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Ants and Peonies?

May 14th, 2009

What is it about ants and peony buds?
It is believed that peony buds emit a sweet sap that the ants like, it is also believed the the ants help the buds open. You don’t need ants for your peonies to bloom, and peonies will not attract ants to your gardens.

Are you peonies teeming with ants?

17 Comments to “Ants and Peonies?”
  1. ChristyACB on May 14, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I don’t have peonies but I sure do have some ants! Raised beds are like invitations to ants. Argh! But, they do have their uses too.

    ChristyACB’s last blog post.. 2012: Doomsday – The Worst Doomer Movie Ever

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  2. Julia on May 14, 2009 at 6:41 am

    They sure are! I’m always worried that they’ll eat the buds, but I just try to ignore it since the flowers seem to bloom fine anyway.

    Julia’s last blog post.. The Upside of Urban Gardening

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  3. Syrahsuzie on May 14, 2009 at 7:04 am

    I have my first peony bud for 3 years (yippee!) and no ants.

    But in the vegetable garden we finally succombed and put down some blue snail pellets – and they disappear virtually overnight, carried off by the ants.

    Are they in cahoots with the snails?
    Is blue the in colour for ants nests this year?

    Reply to Syrahsuzie's comment

    • Susy on May 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm

      This is my first bud since I planted the peony 3 years ago.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Faith on May 14, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Maybe it’s just a cool place to hang out. They say, “Hey, I’m beat. Let’s go hang out at the Pink Peony!”


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    • Susy on May 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

      Yes like the ant coffee house.

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  5. Garlic Man on May 14, 2009 at 11:07 am

    For ants in the garden use any organic product that contains spinosad:

    And for ants on plants: Ants are attracted to the sweet honey-like sap excreted by aphids. To get rid of either or both, mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of a mild dishwashing liquid with one gallon of water. Spray on plants. This drowns/suffocates the bugs and any surviving ants will vacate the plant. It won’t harm the plant and you can save time if you mix in your favorite liquid seaweed or other liquid to do a foliar feed.

    To prevent any hard shelled insects from getting anywhere, use organic horticultural diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle lightly in the garden and roaches, ants, grasshoppers will hop away or die soon. Not harmful to anything but hard shelled insects. Use a flour sifter or turkey baster to puff the DE (diatomaceous earth) on your plants and garden AND be careful not to breath the dust! (DE Can be used in the house but not near computers, it will cause a head crash in your computer.)

    See for more info. He, Howard Garrett, is an organic expert.

    Mike aka Garlic Man
    Jack County Gourmet Garlic
    Circle P Farm and Ranch
    Jacksboro and Plano, TX

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    • Susy on May 14, 2009 at 10:21 pm

      I actually don’t kill ants, they aren’t really a problem here.

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  6. Dan on May 14, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I have heard that ants help the blooms open by clearing the sticky stuff. I wish my peony would bloom. I planted one 3 seasons ago now and have been patiently waiting. I have done everything correctly like not planting deep etc and have one bud this year. Of course then I had to move it so I hope the bud holds on.

    Dan’s last blog post.. Garden Update

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    • Lish on April 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      We had to wait 10 years for ours to bloom but it was so worth it

      Reply to Lish's comment

  7. Claire on May 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Yes, absolutely – I have a two year old peony with three buds and they are covered. My husband is fascinated by the ants and we only looked it up last night.
    Really great photograph by the way!

    Claire’s last blog post.. Easter

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  8. Judy on May 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Everywhere I’ve ever seen peonies they have had ants on them, but at our new house, the buds are near to bursting out but not an ant to be seen. Hmm….

    Judy’s last blog post.. It’s here!

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  9. Pampered Mom on May 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    We just planted some peony roots this spring so no buds yet. We got them free from my folks – you really can’t beat that!

    Pampered Mom’s last blog post.. A fancy new apron

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  10. Susy O on May 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you everyone for the info… one google search for “peonies ants” and I came up with this great site. I was going crazy over the ants as this is the first year my 4 year old peony is full of blooms but also ants. I’ve been thumping them off with my fingers but now feel like I should go pick them up and apologize to them. :-}

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    • Susy on May 24, 2009 at 12:25 am

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m always excited to hear how people find my site.

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  11. Jacquie on June 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Hey I have peonys in my front bed. They have lots of buds on them but they never grow or turn into flowers. Last year I uncovered the roots figuring it was because they were burried to deep that did not help. Any advise

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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