Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting, Plants

How to Care for Peonies

The stunning Peony is a showstopper of the garden, putting in a performance which will stop you in your tracks. It doesn’t need to compete for your attention and equally, it won’t compete with other flowers for food and moisture. Though it’s a hardy herbaceous perennial, we’ve created a handy care guide to help your Peony from the winter season through to the following summer.

If you’re in a rush, you can check out our Peony care tips here: 

  • Peonies like heavy, but well-drained soil. 
  • This plant likes full sun and also shelter from the wind.
  • Use a light fertiliser in spring as over fertilising will cause weak stems and reduced flowering.
  • Deadheading can be done to prolong the flowering season. 
  • Use mulch when planting your Peony to keep the soil nutrient rich. 
  • If planting a bare root Peony, make sure that the eyes of the roots are no more than a couple inches deep. 
  • Choose your Peony’s spot in the garden carefully as they don’t like to be moved. 
  • Deeply water this plant throughout summer months. 
  • You can remove any wilting flowers and cut them back to a strong leaf rather than leaving the stem.

Autumn and Winter Peony Care Advice

Peonies do best in cooler climates. The bare-rooted kind use the valuable winter months to rest and successfully establish themselves before the first frost. 

Before planting, we recommend that you soak the roots of your Peony in water for 30 minutes. Choose a sunny site with soil that isn’t frozen (if so, you can temporarily put them in a large pot). 

When planting, mix some organic matter into the planting hole, and apply a light mulch over the top too. Your Peony shouldn’t be planted too deep as this can affect flowering – having the roots no more than two inches below the soil is fine. 

Pruning

  • Don’t remove the foliage in autumn.
  • Cut back dead foliage 
  • Removing flowers which are wilting and cutting back the plant to the strongest leaf will encourage strong flower growth

For Peonies which have already bloomed during the summer months, don’t remove the foliage in autumn as they will naturally fall. Once the foliage has faded entirely you can also cut this back to prevent disease. 

This perennial will not respond kindly to transplanting in a different spot, so we suggest picking one you can see as your Peony’s forever home. 

What About Disease and Pest Prevention?

The Peony isn’t threatened by much, as it’s a hardy plant and can survive harsh winters. However, Peony wilt is one to watch out for. If you see dark spots on the leaves, remove the leaves and clear up the foliage to lessen the chances of reinfection next spring. 

You may see ants are drawn to this plant but this is nothing to worry about. They will, if left to their own devices, actually protect the plant from pests.

Spring and Summer Peony Care Advice

How-to-care-for-peonies

Going into spring, the mulch placed around the Peonies in the winter will need to be removed, destroyed and replaced with new mulch. This is to prevent diseases which will affect the plant and fungus infections.  

For plants sold in pots, spring is the best time to plant. These plants should be lightly fertilised in spring and deeply watered through-out the whole of summer.

Above, we have the Peony ‘Sarah Barnhardt’. This beautiful bloom is fluffy and delicately coloured making it the most popular peony used for weddings. Hardly surprising!

These plants are a gorgeous addition to any garden as you can probably see from above.  Although they require some tending to in the winter for preventative measures, they are not a flower that generally requires a lot of care. Peonies tend to take a year or more to come into bloom once they do, they may outlive you and me if provided with the necessities they need!