You’ve heard the phrase ‘Like ants at a picnic’? Well, ‘Like ants on a Peony’ is more like it!
If you’re a long time Peony enthusiast you know exactly what we’re talking about but, if you’re new to growing Peonies, the first sight of ants crawling all over the buds may completely freak you out!
Your first reaction may be to shake them off or to, heaven forbid, spray them but, hold the spray can while we take a look at the beneficial relationship between the tiny ant and the magnificent Peony.
A popular belief is that ants tickle the Peony buds, coaxing them to open. While this is a charming idea, that’s all it is. The real relationship between them is one of nurturer and protector.
Peony buds secrete a sugary substance before they bloom which is perfect nectar for an ant. They will swarm the bud, happily drinking all day long. Don’t worry; this doesn’t hurt the bud at all. Actually, the bud is thrilled to have ants crawling all over it. As they nosh, they are also protecting the Peony from bud eating invaders such as thrips. The ant world can be quite brutal as they sting, bite or spray the enemy with acid before throwing them overboard! Yikes!
As wonderful as this relationship is, and we want it to continue, there may come a time when you want to put a few of those fabulous blooms in an arrangement on your dining room table. You just invited the ants to the picnic!
Before bringing Peonies in full bloom indoors, you can simply turn them upside down and gently shake them to re-home any ants that may be lingering.
So now that you know the story of The Ant and the Peony, you can confidently put down that can of ant spray and let the relationship flourish! Come down to Willow Ridge Garden Center & landscape today to shop our selection of peony flowers.