafting on a root of Paeonia lactiflora (herbaceous) from the end of August to the end of September, using the lignified branches produced by the plant during the year.

MULTIPLICATION BY SEED

If you choose to reproduce the plant by seed, it must be remembered that the times to obtain a plant in production are very long: 7-8 years to flower. The seed alone takes two years to germinate.

In seeds that are found on the market they are almost exclusively hybrids, therefore it is likely that we will find few fertile seeds and that the plants that will be born will be different from the mother plant.

PRODUCTION OF CUT FLOWERS

Herbaceous peonies are the only species that are adapted to cut flower production.

PARASITES AND DISEASES

Necrotic spots on the leaves and subsequently the appearance of gray mold

This is usually the symptom of the presence of a fungus, the Botrytis spp. In the case of high humidity this fungus is easily recognizable because the affected organs become covered with a gray mold.

Remedies: immediately eliminate the infected parts and treat with a specific fungicide Botrytis they are first of all preventive, as this fungus is favored by humidity in the air and excessive watering.

CURIOSITY'

The country tied to the peony like few others it is China, the symbol of the country not only because it is very cultivated but also because it is very present in many objects: screens, cups, cups, fans, frescoes, canvases as well as being praised by poets and writers.

These plants were very popular around the mid-1800s. After that their use waned to be in vogue again nowadays. Species are widespread today P. officinalis (formerly very important for its medicinal properties), P. lactiflora and the P. sufruticosa each with numerous hybrids and varieties.

The term peony would derive secondo Theophrastus (Greek philosopher who lived in 300 BC), from Peone, son of Aesculapius (or Asclepius, father of medicine according to Greek mythology) who had healed Hades wounded by Hercules during his descent into the underworld in search of Cerberus. Peon treated Hades so well that Asclepius, jealous of his prowess, began plotting against him. Then Hades to save him, transformed it into a beautiful plant that took his name, peony, the rose without thorns.

Another legend has it instead that Peone helped to give birth to Latona (Leto according to Greek mythology) while giving birth to Artemis and Apollo. As childbirth was difficult, Peon gave Latona a drink obtained from a flower collected on Mount Olympus that still had no name. Thanks to this elixir Latona gave birth in all serenity and to thank Peone transformed it into the flower that had helped her.

It was used in ancient times to ward off evil spirits and storms.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

Peony was used in ancient times to treat epilepsy and as such was used until 1800.

Today, phytotherapy indicates this plant as a good remedy against spasms and nervous disorders using the root (from which an essential oil is extracted that exerts a corroborating action against the venous circulation) and the flowers.

Beware of seeds that are toxic.

Always consult your doctor before taking any product.

LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS

You see: "Peony - The language of flowers and plants ».


Growing calla lilies at home or in the garden: here's how to get magnificent blooms

Let's find out the calla, one of the protagonists of the garden for its simplicity and extreme ease of cultivation. With a few tricks, it also gives beautiful blooms in pots.

There calla (botanical name Zantedeschia aethiopica) it's a evergreen rhizomatous perennial plant belonging to the family of Araceae.

Its name from the Greek term kalos, what does it mean beautiful.

In appearance, the calla is characterized by the large basal leaves of triangular shape and light green in color. It is an origin plant South African, also known by the name of 'flower or lily of the Nile‘.

In fact, the calla lilies grow predominantly along streams and pools of water and stand out for their refined and elegant bearing.

They are highly regarded for beauty of their flowers which once cut can last several weeks in pots.

The calla also adapts well to any terrain and climatic condition.

Calla lily blooms are always generous and graceful. The flowers, in fact, grow on the top of long stems and are made up of a single leaf, usually white in color, wrapped around funnel. This very particular flower is also called 'spat'And contains the spadix bright yellow whose appearance is very reminiscent of an ear.

Calla zantedeschia is an aquatic plant that can be easily grown even in ponds and bodies of water up to 20-30 cm deep.

The first to discover it was the German botanist Kurt Spregel who decided to dedicate the genre Zantedeschia to the Italian colleague Giovanni Zantedeschi, his dearest friend. There Zantedeschia aethiopica it is also the simplest variety to grow and can grow over one meter in height.

