How many have heard of the old wives tale about ants
being required in the opening of peony blooms?
Or that peonies will cause an infestation of ants?
When I was a child every old garden had peonies in them it seemed.
I have always lived in or near this small town, you all know that town where they say if you blink when passing through it you will miss the whole town?
Well that is my small town.
I think everyone had peonies because they were a pass around plant and the women sharing their garden plants and roses was just the normal, economical and kind thing they did.
I remember both my grandma’s had them growing along the fence that surrounded their vegetable gardens or by the front porches.
So Peonies are a sentimental flower to me just because they
a bring back memories of Grandma’s garden so it is only natural that I had to have at least one peony growing in my flower garden.
I also remember that the peony buds were always full of these big black ants.So when the ants started getting on my peony buds I got curious and living in this great age of computers and Google I did a search about ants and peonies.
Little did I know that there was this idea that peonies had to have ants to open the blooms. Another claim was not to grow peonies because they cause an infestation of ants.
I had to chuckle about all of the stories that were flying around out there in cyber space about peonies.
So when in doubt you go to the source and
Peony grows should know all of the facts.
In this instance I went to the Heartland Peony Society website. Low and behold they have a fact sheet just on the
subject of Ants on Peonies.
On both subjects of needing ants to causing ant infestations
it seems they both may be an old wives tale.
The ants are attracted to a nectar that is produced by the blooms but the ants are not required to open the buds for the peonies to bloom. And in fact the ants are attracted to some peonies but not all peonies so they do have their favorite buds. And although the nectar attracts the ants to the buds they leave when the blooms are open and move on to other delicacies so you will not get infested with ants because of growing peonies.
But I kind of like the old wives tale and like to think that just maybe the peonies need the ants to open their blooms.
So just enjoy your big beautiful peony blooms and determine your own ideas or tales about them.
What can it hurt?
I have enjoyed this pink Sorbet peony for many years now
and the ants come and they go.
I have planted a couple more peonies in the last year but they have not matured to give me blooms as yet so I am holding on to the hope that just maybe this spring…