A well-known genus of hardy plants, natives of America, Asia and Japan, which are excellent plants for the decoration of the herbaceous border or for groups in the shrubbery. The species Paeonia officinalis have deciduous stems and perennial roots. Their flowers, both single and double, which range in color from purple through red and pink to pure white, are very effective in grouping and are also great favorites for cutting for room decoration.
Paeonia Moutan, the Japanese species, are highly decorative, and, having a range of color quite as extensive as the herbaceous species, are also most desirable plants for planting in groups in the shrubbery or garden-border. Their flowers are of immense size, single and double, and most gorgeous coloring.
Plant them in January in heavy rich loam which is at least two feet in depth, care being taken not to cover the crown of the plant too deeply, not over one inch of soil covering the crown. During the season of growth, they should be watered generously, and the surface of the soil should be well mulched with old manure. The clumps of the herbaceous species should not be moved or disturbed more often than once in five or six years, as it is found that disturbing their roots has a weakening effect on the plants. Plant them about three feet apart each way. If left alone and in good soil they will soon form large clumps. Propagate the herbaceous species, in Winter or early Spring, by division of the roots, and the tree Moutan or Japanese species by grafting on to the roots of the herbaceous kinds in Winter.