It is definitely a plant rustic, adaptable is strong which tends to form very compact flowering bushes. Its great shiny leaves and i white flowers make a perfect ornament for gardens, borders and flower beds.

The 'colored' calla lilies, on the other hand, have more dense vegetation and are generally smaller in size. Colors vary from pink, yellow, orange, purple, lavender up to the streaks or two-tone. The flowering period of calla lilies, regardless of varieties, goes from May-June until September. The colorful calla lilies can be combined with other annual plants to form borders and magnificent flowering bushes.


In Europe the peonies present all belong to the herbaceous species, but the most widespread is Paeonia officinalis. Their ornamental value dates back to the early twentieth century. But they were known for their medicinal virtues since ancient times: for the Greeks and until the nineteenth century, the roots and petals were the specific remedy for epilepsy, while in Roman times it was believed that peony leaves made those who were struck by madness come to their senses, if they wore them with garlands around their necks. In herbal medicine, the alkaloid and essential oil extracted from petals and roots are used to treat nervousness, spasms, whooping coughs and varicose veins.

With due caution, since peony is a powerful remedy and can have toxic effects on the body. Nothing is thrown away from the plant: even the spherical seeds, similar to hard and dark peas, in the past were used as beads to make necklaces for children to wear to save them the pain of teething. An oddity if we consider that its seeds are considered poisonous, like most of the others collected from plants belonging to families close to the Ranuncolaceae.


PEONY | TIPS AND CARE

There Peony it is among the most popular plants for the wonderful scenic flowers that can be admired only once a year and for a short period: for this reason taking care of the peony gives great satisfaction. The genus Paeonia includes both perennial herbaceous species and shrub species. The first ones, at the end of the vegetative cycle, are cut at the base, while the arboreal ones require them to be sprouted in the winter period.

Kind: Paeonia

Family: Paeoniaceae

In Europe, its use, for decorative reasons, dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century, although its petals and roots were used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. In Roman times it was believed that wearing a necklace of peony leaves made you come to your senses of madness.

How do I make my Peony happy?

Taking care of a Peony is not very complicated. With a few simple steps, you can enjoy his company for a long time. It loves slightly moist soil but, as always, avoids water stagnation. The harsh winters are not a problem and favor flowering in the spring months. It loves to grow under the sun, even direct, but in warmer areas it is better to expose them to partial shade to admire the flowering for longer.

Where do I place the Peony?

Only herbaceous peonies are suitable for growing in pots. Choose a pot of at least 30 cm for a medium to small plant. The soil must be very draining.

Peony is a plant that thrives on sunny terraces or in partial shade in very hot areas.
Choose a place not too exposed to drafts and remember to remove the flowers as soon as they wither.

Do not forget…

The peony in pot should be watered less in the winter months to avoid root rot due to low temperatures.

In the warm months, however, remember to regularly vaporize the leaves with non-calcareous water to keep the environment humid.

And the vase?

It is important that it is proportionate to the size of the plant, but remember that it needs a lot of space because it has a very voluminous root system. If you choose to place it in a terracotta pot, it will be easier to avoid the problem of stagnation but remember that you will have to water it more often because the water will evaporate more quickly. A simple and linear vase will bring out the color and shapes of its beautiful flowers.

Photos: Davide Buscaglia

Styling: Valeria Icardi and Carlotta Berta

Plants: Yougardener

Location: Nursery of the Commande

The other plants I talked about can be found here!


PEONIA, tips for growing it well

In China the peony is also called "the queen of flowers”And is a real cult object. Since ancient times it was known for its miraculous virtues: the word peony derives from the Greek paionía, that is "plant that heals". Pliny the Elder speaks of it as the plan of god Peon, which was transformed into this flower after having freed Latona from the pains of childbirth.

Peonies arrived in Europe in the 19th century thanks to some English and French botanists who, returning from the East, decide to import its cultivation.

If you want to see thousands of them, as far as the eye can see, in bloom between April and May, take a trip to Moutan Botanical Center, a show that widens the heart!

In the language of flowers the peony means shyness and modesty. In short, it is the right gift to break the ice with your loved one!

Peony, where to put it

Peonies are perennials which are divided into two groups: those herbaceous, the aerial part of which disappears during the winter and reappears in the spring, and those shrubby, characterized by tall and permanent woody stems, on which leaves and flowers sprout. Precisely for these characteristics, the former are mostly used to embellish flower beds and borders, the latter are suitable for single cultivation as a focal point.

