Benjamin Franklin Peony

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SKU
AM014832

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Lightly fragrant, ‘Benjamin Franklin' Peony's deep-red double blossoms join the parade just as other peonies are fading in early summer. Perfect for cut flowers, the large outer petals cradle delicate inner petals for sumptuous blooms that star in the yard or in a flower vase. Long-lived, a peony will thrive for decades. (Paeonia lactiflora)
Zones 4 - 9
Advantages
Bee Friendly
Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Fragrant Flower / Foliage
Good For Cut Flowers
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Mature Plant Size24-36" tall , 24-36" wide
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer
SizeBag of 1
SKUAM014832

USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

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Plant Information

24-36" tall x 24-36" wide. Early summer, free flowering extravagance! Peony ‘Benjamin Franklin’ blooms in June with abundant crimson-red blossoms. The double flowers unfold, inviting admiration with their gentle sweet scent. Peonies are great as cut flowers. Snip when the buds are well formed and watch them unfold. Very cold hardy and deer resistant, plant in well-drained, compost enriched soil in a sunny location. Don’t crowd peonies, good air circulation keeps them healthy and happy. Peonies live for 50 years or more, rewarding you with decades of beautiful flowers. The dark green glossy foliage adds a stately presence throughout the season. Trim off spent blooms, and clean up wilted foliage as the season ends. They will send up new shoots in the spring. 

More Information
SKUAM014832
Item Package Size
Bag of 1
Common Name
Peony Benjamin Franklin, Double Peony
Botanical Name
Paeonia lactiflora Benjamin Franklin
Zones
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Light Requirements
Full Sun
Flower Color
Red
Mature Height
24-36" tall
Estimated Mature Spread
24-36" wide
Bloom Time
Late spring to early summer
Planting Depth
Plant so that the top of the root is 1" below the soil line.
Ships As
Bare Root
Foliage
Glossy green oval-lance shaped leaves.
Soil Type
Loamy Soil
Soil Moisture
Average, Well Draining
Advantages
Bee Friendly, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Fragrant Flower / Foliage, Good For Cut Flowers
Planting Time
Fall
Neonicotinoid Free
Item Unit
Plant
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada
No
Planting & Care

Planting Peonies

Adding peonies to your garden is easy. Plant in full sun in most regions. In colder regions, planting peonies in shade will result in weak stems and less flowers. In warmer regions or where spring is hot and dry, choose a site with afternoon shade. Plant in average or well-draining loamy soil. Peonies prefer soil that provide moisture, but isn’t water logged. Add compost if needed before planting.

Planting Steps for Herbaceous and Intersectional (Itoh) Peonies

  1. Choose a site with well-drained soil away from any competing roots. Peonies thrive if left to grow undisturbed in the same location for years.
  2. Dig a hole 12" wide and the length of the roots. This is the time to add any compost in the bottom of the hole. Plant the roots 1" to 2" below the soil level with the eyes (buds) pointing up. If you are planting more than one, plant 2-3 feet apart to allow enough space. If planted too deep, the peony will lack blossoms. Visit our planting guide for a detailed description
  3. Slowly back-fill around the roots, not allowing any air pockets, adding pressure to compact the soil.
  4. Once planted, gently water around the plant. Add a light mulch or chopped leaves to reduce weeds and to regulate soil temperature and moisture. Water every day for 5 days in the morning or evening, unless it rains or there is lots of moisture. Be sure not to over water, as the roots will rot.

Planting Tree Peonies

Planting tree peonies is different than herbaceous and intersectional itoh peonies.

  1. Choose a site with well-drained soil away from any competing roots. Tree peonies thrive if left to grow undisturbed in the same location for years.
  2. Dig a hole the length of the roots roughly 2 feet deep and dig it wide enough to accommodate the roots with some room to grow, roughly 1 foot wide. This is the time to add any compost in the bottom of the hole. If you are planting more than one, plant 2-3 feet apart to allow enough space.
  3. Slowly back-fill around the roots, not allowing any air pockets, adding pressure to compact the soil.
  4. Once planted, gently water around the plant. Water when needed, the best practice is when the soil has dried out and or it hasn't rained. Tree peonies need water to generate root growth, but if over watered, they will rot.

Aftercare

The first year of growing peonies, expect the roots to products 2-5 leave shoots and 1-2 flowers. Year two brings a plant double the size and double the blossoms. By the fourth or fifth year peonies will be full and bushy, with lots of foliage and blossoms.

Staking

Itoh and tree peonies don't require staking, but most herbaceous peony once established, produce heavy flowers that often are too heavy for its stems. You don't have to stake them, but if you don't, you're going to have big beautiful flowers nodding down. So once you have a healthy clump, use peony rings to keep them upright. The rings are simply wheel-like wire arrangements that stand up over the peony like a little wire table as the plant sprouts in the spring. With upright supports, the peony ring is placed so the shoots will grow up through the round wire bale. Of course, the foliage quickly hides the ring, and you have a beautifully-supported clump well before the flowers open. Where to find Peony Rings? We recommend Gardeners Supply.

Pruning/Trimming

For herbaceous and (itoh) intersectional peonies after blooms have passed, clip expired blooms down to the where the foliage meets the stem. Leave the foliage for the remainder of the growing season. As fall arrive and temperatures cool, the leaves will turn yellow and then wilt. For herbaceous peonies trim back all foliage to about 3" from the ground. This keeps the plant tidy and allows new growth to come up without damaging it. In the fall itoh peonies need to be treated similar to herbaceous and tree peonies since they are a hybrid of both. Once the plant has matured its best to trim back so that the herbaceous portion of the stem is removed and the hard wood portion remains. Its best to leave the peonies alone in there first year of growing so that you tell the difference between the herbaceous green stem from the hard wood portion as the leaves die back. Usually mature itoh peonies will leave 4-5 inches of hard wood above ground.

Tree peonies require different trimming techniques. Cut the stem just below the expired blooms. If you trim the stem to far, it will hinder next year's growth. This years green shoots will become next years woody branch. So in the fall, do not trim back or cut to the ground, leave the shrub as is. If you have a mature tree peony and it needs shaping, the best time to prune, is right after it blooms. Make sure to not take to much off the tree as it can really hurt the shrub.

Fertilizer

Peonies don’t need to be fertilized every year. Its best to plant them with plenty of nutrients. Apply bonemeal, compost or well-rotted manure in early summer, after peonies have bloomed every couple of years.

Further Reading:

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