Bringing Peonies and other Garden Flowers Indoors

Posted by on Wed, Jun 20 2012 21:13:00

The classic story of ants on your peony plants comes from the fact that you will always find ants on flowers at the time when they bloom and the flowers open. The story tells how the flowers will not open without the tiny feet of the ants gradually and gently prying open the flower petals. Therefore, it is a blessing, not a curse, to discover ants in your garden in spring if you have peonies planted.

The truth is, in early spring, peonies secrete a sweet serum that attracts the ants to their petals. While it is true that the gentle massaging of little ant feet helps to loosen the flower petals on the peony, leading to a faster bloom time, the peonies are not dependent on the ants to bloom. The flowers will open on their own, it will just take longer. You don't need to kill the ants on your peonies, unless they are causing nuisance to other plants or getting into your house as a result.

Although it's an old wives' tale that peonies will not open without the help of ants, the two do have a symbiotic relationship. Ants protect their food source, the sweet nectar on the peony buds, and attack other bud-eating pests, keeping the peony safe from harm. Although it's difficult to remove the ants permanently from buds, you can easily remove most of the ants once the peonies have blossomed.

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