Growing Peonies – Peony Bush Care
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 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 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.
Plant food isn’t necessary for peonies, but I LOVE using this product (find it here and here) on the annuals I plant in my window box and planters.
See my 2014 peonies here and here!
Take a look at my 2015 peonies here and here!
Scope out my 2016 peonies here and here!
- How to Transplant Peonies
- Peonies and Ants
- Peony Growing Season
- Sarah Bernhardt Peony
- 2017 Peonies
- How to Support Peonies – Keep Peonies from Falling Down
I love peonies so much!! And this is funny because I was talking to my husband non-stop all weekend about how I wanted to plant a bunch around our house. I may have missed this because I was distracted by the beautiful pictures, but how much sun do they need a day?
Hi Lisa! My peonies get full sun for 12+ hours per day. But full sun is considered at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Awesome!! Thank you Chelsea!
We were lucky enough to move into a house that had gorgeous peony bushes planted in the back yard. They receive FULL sun, all day long, in the hot SW Missouri summers and are gorgeous! Good luck! 🙂
I used to think that “full sun” did indeed mean exactly that – full sun with no reprieve. My peonies bloomed beautifully, however, after the blooming period was over, in time, the sun did dry up the edges of the leaves. The “6-hour” full-sun idea makes more sense and you will enjoy healthier foliage after bloom-time is over.
What and when do fertilize your peonies?
Normally, I fertilize after sprouts have just a few inches of growth. I use bulb food granules and sprinkle according to the directions on the box, and cover lightly with soil. One that comes to mind is Bulb Booster, although there are others that work well, too.
I bought Peony roots that came in a bag of dirt from a local store. Planted them about 3 weeks ago. Will I see foliage this year or will they just establish a root system until next spring?
Hi I have always grown peonies and so did my folks. They are the best plant to grow as they don’t take much care and are so beautiful.. The foliage is pretty even when they aren’t blooming. They really don’t need fertilizer but sometimes I do anyway just to be on the safe side. I read the covered wagons when they moved west sometimes had to lighten their loads and would dump or plant the flowers and they say they are still growing where they were dumped. One thing about planting them is yes they need a cooler climate, (you who live in the South have some flowers I would give a little finger for) but they must not be planted to deep or they won’t bloom and they will die after a few years. They must have sun and I plant them in the middle of the yard. They leaves have never wilted but maybe if you live where it gets really hot and dry weather they could. And do dead head when they start to wilt and next years will be even bigger! But then when they get to big they may droop over. If you never divide them they will still be okay.
I love my peonies. They came to live at my house 33 years ago from my childhood home, where they lived for 32 years after being moved there from my Grandmothers house! Heaven only knows how long they have blessed this earth with their gorgeous blooms! God sure did a great job on their design☺️
I love peonies! I want them – but I live in Arizona. I wonder, could I put the bulbs in the freezer for the 30 days they need of freezing? Ha – well I could try.
Same here in Cali. My garden center said you can put ice on them in the winter. Haven’t tried it yet. Have a few pathetic blooms but still gorgeous.
We live in East Texas, and the first winter we had out peony bushes we iced them about once/week during the winter months – just put the BAG of ice at the base of the plants – didn’t even open the bags. We got good results that first spring. This past winter was particularly cold, so we didn’t ice them. Ours are GORGEOUS this year!!
I love your posts. I am also a watercolor artist, I specialize in florals, vineyards and fruit art. So I had to induldge in peonies. I was so excited I planted 8 beauties. Finally saw amazing blooms. My son came over to help mom and clean up the garden area. He comes in and tells me all the dead stuff he dug up along the fence! OMG… My precious ones were gone… Heart broken I never told him what he did.
Recently I bought 2 from Costco that had blooms. Im in an apartment I will try putting them in pots.
I read at least 50 of your great posts, im wondering how large a pot I should get? I read plant shallow and 4 ft apart.. Someone please fill me in.
P.S. My peonies paintings sold extremly well. I will paint more.
I have one in a pot and it comes back but does not bloom.
That may be because you don’t have any ants in your pot… my great grandma had numbers of peonies in her yard for years and for the first several years she didn’t have a single bloom on any of the plants. When she inquired of another plant-loving friend as to why her peonies weren’t blooming and explained about the ants, her friend told her to stop killing the ants – that peonies will not bloom without ants to eat away at the sheath around the bloom. Sure enough, the next year she let the ants do their job and she had bushes with more flowers than she knew what to do with!!
I live in SC and brought peonies from my folks home in Ohio where I grew up. My Dad always said you had to have the ants for the flowers to bloom. For some reason we never have ants on our peonies here and they bloom beautifully. Have you ever tasted the sap on the buds? Taste it….no wonder the ants love it!
I have the same issue!!
Wonderful foliage and no blooms in 3+ years then completely dies off. I’ve tried different areas of the yard too. 🙁 so sad I wanna see the beautiful flower
Growers in Australia feed their peonies with Dolomite Lime in late winter just before they start growing again for Spring.
Great tips. Peonies will be planted at my house next year!
This is my first bloom year with mine. The plants were given to us by a cousin of my husband, so I’m not even sure what color they are yet as they are just buds. Suspense!
Gorgeous plants! I’m planning to steal some roots from a mature plant this fall because I seriously need some pretties in my life next year.
Thank You for this post!
That’s not just the best ansrew. It’s the bestest answer!
I moved a few months ago and brought one lone peony with me from the old house. This peony was rather special since it was from a relative’s yard back east. I slapped the poor peony into the ground in April and it thrived for awhile and had blossoms, and now it is shriveling up and the stems on some are blackened at the bottom. I knew I did not take special care of it, but I was slapping stuff in the ground right and left to get some starts from the old house. Is my peony destined for the peony graveyard or is there something I can do to cure it?
Oh no! I’d remove the blackened sections and see if that helps.
Hi Chelsea, I could use some advice. I purchased a peony “plant” actually it turned out to a slice of the base of one, It appeared to be sprouting but it was nit quiet time to place in the ground. Finaly its in a pot outdoors but I don’t see anything sprouting, yesterday I decide to dig it up (its in a pot so that I can watch it more carefully) , its got a little bit of root, seeingbyou talk about spring , should I just be patient and see how it progresses?
Thsnk youm Marlena
Don’t give up on it yet! I planted some last spring and they turned black when the weather got cold, but they’re back! They look even better than when I first planted them and have more buds than last year. My mom always tells me to give plants at least a year after you think they’re dead. Sometimes (often) they’ll surprise you! Good luck!
Truly, peonies are hardy. 🙂
Barb, you have planted them to deep! Raise them up until just the tops are less than an inch under the soil!!! Even if you have one stalk left of that special plant left, do it. It will come back for you I am sure!!
Your problem was that you transplanted, rather than dividing and then planting. Peonies need to be divided when moved. I had this same problem some 25 years ago. We bought a large peony that we had dug from a plant sale (the land was going to be subdivided and built on, so the retiring couple held a dig-your-own plant sale for charity on their five acres). We dug a mature peony, and did as you did. We transplanted the entire root structure. Well, it did nothing; no blooms and sickly foliage. Only after speaking with more experienced growers did we learn that peonies need to be divided into divisions of 3 to approximately 6 eyes, about the size of your hand. Then replant with the eyes facing up, one to two inches below the soil surface. So, dig it up in Autumn, or buy from a peony nursery. I now grow well over 100 varieties of peonies.
