Tree Peony 'Hana Kisoi' ('Floral Rivalry')
This pale pink flowering tree peony strongly recommended by Gansu Zhongchuan Peony Nursery is known for its outstanding features. At maturity, this compact, well branched plant can be adorned with masses of large flowers year after year. This cultivar is an extremely easy to grow and hardy plant that is ideal for shrub borders.
Deserving of its name translated as ‘Floral Rivalry’, this tree peony blossoms into a nest of prom-pink, crepe paper like petals that blush darker toward the flower’s heart.
The seedlings are best grown in deep, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. They are tolerant of summer heat. Add compost as needed before planting. Larger shrubs appreciate some shelter from strong winds. Unlike herbaceous peonies, the stems of tree peonies (which are woody shrubs) do not die to the ground in winter and should not be cut back after frost. No pruning is required, except to cut out dead wood or suckers (early spring best).
If plants become leggy, a moderate pruning in early fall can be done to shape plant and encourage additional growth on the lower part of the plant. Remove spent flowers after blooming. These long-lived plants usually take several years to establish, and are best left undisturbed once planted. Moreover, plant roots go deep and transplanting can be difficult.
Bearing stronger stems and often larger flowers than their more common shrub cousins, tree peonies look like royalty in the flower world. They reach 6 feet tall and wide (or so), and grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. They don't typically require pruning, but if it becomes necessary to control their size, the best time to do it is spring, right after they finish flowering.
This tree peony cultivar is a deciduous, woody shrub that typically grows 3-5' tall with a 4' spread. The light pink-rose petals of the large, semi-double flowers (6-8" across) almost obscure the bushy center clump of yellow stamens. Bloom in early spring (May in the St. Louis area). Medium green foliage is deeply divided into oval to lance-shaped leaflets and remains attractive throughout the growing season. (ex. Japan, 1926).
Tree peonies are considered to be relatively pest free. Some susceptibility to canker, leaf blight, stems wilt and scale. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless.
Floral Rivalry is excellent in border as specimens or in groups. Also effective as accents or hedges along fences, sidewalks, driveways or walls. Flowers are extremely showy, and foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season, either alone or as a frame or backdrop for other flowering plants.