Put them home everywhere, except by the sea: they cannot stand the sultry heat, the scorching sun and the salty air.

Instead, they love frost: in their country of origin, China, they tolerate without problems 40 ° C below zero. Indeed, for flowering, they need to be exposed for a certain period of time to the cold winter, so they also adapt perfectly to our Alps.

Certainly use them as isolated specimens, in a focal point (center of the flowerbed, on both sides of the entrance to the house, on top of a hill, bordering the columns of the portico.). But also in spots (respecting the distances between them, about 2 m at full development) combining different varieties in harmony of colors (the yellow ones are better to keep them separate.). Or in a row on the sides of the driveway, for a spectacular passage ..

Peonies are plants very long-lived, can last for many decades (especially the arboreal ones), but generally it takes at least two or three years before the plants reach a good flowering.

Plant a peony

Peonies are easy plants to grow, they tolerate the rigidity of winter well and adapt to any type of soil, preferably not too light and alkaline.

They can be sold bare root (the herbaceous, which appear with a bundle of fleshy roots), or in pot (always the arboreal ones). The specimens sold in pots can be planted in any period, except from June to August.

The best time to plant peonies is from November to February for shrubs from November to April for herbaceous plants, naturally in non-frozen ground.

Find one in the garden or on the terrace cool, partially shaded area or in total shade in summer but in the sun in winter and early spring, for example under a tree with light and luminous foliage, but in a place far enough away from the roots of other plants. Very hot positions are harmful for these plants and especially for shrubs, which appreciate the cool and humid climate typically hilly. Frost, on the other hand, is not a problem as they resist very low temperatures as they are in vegetative rest.

Differentiate the implant depth based on the group to which it belongs. Peonies herbaceous they should be left more on the surface, so that the crown of buds above the roots is covered by just 2-3 cm of earth. Instead the peonies shrubby require that the graft point be placed at a depth of 10-12 cm, to be then tucked up in subsequent years. Leave around them a space of 1.5 m if herbaceous, 2 m if shrubby.

Peony, how to grow it

Watering: abundant when planted between the months of February and April if the soil is not sufficiently moist. Medium and regular throughout the first year after planting, especially in spring. Then only between March and June if it does not rain enough: the ground must always remain slightly damp even in the height of summer but not soaked (beware of stagnation at the root level). On the potted plants sprinkle water every evening on the foliage, in the hot period, to maintain a correct local humidity.

Fertilization: in March and November with a slow release granular product for flowering shrubs (eg for roses) or for the garden. Autumn fertilization can also be done with an organic product: mature manure, pelleted manure, compost, cornunghia, etc. Make sure that the soil remains fertile and light if it were clayey, it is necessary to make holes every year at the end of autumn with the tips of the pitchfork, making fertile soil mixed with sand penetrate to favor the correct aeration of the roots.

Tamping: it is a practice necessary only for shrubs, in the first 7-8 years after planting and sporadically afterwards if necessary, and is carried out in autumn. It consists of heaping a mound of earth all around the base of the stem, to cover the first part of wood. The purpose is to root the shrub graft, so that on the one hand the plant is strengthened thanks to a more extensive root system, and on the other hand the herbaceous rootstock does not take over which, being more "lively", tends to overwhelm the shrub scion if the graft point is placed too high above the soil surface.

Pruning: remove the branches with faded flowers. Every 2 years cut the oldest branches of the shrub peonies.

Diseases and pests of peonies

There gray mold (Botrytis paeonia is B. cinerea) occurs above all in very rainy springs causes the rot of the jets, which darken and become covered with grayish mold at the first signs it is necessary to treat with a fungicide against gray mold.

The foliar eel is caused by Nematodes (Aphelenchoides olesistus) that attack the leaves, which appear chlorotic and translucent and then rot or dry up, while the affected plants have stunted blooms, the soil surrounding the peony must be treated with a nematicide product.

The cetonie (Cetonia aurata and others) are greedy for nectar contained at the base of the petals and, to savor it, they destroy the entire flower and cannot be eliminated except by picking them up by hand and freeing them in the open countryside.