I am going to try this – Mine werre dug up for house repairs and now all I get is follage that looks ike it has a fungus – and that has been 3 years now. Cross your fingers and I will split them in the fall…and see what happens!
Steve, mine blooms beautifully, then it looks like a moldy mess, what are the “eyes”?
So pretty! And from that map it looks like I could grow some!
Right now I’ve got a hydrangea that is growing crazy, I’m hoping to plant a few more and have a yard full of hydrangeas. I have a problem.
First off I just have to say that I LOVE your blog, I just recently came across it and have already found several projects I must try!
Your peonies are beautiful, I have always loved them but have been hesitant to plant any for some reason. I was just given one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to plant it yet so your advice is very timely for me!!
Thanks for sharing your tips, Chelsea! I have one peony that a nursery planted in the spring of 2012. It has grown quite a bit in a year, but there were/are no blooms on it. I’m in SW Ohio, Zone 6, so I think it would’ve bloomed by now. Good to know that it can take a while 🙂
I love Peonies! It is my favorite flower hands down! This is great information on growing! I would love to grow some peonies in the spring next year for our new house! I don’t know if I have the patience to wait years though 😉
I just bought a new peony bush and was wondering when it was going to get with the program and give me some flowers. THREE YEARS?! Geez! At least I know that’s normal now so I won’t get mad at it.
I remember admiring them at my grandma’s house and I would love to grow some of my own.
Thanks for breaking down the steps needed to plant and maintain peonies. It doesn’t seem to be as daunting of a task!
I was told that you can’t plant them too deep or too shallow. Do you know how deep to plant them. Thank you so much for the beautiful pics and the info.
Peonies like to be planted sort of shallow, 2-3 inches, so they can achieve dormancy in the winter.
Hello Chelsea, I live in southern California and have over 50 peonies plants in my yard. I have about ten that have not bloomed and others that are just beautiful. What do you fertilize with and what time of year do you fertilize ?
I normally fertilize after sprouts of green are growing a few inches and I use bulb food granules. There is one called Bulb Booster, that comes to mind, but there are others that work well.
where do i buy peony bulbs?
No clue. I’ve never bought them.
Argh! I’m zone 9/10!!! I gotta get out of Florida! These are so beautiful. I would love to have some of my own. Maybe one day. In the mean time I’ll just enjoy your photos. 🙂
I see I am late to the thread so you might not see this but I’ll give it a shot. I’m in GA in a zone that *technically* should be able to grow peonies. We barely kissed freezing temps this past winter, though, and for very short times. I planted peonies last fall in a fit of optimism. I had two buds, which surprised me since they were bare root babies, but I read a trick from a peony grower in FL that I’m going to try this winter.
Freeze sheet cake pans of water and put them over where your peonies are planted. She does it for about six weeks and gets blooms. I wouldn’t recommend you spend a fortune on plants, but you might try this with one or two. Festiva Maxima is supposed to be the one that is most reliable in hotter climates. The other thing we are supposed to do is cut them down almost to the ground at the end of the season. Mold/fungal infections are a problem for them in hot, humid climates.
I live in Australia where it doesn’t get cold enough in winter for the peony tubers, but I also LOVE them and have been determined to grow them! I was advised to place ice cubes on the soil around the dead stems three times during the winter and they have grown back every spring for the two years that they’ve been in the ground. I have 3 plants, the first year I got one bloom on one plant and last Spring 1 bloom on one plant and 3 on another…so slowly but surely they are growing happily. Hopefully this could work for you.
Hi Julia, Whereabouts are you in australia? Im in melbourne CBD, and despite reading that its no where near cold enough, Im determined to try… and with lots of ice. If it doesn’t work, at least ill have a nice bush? Also, how often do you water it? Thanks 🙂
I have a question, in the fall do I let nature do its thing or can I cut them back? Thank you, Nancy
I cut mine back after the first frost in the fall.
i just throw a container of ice from my freezer now and then on each bulb after cutting dead stalks off in winter. Learned this from my friend and neighbor. It doesn’t freeze much here like it did a few years ago. But they do like the cold while dormant I hear. I don’t have any ants. What’s wrong with this picture. My friends won’t plant them because of ants. My best is Sarah Bernhardt from Costco.
Is Sarah Bernhardt and Best Man peony bare root are the same characteristic blooming flowers and petals ?
My peony. Is old, but last Summer & this Summer the leaves were gray. Mold?
You could grow them and after they bloom dig the bulbs up and put in bottom of frig for the winter maybe even wrapping them in brown bags and letting them freeze for a week. Then plant them in the spring. Alot of work. But there are several bulb plants you can do this way in to warm climates.
OMG – that is what I (sort of said) above. I am going to try it, I don’t care how much work it is! I love love love Peonies!
Thank you Lisa for the info.
Thanks for the tips! The bush part of the peony is beautiful too! I have zero luck with plants of any kind, so I’ll just enjoy your peony harvest each year! 🙂
I dragged my dad around garden centres last weekend desperate to find a peony but couldn’t find any! Was so disappointed!! But as you’ve said you can plant them in the fall I may look again later in the year. This makes me happy but not sure my gardener (aka my dad) will be! I’m in the uk so couldn’t check the hardiness zone but my next door neighbours plants seem to be thriving so fingers crossed! Thanks for the post!
Purchased 3 peonies from Lowes…..still sitting in pots after 3 weeks and have some dark spots forming on the leaves…….any ideas as to what it could be? Total novice here!
Chelsea, peonies are my absolute favorite !!! My grandma had a HUGE peony bush in her yard when I was a kid, and she would let me take a bouquet to my teacher at school – I’d have to shake off the ants too! I live in Evansville IN — my peony bush is several years old and gets afternoon sun. However, I only get three or four blooms a year … any idea how I can get it to bloom more?
I didn’t realize that it may take 3 years for new peonies to bloom. Have been waiting for some that I planted a year or so ago to bloom and almost pulled them out this year. Will wait another year before I do some thing drastic like that. Before I moved to the beach I had a amazing peonies in my yard, in fact was able to bring back some of those this year after a visit with my friend who bought my old house.
Thanks for the information.
I have peonies to and when I first planted mine the darker colored ones took longer to bloom. Don’t know if that has anything to do with it.
I read the following regarding peonies, which proved to be the case for me in the northeast; first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap.
Great post and your Peonies are so beautiful! My Dad just moved into a house with two huge mature Peony bushes and I just so happened to cut some and bring them home to find this post! Question for you though; do you cage yours at all? His are SO big that the flowers bloomed and then the fall to the ground from the weight. Doesn’t help that we’ve had wind and storms for the past two days…I can’t wait to divide up some of his bushes this fall! thanks again!
Thanks for posting this, Chelsea! I planted a peony bulb in 2011 and, while it has beautiful leaves and has sprouted to a hearty 2 1/2 feet, I still don’t have any blooms. I am hopeful that next year, I’ll see some!
I have had the same experience with transplant vs store bought. My first peonies were from a bulb but it was all sad and nothing on it but the tuber. In recent years my plants have been sending up smaller plants and I give them to friends. All of them have had a small branch with leafs on it. They have all bloomed the next year. The original ones took about 3 years to bloom and they just had one or two blooms on them. Now I have to put a metal ring support around them or the branches fall to the ground because it has so many blooms on it and they are big and heavy. I learned the hard way not to transplant even in the spring. I did this a few months ago and I am hoping they will come back in the fall. They look really dry even though they get plenty of water.
