Peonies begin to sprout in early spring -- but before they do, the buds attract a lot of attention.
You may notice your peony plants are covered in ants this time of year but don't be alarmed: that's just nature doing its thing. Peonies and ants are the perfect pair.
"There's an old wive's tale that says peonies won't open if you don't have ants on the buds," gardening expert Nikki Jabor told The Weather Network in 2020.
"That's not really true .. but they are two different organisms that benefit from the activity of each other."
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When ants crawl over peony buds, they're taking advantage of the flower's nectar.
They're also defending the plant against other insects that may eat the flower buds or the stems.
Think of them as bodyguards, protecting your plant from dangerous insects.
If you'd like to cut the flowers once they've bloomed, give them a shake and a twirl to dislodge any ants before taking them inside.
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