Grow the peony in pots

Only peonies resist herbaceous, in an initial diameter of at least 30 cm and repotting up to 45-50 cm. The drainage it must be excellent and the soil is half for flowering plants and half for leaves. The watering they must be regular even in summer, and one must be added fertilization at the end of June with the granular product.

Shrub peonies and herbaceous peonies, and Itoh hybrids

The herbaceous peonies are perhaps the largest category and contain within them a very high number of cultivars, most of which derive from hybridization with Paeonia lactiflora. The herbaceous plants have a tuberous root of considerable size from which, during the months of spring, the new very leafy stems begin to grow, leading to the formation of low and compact bushes (never exceeding one meter in height). After flowering, at the end of summer, the leaves will tend to yellow before drying completely with the arrival of the first cold. Most of the spontaneous peonies of Europe. Also in Italy, especially in the central-northern regions, you can meet some species of peonies such as Paeonia officinalis, the Paeonia peregrina and the Paeonia mascula.

The shrub peonies instead they are native to Asia. They can grow up to two meters in height, although usually the average size is around one and a half meters. They are deciduous shrubs that tend to develop small gnarled trunks covered with dense foliage during the summer season. The Paeonia ostii, one of the most resistant peonies with an average rapid growth. Its simple flowers are made up of white petals that enclose a high number of yellow stamens within them. This peony was discovered in China relatively recently by the Italian Gian Lupo Osti from whom it then took its name. Another species of exceptional beauty is the Paeonia rockii. The flowers of this plant are also white, with a slightly wrinkled appearance that makes them appear almost like light clouds, while inside them dark red shades draw an eye as a whole. It was discovered and classified in the early 1900s by Joseph Rock, who apparently received the seeds of this plant as a gift from Buddhist monks. Since its discovery it has become one of the most sought-after plants in the world for collectors.

In recent years, there have also been created peony hybrids called "Itoh”Which are the result of a cross between a herbaceous peony and a shrub. These new plants have the merit of producing more flowers for each stem and they also have more rigid flower stems which do not bend under the weight of the large flowers, however they maintain the characteristic of herbaceous plants to dry up the epigeal part during each winter. These too are highly sought after peonies that unfortunately are not always encountered in nurseries, as well as having a very high price.

(with the contribution of L. Lombroso, Gardening n. 5, 2012)


How to grow calla in the garden

To grow calla in the garden and in pots you will need to buy some bulbs which are generally sold from September to December. In fact, already in autumn the Zantedeschia it can be planted in the open ground while for the other varieties it can proceed up to May. The bulbs must be buried in the position of partial shade, but they also adapt to more sunny exposures as long as the earth is always moist and fresh.

Before proceeding with the planting of the bulbs, make sure you have digged the soil well and eliminate stones, roots and weeds. It is advisable to enrich the substrate with some compost or manure in modo da assicurare alla pianta il nutrimento necessario durante lo sviluppo. Scavate piccole buchette a 15-20 cm di profondità e distanziate i bulbi di almeno 30 cm fra loro.

Mantenete il terreno sempre umido e leggermente compresso e, se necessario, ricopritelo con uno strato di foglie secche o paglia per proteggere i bulbi dalle ultime gelate. In questo modo dovreste vedere spuntare le prime foglioline dalla spring, ma non è raro che i bulbi inizino a germinare già in inverno.

Durante lo sviluppo, le annaffiature devono essere regolari e abbondanti. Ricordate che la calla è una pianta paludosa, dunque necessita di un notevole apporto idrico.

Quando le foglie iniziano a ingiallire, sospendete la somministrazione di acqua. Aggiungete fertilizer naturale per sostenere la fioritura ed eliminate sempre i fiori appassiti per evitare la formazione di semi.

SCOPRI: Come coltivare bulbi Nel linguaggio dei fiori la calla è associata alla bellezza femminile e alla purezza.Non è un caso che sia il fiore preferito dalle spose

Coltivazione della calla: i principali problemi

Generalmente, le calle sono piante tenaci e forti che non temono l’attacco di parassiti, afidi o muffe. Attenzione, però, alle escursioni termiche poiché non sopportano temperature troppo rigide o sbalzi repentini. Nelle zone climatiche più miti la calla non deve essere dissotterrata ma può rimanere in giardino anche durante l’inverno.