Good luck to you all. Peonies are my favorite. I wish I could find some English roses here in the US, they might rival the peony for me.
Hello, love your post about Peonies. I am a fellow naptown resident as well and have always wondered if I could successfully grow peonies myself. I guess you answered my question! Checkout my blog as well: theravenouskitchen.wordpress.com. Love your blog by the way.
whats the best way to seperate the roots to move my plants
Hey, Pam! Sorry for the late reply. I’m going to have a post on separating peony roots in the fall– the best time to separate them. If you can’t wait until try a Google or YouTube search.
Love Peonies!!! However, I’m surprised no one mentioned the ants…..mine are covered in ants when they start to bloom. I was told not to treat to kill the ants since it will kill the plant. The ants are actually good for the peonies. Am I mistaken or is this true.
Hi Jennifer! I’ve read conflicting things about whether or not ants are beneficial to peonies. I do know that you shouldn’t try to get rid of the ants because they aren’t harmful to peonies. It’s thought that ants are attracted to peonies because of the small amount of nectar peonies produce.
I’m really late to this conversation, but every gardener I’ve spoken with has agreed — ants are essential for peonies to be able to bloom. They are hunting for that sweet nectar.
If/when I cut the blooms to bring them inside, I dunk them into a bucket of water to float the ants off.
I asked a Botany professor about the ant question once as I had heard this too. He said they have no interaction other than that the ants like the sticky sap around the flower buds. Ants are not necessary for peonies.
I bought 3 plants from Walmart last year. 2 bloomed this year. I had NO ants and 5 gorgeous peonies flowers. I may have planted the other too deep. It is much smaller than the other two with no buds. I wilł lift it in the fall. Thanks for the tip.
Oh my gosh! Those are some beauties! I know now that i have mine planted too close together. Do you know what variety or name of your peonies are? I had to leave my Sarah Bernhardt in the frozen ground when we moved and it broke my heart. I want to get some more, like the colors you have, plus another SB..always wanted a deep burgundy one but never bought it.
We had a lot of rain in June and early July and the leaves of my peonies look like they have mold or mildew. Do you cut your peonies down in late fall and let them grow back up again in the Spring?
A great deal oof condensation can be a indication of high humidity inn your basement.
The American chestnut is a commercial variety
off tree situated in eastern hardwood forests.
But you will want to learn how to paint rims black?
My peony is a pale pale white/pink and is an offspring of my mother’s plant. She passed away 8 years ago and it was divided about 20 years ago by my Dad’s new wife and is going strong. It’s planted on the west side of my house so is shaded until around noon….it blooms wonderfully every year. I’ll split it this fall and give a piece to my daughter…..let’s keep the generations going…..
That should read, my mom passed away 28 years ago…
I have yo say., your peonies are beautiful. My grandma had the same color. When the city moved the road & took out the peonies at the end of the drive; my grandma was going to let them go
I was living in a rental home with a large yard but it was too close to frost to plant. So I took dirt and all, leaving the soil moist. Placing the peony in a plastic bag then inside a paper bag in the basement
The plant was planted in spring near the house in a spot that looked great. By next year it was huge. The only thing I would change is not near the house. Ants constantly where find on & in the house. Skin-So-Soft on screen did work for that. But I understand why they were at end of drive.
Thank you so much for sharing.
We just bought our first home. & You reminded me of what I really would like. There is no color here. I’ve picked only plants thaydo double duty. Like shrubs as a snow fence that are pretty!
I purchased a package of Peonies from the local home improvement store last year. I planted them (the bulbs) in the ground in early summer I think. They are in a partial sun/shade spot. My hydrangeas have blooms but my peonies look so dead. I live in Idaho, should I replant now in full sun or just wait to see what happens?
They may take a few years to bloom like the ones I mention in the post that I purchased.
Sleep, Creep, Leap! That’s how the peonies roll. Mine are pretty crummy looking; I need to amend the soil, me thinks!
I have some that were my grandmothers, does anyone here have problems with ants and how do you combat them.. I love my flowers, but the ants take them over every year and so far I have not found anything to stop them..
Ants are actually good for peonies.
I live in zone 9, the coastal part of Texas which allows me to have spotty success with plants that are zoned up to 8. I purchased several peony roots in the past and had only two survive (until my landscapers pulled them up…uuuggggg). I plan to retry again this year. I have planted in all exposures in my yard. The two that “took”: One was on the side of my house that receives morning exposure and is shady in late afternoon. The other was straight sun exposure all day long. Go figure. My grandmother grew them prolifically in upstate New York. They are without a doubt my favorite flower. The grocery stores in the Houston area carry them throughout June and my house is full of the light pink (my favorite) variety. The closest we get to growing peonies here on the coast is camellias. Thank you for your post.
I live just north of Houston. I would love to buy a peony plant as opposed to the bare root. Which stores sell them?
I love my peonies, but the past two years I have found a beatle-type bug on the flowers. The bug kills the flower. I have no idea how to get rid of the bugs, I have tried different bug killers. Any help would be appreciated. I live in Michigan, I’m not sure if that helps you help me. Thanks
Chelsea, this post made me wish I didn’t live in an apartment so that I had my very own little garden to grow my own peonies.
We recently moved from a house into an apartment and I dug up my peonies as soon as the ground thawed and put them in large pots out on our deck and they are going nuts! Planted in 2012, bloomed first in 2013 with just a few blooms and now in pots there are 6-8 buds on each plant.
I’m in the SF Bay Area (zone 9) but they had peonies at Costco (bare root) and I have it a shot. We did have an unseasonably cold winter (which they like) and I’m happy to see buds on all of them. So if you are zone 9, you might give it a try! I’ve also heard that you should cut each flower after it blooms to promote growth and that it will double the amount of blooms every year.
My dog destroyed our peony bush last year. He would literally bring me boquets and drop them at the door. While I hated it, he also pulled up weeds so I couldn’t complain too much. Looking at the post, he basically cut the stems 3-4 inches to the ground, is there any hope of them growing back this year? Anyone have experience with keeping the dog away from the peonies? I think he likes the smell too much!
They should come back next spring if he didn’t damage the roots. A lot of people cut back the leaves in fall around the first frost, so as long as the roots are healthy , they should be fine!
Don’t plant them too deep or they won’t flower. I suspect this is why some were in the ground 3 yrs with no blooms. Any deeper than 2 inches is too much. This is a very shallow growing shrub.
do you leave the ants on the plants or put 7 dust on them to kill them? someone said you leave them on ?
Ants will not harm the peonies. They are attracted to peonies because of the small amount of nectar peonies produce.
I’m glad to hear I can leave the ants alone for I thought I had to kill the ants.
I live in Ga. Do I cut the peonies back in the fall or let them die back on their own?
I love my peonies, which they are my late Mom & Dad’s peonies.
