Question: Is it true or false that Peony flowers won't open up without help from ants
Answer: This is false! Our deciduous shrubs and perennials is that they do go dormant in the winter. As our days get shorter starting with the Summer Equinox, plants slowly start to pull all their energy into the roots which allows them to winter over. After the Winter Equinox, that’s when our plants start slowly coming out of dormancy as the days get longer. Once they are fully out of dormancy, they start actively growing and blooming to go through their lifecycle. In New Jersey, Peonies will bloom between late April to early May where the temperatures can be still pretty cold.
Ants come out of hibernation when it gets warmer out, therefore they do miss the chance to help out a peony bloom if that was their role especially in New Jersey and in the states from the north east to the north west where winter can feel like forever. Ants and other insects start coming out on warmer days. I start noticing insects starting to make their way into the world late May. Sometimes I get to see bees mid May if I am lucky. I have noticed this year that ants are constantly climbing all over plants. Ants and plants have a relationship called mutualism. Mutualism is two organisms benefiting from the activity of each other. Peonies, as well as other flowers, provide ants nectar and the ants protect the plant from insects, such as aphids, that feed off of the plant. Ants help out the plant as a food source; they do not aid in blooming.
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