You've come to the right place to follow a trail and error journey.
The very first flower I wanted to grow as a cut flower was a peony. I had dreams of a Texas Tulip sized operation where people could come cut peonies straight from the field. I LOVE them!
In fact, my family and I tried planting a few in the spring of 2020 with no luck. After studying these plants and their growing habits, I know where we might have gone wrong. They enjoy the cold weather, and though various species can grow in zones 3-8, it is not always easy in the warmer climates (we are in zone 7). This is evident by the fact that there are not a ton planted in gardens around here (because trust me, they would be if it were easy). Simply stated, they love the cold as much as I love them.
I came to this revelation on our trip up to Mount Rushmore last June (2020). We were driving through a town in South Dakota. I was casually looking out the window when I sighted foliage that looked familiar. Dad kept driving, but my eyes were peeled. I looked closer, and sure enough, there were peonies EVERYWHERE. Not only did I see their foliage, most of them were IN BLOOM. I almost made my dad stop at a random house, and looking back now, I should have. These beautiful flowering perennials were thriving.
The take-away from this story is that it gets cold in South Dakota - cold enough to give these guys a decent dormant period in the winter. Could that just be the key?
So, fast forward a month, and there I was ordering a lot of tulip bulbs. A quick look around the website brought me to some bare-root peony plants. Remember, this is after I was unsuccessful in getting them to last through the summer from my spring planting. I quickly added 10 to my cart - because gardening is a game of trial and error, and I am not one to give up (like ever). So, I was going to trial these 10 precious bare-roots. My plan was to plant them in various locations in the yard to test their ability to grow in different areas - with full sun, in raised beds, or with just morning sun.
They came in and I planted them in pairs all over this fall. By planting the bare-roots in the fall, the plant would have the time to go dormant and get established before the heat of the summer prevails. Now we are in the waiting time period - all the way until springtime.
1.9.2021 Because I couldn't stand to not know the status of some of these guys under to soil line, I dug a bit - looking for any sign of life that I could find. Sure enough, it is ALIVE, and growing. Don't worry, I covered it back up, gave it a drink, and can NOT wait to see it in a few months.
1.23.2021 NO WAY THEY ARE COMING UP!! 🥰