Thank you for your advice. Nancy
I don’t cut back my peonies until late Fall. October is a good time to divide well-established bulbs that have multiplied for a number of years. Mine were still going so well after the sixth year and then we moved. So, I never divided my peonies. I really wasn’t concerned about the foliage looking rather be-dragled, so to speak, because I had the peonies surrounded with purple, pink and white petunias (which are so beautiful with peonies!!!) and also some marigolds, which drew the eye away from the spent foliage. By the way, I HAVE left cutting back the foliage until Spring if I just never got around to doing so later in the Fall, but it’s somewhat messy to do so as the leaves from the year before are rather soggy from winter thaw. Either way, it’s no major problem to deal with. I just love gardening…. 🙂
Hi!! It was lovely to see ur peonies grown so beautifully! I am from India ( Mumbai) and winters here r not very cold! Can u please suggest how could I grow peony’s here in this warm weather conditions from peony seeds since I love these beautiful flowers, thanks a ton!!
I have no idea how to grow peonies in a climate like India. You may not be able to as they don’t tend to do very well in warmer climates. If I were you I’d do some Googling on it and see if it can be done.
I love peonies and my peony plant is one of my favorites around my home! For anyone tempted to clip a few beautiful blooms and display them in a vase – the greens don’t hold up well at all once clipped (mine tend to wilt within hours) and clipping the blooms actually results in a diminished number of blooms the following year (but the plant bounced right back the next season!).
Hmm, that’s interesting. The greens on my cut peonies never wilt– well they eventually do after about a week when the whole flower starts to die in the vase. I’ve read that you can clip blooms, but be sure to leave at least 2/3 of the blooms on the plant to ensure growth for the following year. I’ve never had an issue using this method.
I bought my first peony a couple weeks ago at Hondo Iris Farm (it’s in New Mexico, you should go look!). The lady there told me that if I would pour a bucket of ice water on it for ten days in a row (in the winter) , it would bloom like crazy!
That’s an interesting tip! I don’t know if I would try that here in Indiana since we have pretty cold winters and the ground freezes which keeps the roots really cool anyway.
I have some plants that date back 3 generations in my husbands family. They have bloomed beautifully until the last couple of years. Maybe 2-5 blooms per plant. Lots of buds. They just don’t bloom. Not sure what I need to do. They have always been beautifull. Frustrated.
When my buds aren’t opening, I water the bush, A LOT. Almost every bud opens then, as long as I deadhead religiously. This spring I had flowers forever because buds just kept opening. The flowers are a little smaller this second flowering of the buds.
I dread rain after the bush has flowers, because all of the flowers droop to the ground. I started covering them with painters plastic sheeting when rain is coming, no more drooping- :^D
This tickled me. What lengths we go to huh? And that is a great tip, I was thinking – if I get that far – I will put wire up to hold them up and then shake the water off them.
We have peonies that date back to the 1960’s from my grandmother’s uncle’s house. We have divided/replanted several times each time we move (or, in one case, loaned them to my sister while we were overseas!) I had to dig up recently b/c our house is on the market and am worried about replanting since it isn’t fall. Any advice?? It would break my heart if they don’t survive ….
Thanks for the info! I love the blooms so much but didn’t do much research before I just planted a bunch of them. I didn’t realize they wouldn’t bloom this first year. Boo Oh well! Glad you said that so I wasn’t too disappointed!
Please be aware the Peonies do not like to be moved,so be sure to pick a spot that they and you like..I have had mine for 15 years in afternoon sun only,and have moved some to other garden areas as well..I am lucky enough to have the dark pink,light pink,white and the ‘Sorbet’… 🙂
Do you divide them in the fall? I just moved into mu own home and there is a large peony at the side of the house that really isn’t in the best spot. I want to move and divide it. It’s getting to bust out in bloom and I’m sure it shouldn’t be disturbed at this time. I know a fair amount about gardening vegetables and flowers but I have never had a peony. Thanks
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.
I have a plant that I planted 3 yrs ago. Last yr I had buds that didn’t open. And so far this season my buds still have not opened. Is it common to have buds that don’t open? How can I correct it so I can see my beautiful blooms?
Not all of my peony buds open every year, but I get 10-20 open blooms per plant per year. There’s a list of reasons yours may not be opening. Here’s a site that could give you some ideas: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2006/4-19/peonies.html
Hope that helps!
I too had the same question. I am new to peonies and just moved into a new home with a lot of them. They came back in fall nicely and have A LOT of blooms but they have been on their for 2 months at least! It looks like theyre opening, but it seems like its taking forever. Is this normal?
I have 60 ape part peony tubers . I have never bought from an establish plant . Always a tuber from a catalog or from a friends garden. The 18 I bought from the catalog were tiny and I thought these are never going to amount to anything but by late May early June over half had blooms . 3rd year now and they are all magnificent . They definitely need to be staked . Rain and wind will bring them down fast. They are in full sun and a raised bed. They say no raised beds in Washington state for peonies but the ones in my beds are by far my best peonies. I have two peony trees and each year they have got yon bigger. One has yet to bloom 3rd year. Lots of beautiful foliage, hoping for next year!
The rest of my peonies are spread through out my beds and do very well whether in the sun or not. Well drained soil and shallow planting seem to be the key .they do not like to be moved so give them at least 2 ft in between plants. They do not need to be divided for at least ten years and at this point you will get a mature transplant . Most of all have fun And trade with others, peonies are expensive .
I would like to cut some of my peonies and take to cemetary today, but they have not opened, will they even open in a day or two after cut? I do have irises in bloom that I could take.
You have saved the day!! I live near Sacramento, and this is my first year with my peony bush. I did not know it wouldn’t bloom the first year so I have been anxiously looking for signs of buds. Now I will stop looking for a couple of years. Thank you for saving me so much time 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful information. I have 1 bush that is about 5 years old and is currently about 3 1/2 ft tall, loaded with buds. It gets the morning sun until about 12:30pm. How do you divide your plants?
I have a peony bush that I took from my mother’s plant several years ago. It could be even 20 years ago now. But, it doesn’t grow! It never gets more than 6 inches high and of course never blooms! I have been so disappointed! I don’t know if it is our sandy dirt? After reading your post I am wondering if we planted it too far down or if it doesn’t get enough sun. It’s on the west side of the house. Could these things be the cause of it not growing?
The soil and sun could both be factors. If I were you, I’d try moving it this fall to a full sun location with less sandy soil and see how it does next spring. It’s worth a shot.
Thanks. I will try that. Now I am off to find your hydrangea post as I just bought a hydrangea. I’m so afraid of planting it for fear I will do it in. By the way, I found your post through Pinterest.
I have many old peonies and I have found that if you pinch the side buds very early on and leave the primary bud it will produce a much larger bloom. I also use large tomato cages to support the plant . These do not show if you place them early in the spring. As far as ants, I cut the flowers in the morning and submerge the entire bloom in VERY cold water for 4-5 minutes then hold the stems firmly and give them a few hard shakes. Arrange in a vase and let them outside for about 30 minutes. The remaining ants will be so upset that they will quickly leave. Then bring them inside and enjoy.
I love peonies! I moved into my first home about 9 years ago and was all gung ho to plant peonies. I had visions of beautiful peonies growing all over my backyard. I planted several tubers and waited and waited and waited for flowers. The plants would come up every year but would never produce any flowers. They looked like they were stunted. Well, one summer my mom came up and was looking at my backyard. She looked at my sickly peonies and looked at the one tree I had in my backyard and put 2 and 2 together—my tree that I had in my backyard was a black walnut and they are poisonous to peonies! I had no idea that black walnuts produce to a poison into the ground. I ended up chancing it and planting peonies in the way far back end of my yard hoping the root system of the black walnut didn’t reach that far, and they are doing quite well thankfully! So, if anybody is having issues growing peonies or other plants, look at the trees in your yard.
