Itoh Peony 'Berry Garcia'

Itoh Peony 'Berry Garcia'

An abundant bloomer.

 
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Dusty pink petals with rich cream and cherry red blushes. The 15cm flowers are single or semi double and last well in a vase. Quick to grow and establish with 2-3 flowers on a stem. They have a soft, sweet perfume when you are close to them but it isn’t going to fill a room. Nice and compact at around 70cm.

Itoh Peony ‘Berry Garcia’ was bred by Donald Smith in 2001.

Itoh Peonies have all the luxuries without the heavy lifting. They are easier to care for and boast exceptional disease resistance. Their flowers generally last longer and open over an increased period. Their stems are more robust, so are less likely to need staking, holding multiple XL blooms on each. Itoh Peonies are more forbearing of heat and humidity, so are a good choice to trial if you don’t get frost. The blooms usually have a soft perfume and there is a wide range of colours to choose from. The leaves are similar to their Tree Peony genetics and they die back over winter like the Herbaceous Peonies. They are just as long lived too, with the right care can certainly last a century or more.

Itoh Peonies are an intersectional cross of Tree Peonies, Paeonia lutea and Herbaceous Peonies, P. lactiflora – for this reason they are also known as Intersectional Peonies. Their complicated cross can take 15-20 years from breeding to bring them to market, so they remain rare and valued treasures.

Toichi Itoh of Japan was the first breeder to successfully combine the two, in 1948, and they are named in his honour. Sadly the crosses took so long he never saw them flower, but he did pave the way for future generations to enjoy them and his plants are still growing strong.

You will have to be patient to enjoy the flowers of Peonies as they need a little time to establish their extensive roots – they have big blooms to fuel. But the wait will be justified for many years to come as they are extremely long lived. It can take one to three years, depending on conditions to get a good display. They might not look like they are doing much above the ground, but under the soil they are definitely working hard. Mature plants can have a rootball that weighs almost 30kg and stretches up to 90cm across – this takes time to develop. Sadly buds should be removed in the first year to encourage faster rooting.

Plant your Peonies just beneath the surface with around 2cm of soil covering them. If they are too deep, they won’t flower well for you.

Peonies are heavy feeders, so you need to fertilise them regularly (Anzac Day and Cup Day are easy ways to remember when). They like lime, and lot’s of it, so be sure to indulge them.

Peonies need cold winters (3-7C nights at least for around six weeks) for best flowers. As a general rule, if apples can grow so can Peonies.

If your climate doesn’t get that cold, but you still want to try your luck, to give them the best chance in warmer climates, you should seek out a cool spot, with shelter from the hot afternoon sun. Ideally you should mulch well (but not too close to the tuber it needs to remain shallow). They need a winter rest, so if they aren’t naturally going dormant, you can force them into it by cutting them back hard in early winter. Freeze an ice cream tub (or similar) of water and put it on their roots overnight through July to give them a bit of a chill – don’t let this allow them to become waterlogged though. All these are the things will give you the best chance.


Supplied as: Bare rooted
Size: na

Code

PAHBG

Botantical name

Paeonia hydrid

Height

70cm

Width

50-60cm

Flowers

Late Season; spring to summer

Climate

Cool to Mediterranean

Availability

Australia wide

Frost hardiness

Fully Hardy

Aspect

Full Sun to Semi Shade

Supplied as

Bare rooted

Size

na

Water needs

2