Attenzione, però, alle specie più deboli che invece richiedono l’espianto.

Ricordate, infine, che le calle si riproducono per divisione dei rizomi e raramente per semina. La riproduzione per divisione dei rizomi deve essere effettuata dopo circa 2 mesi dopo la fioritura. Le calle amano i terreni umidi, drenati e ricchi di sostanze organiche. Temono il gelo e il freddo e preferiscono crescere a mezzombra.

La curiosità: forse non tutti sanno che la calla è una pianta molto tossica sia per gli esseri umani che per gli animali.


Paeonia (Peonia arbustiva)

Description

Genere di piante che comprende sia specie arbustive, dette “peonie arbustive o arboree”, che erbacee o perenni dette “peonie erbacee”. In questa sezione ci occupiamo del primo gruppo. Sono arbusti che possono trovare impiego nella quasi totalità dei giardini, per il portamento ma soprattutto per l’affascinante fioritura.

Impossibile non riconoscerle, nella fase appunto della fioritura, quando producono numerosi e grandi (in certe varietà anche grandissimi) fiori, dai petali leggeri e setosi. Questi possono essere, a seconda della varietà di svariate forme: semplici, doppi, semi doppi, a fiore di anemone, a coppa, frastagliati, ecc…In alcune varietà sono anche profumati i colori vanno dal bianco puro al porpora scuro, quasi marrone, passando per tutte le sfumature di rosso, giallo e viola, anche screziati e bicolori. Purtroppo la loro durata è limitata, ma anche questo rappresenta un aspetto affascinante delle peonie sono piante da collezionare per il così ampio numero di possibilità che offrono.

Le foglie, caduche sono composte da foglie appuntite con margini incisi, di color verde brillante o verde scuro. Il portamento dell’arbusto è generalmente eretto ma con il tempo diventa ampio e diffuso. Raggiungono al massimo 200 cm di altezza per altrettanto di larghezza.

L’origine è spesso orientale anche se non mancano specie botaniche sulle Alpi o in altre montagne europee.

Principali specie e varietà di Peonie arbustive

Paeonia suffruticosa , suddivise in base al colore del fiore. Bianche e crema dalla profumazione delicata. Rosa, con varie tonalità di sfumature e forme. Corallo, tipico di alcune cultivar. Porpora chiaro, non molto conosciute in Europa, ma con una buona rusticità. Porpora scuro, molto ricercate e particolari.
Paeonia ostii , dalla fioritura precoce e prolungata è caratterizzata da portamento eretto e lunghe foglie.
Paeonia rockii , presenta una macchia scura alla base dei petali, vegeta allo stato spontaneo fino ai 2000 metri delle montagne cinesi e sprigiona un profumo molto inenso.
Paeonia delavayi , presenta invece una gamma di colori del fiore molto variabile bianco, giallo, varie tonalità di rosso. La specie tipo, invece è color porpora.

Coltivazione delle Peonie arbustive

Amano il terreno fertile con pH neutro o lievemente alcalino, anche se ancora molti giardinieri considerano questo genere come piante acidofile. Vegetano meglio in mezz’ombra o al sole, ma al riparo da venti freddi e quindi è meglio coltivarle accanto a siepi o muri.

In commercio sono reperibili soprattutto piante innestate (su radice di erbacee), le quali è meglio piantarle mantenendo il livello del terreno sopra il punto d’innesto (anche 5-7 cm), questo per favorire l’emissione di nuove radici dalla varietà innestata. Anche questo è un errore in cui cadono molti giardinieri che tengono l’innesto alto sul terreno favorendo così solo l’emissione di polloni erbacei.

Generalmente non si potano, ma si ricorre al taglio solo di rami vecchi o danneggiati. Concimare regolarmente in primavera e autunno con fertilizzanti organici e perfosfato d’ossa. Pacciamare alla base con humus o compost ben maturo e irrigare solo in periodi particolarmente caldi e siccitosi.

In giardino meritano spesso un ruolo di primo piano, è quindi consigliata una posizione evidente nelle aiuole o nei vasi. Si possono coltivare sia in gruppi di tre o cinque sia come piante singole.


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