Peonies make me think of my dad who has been gone from this green earth for several years now. He had a beautiful garden of peonies. I have started my hand at it. I now have a plant that is blooming, probably about 3 years old but there isn’t much to the bloom. It seems like it is hollow in the middle. Is it due to the age ? What can I do to make the blooms full? Thanks for any help as I haven’t been able to find any info on this problem.
My Grandma was always so proud of her peonies and was a member of her Garden Club for many years. It is from her that I developed my own love of flowers!!! Her peonies were glorious!!! I took some of the sand in her area where we used to live and mixed it in with my own soil and finally planted some peonies myself. I remember what she told me about the ants. She said that peonies need the ants to “help open up the buds.” Could this be? Well the ants loved my beautiful peonies too much! I took a bucket of water and then swished long- stemmed cut blooms in it gently before bringing them inside the house to display in vases.
Hello! Thank you for this post! I was wondering have you ever had the leaves and stalks turn red on your peonies? I have 2 plants that are in the ground and receive at least 10 hours of sunlight and they look like they have chicken pox. I can’t seem to figure out what is wrong with them. Thank you!
I have a question that I haven’t been able to find an answer for anywhere! Please help!!! 🙂 My mother in law has 2 beautiful peony bushes, a pink and a white. She brought me some tubers from them. I would like to have good sized bushes as well, I don’t want to have to wait 10 years for them to get to a good size. The tuber are all pretty small, can I place them close together to get a bigger bush effect, or does each little tuber need its own 3′ space? I figured they were all close together in the original spot right? Also the tuber are mixed together, so that may be a problem.
When you planted the tuber from your parents, how many did you put in the same hole?
Thanks so much! So glad I found your blog!
Thanks for the tips on peonies. Now I know why mine aren’t doing as well as they should. 🙂
I have about 35 peony bushes that were here when we bought our house. They bloom every year, but if we get a lot of heavy rain and wind, they don’t last very long. My question is foes anyone get that creeping vine that goes over the top of the bushes and almost smothers them. Since I gave so many bushes it’s impossible to pull these vines off. I live in Nebraska. Wish I knew if there was some you could spray on the bushes to kill those vines. I also cut all my bushes down to the ground in about late October and they always come back in the spring.
HI. I would love to read your thought on growing peonies, but I can’t seem to read around your picture that says “see what we’re sharing”. If there are some typos here, it’s because I can’t read what I’m typing (it’s underneath the picture. Any ideas?
For the first time ever after years of growing peonies I have mildew on the foliage. My peony expert from whom I buy new stock says not to worry. It is just a condition caused by the abundance of rain we had in the summer. My expert says plant very shallow – eyes 1/2 inch below surface of ground. I always do what she says and I have wonderful luck with them. I buy them bare root and plant in the fall.
Great stuff but you left out one very important detail … When planting peonies, you must plant the tuber very shallow. If you plant too deep, it won’t bloom.
Great tips on peony replanting.
How shallow should the tubers be planted?
I love peonies and thank you for your added info, I give my red peonies a second life, I trim them before they are at full bloom but opened and dry them by hanging so that I have a wonderful dried display of them, I have tried different colors but the reds work best. They look like dried roses and are lovely. I do the whites as well only cause I love the tan color they become they are kinda shabby sheeck
What a wonderful idea. I’m going to try drying some if i can get my plant to bloom. Last year, it had two blooms, and this year nothing. I think they n
eed more sun.
They love vitamin zink, just like you and I take. Desolve on pour on ground.
Today I purchased four peony utubers. When can I plant them and what do U need to do to prepare them for planting?
My Peony gets so tall, even I use support it keeps bending half way down. How to keep them stay tall? I cut them when it turns all brown.
I love peonies! We have them all over in our yard. Some get full sun, some get only a few hours a day. We counted over 50 blooms on some of them last summer 🙂 Because they are so full, and tall, we have used tomato cages to help support them. We also bought some ring supports from a family dollar store, i think they were $2, and they worked great to support the tall stems. I never think about fertilizing. They are pretty abused in that dept 🙂 When we separate the clump, we do it in the spring, just after we see new growth starting. Replanting them at the same level they were. They do not like to be planted too deeply. 2-3 inches, max, for the best result. Deeper plantings take longer to see any growth, and it doesn’t seem as vigorous. Thats just my own observations.
A note about the ants. We accidentally killed the ants in one section of our peonies, and none of the blooms opened. They all died off. DH, who has had peonies forever, said its because the sugar ants actually prompt the opening of the blooms, by removing the layer of “sugar” that covers the bud. If you look at the bud, its shiny, and the covering is apparently sweet. The ants remove it, enabling the bud to open. I don’t know, but I do know that the absence of those tiny little ants is a bad thing for my peonies!
Where can I buy ‘double red’ bulbs. I have many white ones.
I don’t have a source I can pass along. Perhaps Google search it and see what comes up.
I too have three peony bushes that I purchased from my local nursery. They were beautiful when I first planted them but then this winter they turned brown and look dead. (I live in Northern CA) I read that you cut yours back 3″-4″ from the ground. Do you recommend I do this to mine as well (now or is it too late to prune them) or should I just pinch off all the brown leaves and hope they come back this year?
It’s snowing like crazy here in Colorado so it was wonderful coming across your blog with the beautiful peony pics! Just wanted to share a tip re ants, if you drink coffee sprinkle the used grounds (no flavored or sweetened ones, though–just straight Joe!) around the base of your peonies. The grounds deter the ants and eventually help improve the soil, too, as they attract worms. Your peonies won’t be 100% ant free but you’ll notice a significant drop in numbers. I’ve had peonies for over 10 years, have used coffee grounds on them for the last 7 years, can say from experience that the ants aren’t needed for the blooms to open.
I’m up to several hundred varieties now because I just can’t resist the beautiful blooms! If any of you belong to the peony forums on either GardenWeb or All Things Plants please say hi, I’m LizinElizabeth on both!
So happy to find another Indiana girl who loves peonies! I also inherited some when I bought my home that were doing nicely until the next door neighbor thought they were weeds coming up in the early spring so he sprayed them thoroughly! No peonies that year but by the following spring they were up again and bloomed like crazy. Needless to say, I have them carefully marked now! Sandi
I have five peonies. I can’t remember where I got my first plant, but it has bloomed right from the first. The second plant I got as a root ball at Walmart. It took forever to bloom! I almost gave up on it. The next three I received for Mother’s Day from our local nursery in bloom and they have bloomed beautifully. I love peonies and plan to plant some more! Thank you for your blog.
My peonies were in full sun, then my neighbor planted shrubs on the other side of the fence. Now they are only getting a few hours of sun and the plants are not as robust. Can I transplant now as I am not expecting any blooms from them this year?
I received 2 peonies from my late mother-in-law. She was a great gardener and had a “green thumb”. I planted mine on the north side of my house,which gets a lot of sun and a little shade. For 5 years, they never bloomed. I prayed to her and told her that I really wanted them to bloom. Next summer and ever since,one or both of them have bloomed. Love the color and the smell. The blooms don’t last that long,but I do enjoy them.
We meet again, friend!! This popped up when I was googling perennial garden plans!! 😉 Have a great Friday!! <3
Hah! I’m excited that it came up in a Google search! 🙂 Have a great weekend!
