How to Plant and Care for a Peony Plant

My grandmother grew peonies so they became a favorite of mine. Plus they have beautiful flowers and a fragrance that carries throughout the yard in spring when you are craving for the first flowers after winter. Peony 'Suzy Q'
Creative Commons License photo credit: kkmarais

Their glossy leaves also look nice in the border though fall. I plant annuals and a few perennials near the base of the flower for added color. Note: if you plants want to topple over you can stake them or use a tomato cage to hold them up.

Peonies suffer from very few insect and disease problems. They need little maintenance once established.

Planting peonies

  • It’s best to plant peonies from September through early October. Spring planted peonies often mature much slower than fall planted peonies because they must live through their first summer with a small root system but if you plant peonies in the fall they will spent the time making a study root system.

  • Plant your peonies in an area with fertile, well-drained soil that get at least six hours of sun each day. If you live in a hotter area you will want to plant the peonies in an area that gets afternoon shade. A southeast side of a house would be a good idea.

  • Peonies can live for a century if planted properly. They prefer not to be disturbed, so take time to choose the plants location.

  • Peonies can grow three-feet high and wide, so space the plants three to four feet apart. Prepare the plants new home by digging a 24-inch by 24-inch hole for each plant. Mix four inches of compost or aged manure and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of granulated organic fertilizer into the soil you removed.

  • It’s important to plant the peonies at the correct depth. If you are planting a bare root division, dig a shallow hole (two to three inches deep) in the prepared soil, then plant the root clump. Make sure that the eyes are no more than two inches below the surface of the soil.

  • For a potted peony, dig a hole in the prepared soil that is the same depth as the pot. Plant the peony and make sure to set the plant exactly even with the soil line. Peonies planted too deep will struggle to establish, which will cause the plants to and take years to bloom. If you are planting a tree peony, set the graft four to six inches below the soil’s surface.

Peonies are sold either planted in pots, as bare root divisions or as trees. Choose large potted plants or bare root clumps with at least three to five pink growth points. Bare root division usually a greater number of varieties to choose from and they are less expensive.

Enjoy your peony plants! They will add color to your gardens for years. They also make great cut flowers

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