How to grow peony in a pot

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The peony plant is a perennial featuring large, ornamental blooms in colours that include white, pink and red. Peony blooms emit a slight fragrance, making them ideal flowers for cut arrangements. To keep the tuberous peony roots from competing with larger root systems for food and water, plant them in pots. Growing peony plants in pots provides growers the opportunity to move the peony plant anywhere in the garden to give it prime sun exposure. To have a healthy and beautiful peony plant, you must provide the peony with essential growing basics.

Prepare the peony in the fall for spring growth by obtaining a large pot for each peony plant. It needs a planting depth of at least 12 inches. Layer the bottom of the pot with 2 inches of broken pottery pieces or pea gravel.

Fill the large pot halfway with equal amounts of composted manure and potting soil. Create a hill in the centre of the soil with additional potting soil. Place the peony root on top of the hill and spread the roots around it so they cascade down the sides of the mound.

Add soil to the hole, only covering the top root buds with 1 to 2 inches of soil. Pack the soil down gently to remove air pockets and water well until it drains from the bottom.

Cover the soil within the pot with a 2-inch layer of weed-free straw and continue to water the peony deeply once every two weeks. The straw helps keep warmth and moisture within the soil so the peony bulb does not dry out. Reduce the amount of water given to once every two weeks -- or before the soil begins to lose moisture -- during the winter.

Move the straw aside as you see the first peony sprouts in early spring. Be careful not to swipe the sprouts with your hands as you move the straw, as this may damage the peony sprouts.

Add 2 to 3 tbsp of liquid, balanced fertiliser to a watering can. Fill the can with water and feed the peony plants once every month during its first growing season.

Water the potted peony two or three times weekly, or more when hot weather makes the soil within the pot dry at a faster pace.

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