I moved from VA (where I had gorgeous “double” peonies) to coastal NC. I purchased peony plants in bloom that looked just like my old ones but the next year they bloomed with only a single layer of petals. So disappointing! Any suggestions as to what went wrong or how to fix? Thanks
I found this post to be so helpful and I will definitely bookmark it for later. I have been wanting to grow flowers this spring on our patio. We live in a townhouse so I don’t have a backyard where I can plant flowers. Just yesterday, my husband and I went to home depot and bought a potted hygrandea plant. It already has a few blooms on it. My goal is to keep it alive and hopefully add more potted flowers. Do you think peonies would do as potted plants? And how often did you water them?
I live in North Texas and have had peonies for 15 years. Here I plant them so that they would get about six hours of sun each day and they did beautifully. They do prefer the cold and our winters are not consistently cold, so on the times that they are not getting the freezing temps they need I throw bags of ice on the soil every week. This makes them think that it’s cold even when it’s not. It’s not too much of an effort to ensure beautiful flowers in the spring.
I appreciate your post. I have a peony that is dear to me because it came from my Grandmother’s yard. I have had it planted for roughly 5 years now and it has NEVER bloomed 🙁 when it was at my grandmother’s it had glorious blooms. My uncle has given me a piece of advice: I should have two!! So he has given me a start from one of his and I have planted it…waiting excitedly to see if anything happens!
I have 2 peonies, have had them for years and they do not have any scent at all! Can you tell me what is wrong with them? I have always loved the scent of them and am very disappointed they have none!¡
If you ever split yours, I’m in the Indy metro area and I’d love a few starts for our new home. Feel free to email me if this is something that interests you!
Why do home improvement stores sell bare root peonies (in the bags) in spring when you aren’t supposed to plant them until fall? Do you know what happens to them if you plant them in late spring or early summer? One of those oops moments! Thanks; for all your help and inspiration regarding the lovely peony flowers.
Hi Bridget, I did the same oops and now have the same problem. I have 4 bare root peonies and don’t know what to do with them. do i heal them in. put them in the fridge, grow them indoors or toss them. It is june 16 now. any help would be appreciated.
Something has been eating my buds for the last two years. Could it be catipillars? We have Winter moths and Gypsy moths around here now.
I get the buds on mine but they just turn brown they don’t open what can I do pls help I live in Alabama & do you know anything about hydrangeas . Thank you
As a gardener and peony planter for many years, I advise people to cut back the stems once blooming is done. Don’t wait until fall. This protects the plant and roots from disease. Be careful with fertilizers. Peonies don’t need much except sun and well drained soil. Just remember to mark your plants with stakes or plant them on a garden map. You don’t want to accidentally dig up the roots! I have 30+ plants, including some from my great-granparents. Peonies build patience ad smell so wonderful!
Questions for you since you have so many love-lived peonies: Can you ever plant multiple roots together? I purchased a cotton candy mix last year and separately planted the 3 roots. However, I wasn’t sure if you could/should plant them together for a “mixed” bush. I am hoping to get more of these, since i had blooms the 1st year! But was thinking of planting the roots together. Can you help with advice on this? I can find any info… 🙁
I bought a tiny plant last fall. I was surprised this spring to see it was a peony. I was even more surprised when it had light pink full flowers AND burgundy flat flowers. The flat flowers aren’t as pretty, but they don’t droop from the weight of the flowers, so they look better longer.
Hi Chelsea. Your peonies are beautiful. I have one plant in the front of my house that is the dark pink color, and it has been doing well for the past couple of years. I found a cage on amazon that you put in the ground over the newly growing shoots in the spring. It holds up those beautiful, heavy flowers and keeps them off the ground. Even now that the flowers are gone, it still plant still looks beautiful. The cages come two in a pack, and I’m very glad to have found them. Enjoy your flowers!!
Thanks for the tip! What a great product to keep the flowers off the ground.
i bought a house with peonys and the leaves and stems have black spots. They were done blooming so I cut them off to the ground. Do you know, are they dieing or how can I rid the disease they have?
Nope, they get those spots naturally.
It seems no one is responding to questions on this blog but just maybe someone
will read mine and help me. Our peonies came over from England in the 1800’s and came across to Utah with ancestors traveling with the Mormom Pioneers
and planted in my husbands grandfathers garden. I divided a few and have many planted in my front planter. The problem I am having is they only bloom for a few weeks in early spring after that just green leaves.
Am I doing something wrong or not doing something. I ask a gardner once and he said yes but they are pretty for 2 weeks. I don’t like the short blooming period and have considered digging them up. I wished I knew what to do to avoid that.
Does anyone have an answer for this or have this problem?
Peonies only bloom for 1-2 weeks.
Your peonies are absolutely beautiful! I have about 50 different varieties, mostly purchased from nurseries out west, but a few from local garden centers or even hardware stores. I live in southern Ohio. They’re all doing equally well.
I originally planted them far apart, but they have all grown so much that its more of a thick hedge with hundreds (maybe a thousand) blooms every spring. I probably should divide them. Does anyone know if this will increase the health of the plant, or if just leaving them large doesn’t cause any problems?
What I definitely know is that they will do so much better if you prepare the bed as much as 3 feet down, before planting. The way I did this is by choosing where, generally, I was going to plant peonies, and then I had someone come in with a little bobcat and dig down that far. All that clay soil was removed, and I filled the entire space with good topsoil, some peat moss, and a little sand.
I fertilize with a fertilizer I get mail order from Adelman Peony Gardens (which is also where most of my peonies came from), but I’m sure any fertilizer that is 10-8-8, or designed for peonies, would work fine. Fertilizing is easy. You just put the granular fertilizer down on top of the soil right after the stems emerge in the spring, and then again after you cut them down in the fall (after the first frost). I easily have 30 blooms or more on a single plant, now that they’ve been growing several years.
Some peony varieties have fragrance, and some don’t. Most of mine are either doubles, or “bomb” types (huge flowers), and are fragrant. I don’t get enough information from the tags on local plants, which is another reason I buy them from supplies online. One of the older varieties, Command Performance, blooms like crazy, has huge flowers, long stems, and is very fragrant. It is a deep pink in color. Despite all of the new varieties, this one always is particularly showy in my garden.
Hope some of this information helped someone out there. I just love peonies!!!
Hi please help me I just cut my poenies , I was misunderstood I cut them and left 4 inches from the ground I have 4 plants and cut them all..i just read your explanations about poenies…do they get flowers next year?
or do they grow bck next spring?
I too love poenies.
I purchased a peonie from a nursery and planted it last spring in full sun. I’m in zone 8. It had buds on it when I planted it, then we had a very wet spring. The plant lost all of its buds and then began to look poor. It developed blackish spots on the leaves and recently, my husband said, I think your Peonie has died. We didn’t prune it in the fall :(, is it too late now? It’s mid January and I don’t know what to do to help it. I really don’t want to lose this plant. Help!!
Chelsea, your peonies look absolutely beautiful!
A 80 plus year old neighbor of mine with a garden of peonies told me to plant them in the dark, either on a rainy overcast say or at night in a sunny location with a ton of ants. Idk… worked for me!!
I live in southern Florida so I can’t grow peonies outside. Do you know if I could grow them inside successfully?
Absolutely beautiful and we can’t grow them here in Texas.
