With the right conditions and care, peony bush plants can thrive in nearly any garden setting. In this article, we will discuss the many ways on how to effectively grow these amazing flowers in your own backyard.
- Where to Plant a Peony Bush
- When to Plant Peony Bushes
- Growth Through the Years
- How Do You Keep Peonies from Falling Over?
- When to Expect Peony Blooms
- Preparing for Winter
Where to Plant a Peony Bush
USDA Growing Zones
Peony bushes do well in cooler climates– growing zones 2-8. Click here to find out which USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in if you don’t already know. Central Indiana, where I live, is in zones 5 and 6.
Peonies love full sun. Mine are planted on the south side of our house, where they receive sun from morning to evening. But if you live in a warmer climate you may want to plant them in partial shade.
Plant peony tubers no deeper than 2 inches deep. If peonies are planted too deep, they won’t bloom.
When to Plant Peony Bushes
Store Bought Peonies
If you purchase peonies from a nursery, you can plant them in the spring or fall. Although I recommend planting in the fall.
Plant roots divided from a mature peony in the fall. If you need to transplant a peony bush, you should do it in the fall. And plant peonies 2-3 feet apart.
Transplanting Peony Plants
Here’s how to dig up and transplant peony bushes.
Growth Through the Years
Peonies take a few years to get established, but there are a couple ways to encourage growth. And once they’re established, peony bushes can live to be 100 years old.
This is what my peonies looked like in the spring of 2012.
Here’s what the peonies looked like in the spring of 2013.
As you can see, the blooms will start to droop due to the weight of the flowers. To keep peony plants from drooping, you can use these or these. Just put them over your peony plants as they start to sprout out of the ground. The peony stems will grow into them and be supported.
How Do You Keep Peonies from Falling Over?
Peonies are a top heavy flower. Use peony supports to keep them from toppling over.
When to Expect Peony Blooms
I have two peony bushes I purchased from a nursery and five bushes that were divided and replanted from mature peony bushes.
Also, keep in mind that the blooming period for peonies is very short and they only bloom once. They bloom in late spring, not to be confused with early summer.
Store Bought Purchased Peonies
I planted the two nursery-purchased peonies in the spring of 2010. These two bushes didn’t bloom until the spring of 2013. It took them three years to produce any blooms. It was disappointing to not see blooms for 3 years, but that’s typical with new peonies.
Below is a photo of one of the nursery-purchased peonies. You can see it was about 3 feet tall and had a good amount of flowers for the first year it produced blooms.
Divided Peony Growth
I’ve had much more success with the peonies that were divided from mature plants. I would plant the divided peonies in the fall, and they would produce at least a few blooms the following spring.
This is the first peony I planted in the fall of 2009. My parents divided one of their mature peonies and brought me a portion to plant. It’s massive now– about 5 feet wide.
Here’s what it looked like in the spring of 2012.
Ants are attracted to the nectar peony buds produce. If you check out your peony buds early on, you’ll see the shiny, sticky nectar on them. The ants aren’t harming the peonies so there’s no need to spray them with chemicals to kill the ants. Let nature take its course.
Bringing Blooms Indoors
If there are still ants on the blooms before I bring them inside, I gently shake the blooms (holding them at the base of the bloom). If that doesn’t work, I run the bloom under water from the outside hose or fill the kitchen sink and dunk the blooms in the water so the ants float off. Then I send the ants down the drain with the water. And sometimes I’ll pick the ants off with my fingers.
When the peonies wilt, I deadhead them. Deadheading is when you cut off a bloom that has run its course. By cutting it off, you encourage the other blooms on that stem to open because the plant is no longer trying to support the wilting flower. Deadheading isn’t necessary, but it promotes root growth.
Preparing for Winter
After the first frost in the fall, cut the peonies down to 3-4 inches above the ground and throw away the dead plants. Next spring the plant will send new shoots up from the soil.
- 6 Ways to Make Fresh Cut Peonies Last Longer
- Trader Joe’s Peonies – Available This Spring!
- How to Transplant Peonies
- Peonies and Ants
- Peony Growing Season
- Sarah Bernhardt Peony