Peonies are a popular plant that begins to sprout in early spring, and before they bloom, their buds attract a lot of attention, particularly from ants. While you may notice ants crawling all over your peony plants this time of year, don’t be alarmed. In fact, ants and peonies have a mutually beneficial relationship.
Ants love peonies because they’re attracted to the flower’s sugary nectar. As the ants crawl over the buds, they also help to protect the plant from other insects that may harm it. Ants are like bodyguards for your peonies, defending them against pests that could eat the buds or stems.
In return for their protection, peonies offer ants a steady supply of nectar. Additionally, the buds of peonies provide ants with shelter and a place to lay their eggs.
While there is an old wives’ tale that peonies won’t open without ants on their buds, it’s not entirely true. Peonies will still bloom without ants, but the ants’ activity does help the plant to grow and thrive.
According to IPM, The connection between peonies and ants is a beautiful example of mutualism, where two species team up for the greater good. The showy flowers of the peony provide a sweet reward in the form of nectar for the diligent ants, while the ants act as devoted bodyguards for the buds. These tiny protectors go above and beyond to ward off any intruders who would dare to damage the delicate blooms. It’s a dynamic partnership that benefits both parties – the peonies get safeguarded and the ants get a tasty treat.
There’s no need to reach for the insecticide when you spot ants on your peony flowers. These little visitors are just passing through, so there’s no need to worry about long-term damage to your plant.
When it’s time to bring your peonies indoors for a stunning floral display, simply hold them upside down by the stem and give them a gentle shake to send the ants on their way. Alternatively, you can give the blooms a light rinse to remove any stragglers before arranging them in a vase. This way, you can enjoy the beauty of your peonies without any unexpected guests.