We had a huge peonie bush in the front garden of our first hose – boy that things was beautiful, it was the only thing I was sad to leave behind when we moved. I think they don;t like being messed about if I remember rightly, you are right when you say they take a little while before they flower if they have been moved or divided. The blooms are so spectacular and yours certainly look happy.
I love these flowers, but they don’t grow around here. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday. 🙂
Thanks for this post. When we bought our house in July 2014, we had no idea what the bush over in the corner of the garden was. What a surprise when it bloomed the next spring with huge peony flowers! I was thinking of adding a few more in that area since one peony plant looked a little bare. Good to know that it might not bloom the first year. Otherwise, I’d think I got a dud!
What about peonies from a bulb?
I’ve never planted peony bulbs. I’d imagine that they would take a few years to bloom since I’ve found that divided mature peonies bloom the fastest.
What should we do about weak stems and droopy blooms?
Have you had a problem with wasps being attracted to your bushes? Mine are covered in wasps. This is just the new growth without blooms. They are near my door so this is really a problem. We have sprayed them with a wasp killer and it doesn’t seem to harm the plants but I wondered if there was something else I could do.
Thank you so much for this post. I absolutely love peonies but have been struggling with the one that I have. I don’t get much full sun but did move it this year to a sunnier location, so I’m hoping for the best.
There is nothing quite like the smell and beauty of a peony!
Hi I love you be in Texas where the temp get around 100 in the late summer. We have sandy soil that plants grow well in and I would be planting them in full afternoon sun. Do u think I should give it a try???
Hi Chelsea, l live in the north central Texas area where the temps get around 100 and wondered if you think they might grow well. I’m region 8. We have wonderful sandy soil and my plants do well. I would be planting them in full afternoon sun. What ya think??
Thank you for your advice on replanting, but would have loved deeper advice on how to divide from mature peonies. How deep to go into mature plant to start uprooting and where to cut for dividing. Then when starting a new plant, do you dig a deep hole and use a certain potting soil to start regrowth?
What kind of mulch do you use? We bought our house in August. and I just started last weekend cleaning up all of our landscaping and getting rid of all the weeds. There were massive amounts of ants underneath the mulch and the aunts were spreading up to our porch. I got rid of all the mulch for now and its just bare soil. Any recs on what mulch is the best? Or if there is something out there better than mulch?
We use black mulch over weed barrier landscape fabric. This cuts down on the weeds.
Hi Chelsea, I just came across your blog and, immediately, zeroed in on How to Grow Peo
nies! It made me think that I have a “miracle” plant! I live in the Central Valley of California – one of the driest places in the country! We moved here four years ago, and when I walked out into the backyard and saw a beautiful, bountiful peony bush I was amazed! We may have a week of freezing temps here – that’s it! I was thrilled!
We do nothing to this plant except water it! We keep the dead leaves on the bush all winter to protect the new growth, and that’s it! This plant must be well established because it gave us 63 blooms this spring! I had neighbors at my door with empty vases! I cut my last peony yesterday, and am truly sad! It brings me such joy!
If you want free peonies, don’t cut the dead heads off. Instead leave them. They will turn into seed pods. I have peonies popping up all over my flower bed each year, and move them to where I want them or give them to friends.
If you cut the peionies at night the ants will not be on them. And I suggest cutting them whey the are still closed.
I love peonies so much and regret that the bushes my grandmother had in their back yard were destroyed by heavy duty diggers and earth-movers when we owned the property after my grandparents had passed on. In order for us to buy the property from the living children (my dad, my uncle, and my aunt), the bank required new electrical, new plumbing, new septic system, new roof, and a new well in order for the home to pass the current inspection laws. Didn’t matter that all those things were fine and working for us, as we were living in the home already.
Anyway, I would love to begin again trying to grow peonies here in Texas where we have lived for 21 years now. I have an east side that needs more color and a south side that could use some tender loving care, too.
Thank you for your blog. I read the whole thing, top to bottom. Might I suggest that you put the older replies under a link where people who want to know about all the questions you ever received. That way, people like me, who just want to know the “skinny” about growing peonies, don’t have to read seemingly endless posts that are repeating and repeating questions that you have already answered.
Just a thought. A few times, while reading all the posts, I considered giving up, feeling like it was a waste of time to have to read the same questions over and over again, but I prevailed, and voila! Here I am at the end where I can thank you for your patience and knowledge, and put up with my venting, hopefully to make your blog a bit more enticing to read in the future.
How do u keep them standing up? I have peonies that I love but they always are weighed down and the the ants have an easier access. Will putting up a dense help? Thank you!
My grandmother had beautiful pink peonies all around the perimeter of her property. She told me her secret was putting ashes from her wood stove on the soil in the fall. I tried fall before last, and had about twice as many blooms on my peonies. I also have trouble getting them to stand up. Some of them have sturdier stems than others. I have staked them up but would like to find some peony cages.
Please could you tell me which varieties of peonies these are? They are lovely.
Through experience I found that peonies like their roots near the surface. The only fertilizer I use is ashes from the wood stove. The peonies are glorious.
I live in northern ca, zone 9b. I just purchased peonies from home depot in 4 inch pots. It is June now,, can I plant them in the ground now? If not how do I take care of them until fall. They are about 8 inches tall in pots.
I live in So Georgia. I’ve been told that you can’t grow peonies south of Atlanta. We are south of Atlanta. Are there ANY peonies that will hold up to the heat?? When I lived in Massachusetts, I had several FRAGRANT peonies. I had to leave them behind when we moved here. Can you suggest the names of fragrant varieties, especially if they will grow down here. Thanks!!!
I live south of Birmingham AL can I grow peonies here? They are so beautiful
I live in Ohio. And have an abundance of peonies! Just about every color as well. However, my plants are so big that they lay on the ground. I was planning to pin them up with fencing. Do you have any other suggestions. I had no idea they were going to be so giant or I would have split them up in the fall. Now it is too late in the season to do anything like that as far as I know.
Thanks in advance!
I use long stakes and put them around the plant. Then I use twine and use a crisscross patterns back and forth on the stakes going up to the top of the stake. But do it as soon as you see them poking their heads up, they grow fast. By doing this they stay up nicely and the plant hides the stakes, no one sees them. Hope this helps.
I have peonies in my yard but they have never bloomed! They were in full sun and wouldn’t get tall. So I transplanted them and they are getting bigger but no blooms!
Chelsea, your peonies are absolutely beautiful! I’ve grown peonies for decades as my mother did before me and your advice is spot on. Thanks for sharing this as it proves you don’t have to have a degree to have a fabulous garden!
I planted my first puny little start in early 2014, it has grown so big and lush, and bloomed this spring. They are so beautiful. It is the pink one, double petals,My grandmother had three colors, white, pink and dark reddish pink. I inherited my love of plants from her.
Another good tip is to use gardening stakes and use twine to make a crisscross up the stake, going across the plant. By doing this right when you see them starting to come up the plant will grow through it and they will not fall over. You may think this will be seen but the plant covers them up, no one will know. I have peonies that make an L shape around our walkway. They are over 15 years old and they bloom every year, very full too. I have never fertilized then either.
Several years ago a friend of mine visiting from Mexico noticed the peonies growing in my yard. Amazed by the huge blooms, he asked, “What kind of flowers these are?”
I said, “They’re peonies.” He looked at me for a minute with a confused look on his face.
Then he said, “You pee on these?!”
I live in Southern Canada. My peony bush is large and is covered with blooms in the spring.Once the flowers open they are heavy and fall to the ground. I have stakes around the outside and use nylon hose to tie up the outside but still they fall. Thanks for the crisscross idea. I read others say that they have blooms all season. Mine blooms and the flowers last only a few weeks, turn brown and die then I just have a green bush. No second blooms.
I love peonies but just as they are in full bloom it rains. Then they are shredded and I am sad. My grandmother had a long line of them and my father took a few. I had some bug my husband covered them with cement. I was horrified to see that. But I will garden on.
My friend and her family just bought a house with peony bushes. They haven’t lived there very long but said the former owner just mowed them over with his lawn mower every year (in assuming fall time? We live in Sourh Dakota, west side) and they came back great every year!!!
When i was a little girl, i remember my grandmother had beautiful Peonies planted in her garden. They were my favorite of the hundreds of flowers that she had in her garden. I wanted to plant some in my garden. So I planted in full sun during the day, but a little shade in the evening time. Like yours, it took three years for them to bloom. They were indeed a beautiful lush deep pink bloom. They are beautiful! I would like to transplant a big clump of Peonie. Do you have any suggestion of knowledge for me?
I would like to plant peonies, but i live in South Africa
is there a place where i can buy or order them??
About 25 years ago, I planted a single peony stem (that had popped up next to my large peony plant) on the grave of my mother’s baby sister. Her grave was in a country cemetery in Indiana, so it only depends on whatever water mother nature gives. Every May, my aunt and I would visit the grave and she would pour an empty milk jug (gallon) of diluted Miracle-Gro on our little peony plant. The plant grew and grew and still puts out over 100 blooms each May. Ever since then, I’ve been pouring a jug of diluted Miracle-Gro on my own peony plants in the month of May!
Peonies are my favorite flowering plant. Coming to Missouri from Southern California, I was thrilled to see them growing here. Enjoyed your article very much. Your peonies are gorgeous!!! This Fall, I will divide mine as you shared. Thanks for posting this article!
Can I grow a Peony in a container? I live where I cannot put plants in the ground, but would love to have peonies again – or A peony. Have seen other questions about planting in containers, but haven’t seen an answer yet.
So I just bought peony plants at Sam’s club last week. They aren’t exactly bulbs but they are little sprouts in a sealed bag with dirt. Should I plant them now? I live in Central Pa and our weather is still cold. I don’t want them to die or rot. OR can I start them in a pot indoors?
I’d wait until fall. Peonies planted in the spring tend to lag about a year behind those planted in the fall. I’ve never started them indoors so I can’t comment on how that will work.
I’ve my peonies several years now and when they first come out, that is the only time they bloom. What am I doing wrong? ??
Peonies only bloom once. The blooms last one to two weeks.
Thanks for the very useful advice, I will listen to you because you’re doing something right, they’re beautiful!! I just dug my lackluster one up because it was in the shade and not thriving at all!! Hopefully I still get some blooms this spring, I did leave a couple big pieces just for that reason. Love your site, glad I found it today! Definitely one of my favorite flowers just wish they lasted longer… here’s to hoping they genetically engineer a reblooming from spring until fall plant LOL
I have a peony that has NEVER bloomed. What am I doing wrong?????
Help needed in Cincinnati, Ohio!!
Are you killing the ants that crawl all over it? If you are that is your problem peonies need ants.
Wondering if these can be planted in a large barrel planter? Suggestions?
I have peonies that are at least 47 years old! When we moved from my childhood home in 1970, my dad dug them up and brought them to the next home which we lived in until my mother passed away in 2002. I dug them up and brought them to my house! They are a beautiful pink. I will bring them with me to the next home and hoping my kids will keep doing the same after I’m gone.
My all time favorite flower! My mother always grew them when I was growing up. Yours are beautiful. I have only ever seen the light pink ones but the darker ones are gorgeous.
This may seem like a silly question but if you use the guides that you linked to encourage the stems to grow up do you leave them on for the rest of the plant’s lifetime (or put back on each spring after cutting down in winter)? Or are they just used when the plant it young?
I moved from MN to TX 2 years ago, brought my peonies with me. I carefully divided and planted them as soon as we arrived. It was Jan ….. the plants have thrived and bloomed both years in Texas. they have always been deep pink, in MN and in TX… this year however they bloomed white…. whats going on? anything I can do to turn them back pink??? I applied coffee grounds,but it was after they were blooming white, this year.
They were in full sun in MN, but here in TX I selected a plot that received indirect sun.
Love your blog
Ladies, just remember to put tomatoes cages or tall peony cages around them in the early spring so they don’t flop and bend over to the ground. Also do this so all those flowers don’t touch the ground and kill your grass or your neighbors grass the flower petals choke out. Also cut those flowers so they dontublow into your neighbors yard. Can you guess that I have a neighbor with peonies? Yes, about 20 of them and I’m tired of raking up and picking up all those bl because of a disrespectful neighbor.
I LOVE peonies! They are my favorite flower and I am always sad when they stop blooming. They are so fragrant! I use wire cages around mine so that after the rain they are not ruined.
I actually have four different color peonies in my yard and I really don’t care for them but I would never get rid of them they were my Dad’s and since he has passed away they’re a good reminder of him but they’re kind of in inconvenient places so this fall I will be relocating all of mine there are probably seven plants total and they’re at least 4 to 5 foot a cross. Crossing my fingers all goes well
I have three beautiful peonies, but the leaves on one of them this year is turning whitish . . . do you know what this is and how I can get rid of it?
I’ve never seen that. Maybe try doing a Google search or Google image search and see what comes up.
We have a beautiful large white peony on the side of our new house but it was cut back WAY too early (july), will it come back next year?
LOve your site!! How old or when are my nursery-bought peony plants mature enough to divide?? I’m a new collector and just remembering my grandma’s very special peony garden!!! Also can they be planted closely with tall phlox for extended blooms??!! Thank you all for such good tips!!
I have about 30 peony plants for several years. This year I had a lot of buds that just turned black and died as small buds.
any reason why they died
Did they get enough water.??
Why do my peonies only grow six inches? Full sun, south side. Favorite flower, and cant grow it. Zone 3a. So sad ?.
I now have over 55 Peoney bushes on the farm where I live in Maine. I have bought them in boxes, from online websites,from nurseries,and been given divided peonies as gifts. (They all survived and thrived, usually blooming a year after I plant them. I do feed them with the natural fish emulsion that I get from the local plant center.) There were maybe half a dozen peonies when I moved here. I add a few every year and I’ve been here 11 years. They will thrive in more sun, but my backyard is more than partially shaded and they do very well there. I probably have more than a dozen different varieties, and I strongly recommend if you are a peony lover to get the Itoh Peoney….they are so beautiful and delicate!!
You can save peonies for later in the season by cutting them a few days before they’re ready to bloom, but passed the hardball stage. I take and wrap the buds in paper towel and put them in a Ziploc bag and you can keep them in your refrigerator, I suggest the veggie drawer for several weeks…take them out and trim edges,put in warm water and then enjoy the blooms!( if it were possible to leave photos in the comments I would )
Thank you for info on peonies. You give me inspiration and hope to try it again. I’ve not done well with the peonies thus far. But love the flower and want to try again.
I have a question. This will be my first time growing peonies. We prepared an area toplant, but I just found out my husband put poly under the dirt. It’s about 2 feet of dirt. Will these even survive with the plastic under them?