Peonies are popular for growing in the garden and decorating in the home, due to their sweet scent and large, double-bloomed flowers. Try these large, delicate flowers yourself!
All peonies should be planted in the spring or the fall and not during a hot summer. Plant peony bare root crown 2" below your soil level. Peonies like full sun with well drained soil. You can use well rotted manure in the hole (never use fresh) or compost to help growth. It's best to mulch new peonies in the winter to protect their roots. All peonies must go through a cold season to allow them to go dormant.
Tree Peonies have woody stems that will stay above the ground all year. New growth starts on woody stems each spring. Tree Peonies are grafted plants. Plant the graft union 4 to 6 inches below the soil surface. They do best in a sun to part shade in well-drained, moist garden soil with high in organic matter. Space peony plants three feet apart for a hedge look. Tree peonies should never be cut back in the fall. Only cut dead or diseased stems on tree peonies. Herbaceous peonies are the most common type of peony and their stems die back to the ground each winter and grow from ground up in the spring. Itoh peonies are a cross between herbaceous peonies and tree peonies. Their foliage will die back to the ground in fall like a herbaceous peony but their flower and growth characteristics are similar to tree peonies.
Early Spring: Keep your peony watered if there is little rainfall. Use compost or aged manure to your soil. If your peony is newly planted it can take up to two seasons for it to get its first bloom. Be patient, it's worth it. Cut flowers as desired for beautiful cut arrangemnts. Some peonies are very fragrant which brings an extra pleasant scent into your home to enjoy.
Mid-Spring: Watch for signs of botrytis blight and treat as needed, remove any diseased leaves and or stalks immediately. Use plant supports to help the peony grow and not fall to the ground.
Late Spring: Like many garden plants you will need to deadhead peony flowers often. If you do not they will produce a seed head which is fine too.
Summer: Herbaceous Peonies do best with an inch of water per week if they are newly planted. If they are established they can handle a drought season more than newly planted roots.
Fall: Cut stems of Herbaceous Peonies back to soil level and remove from the area. You may now divide plants if necessary. If you have new plantings mulch with evergreen boughs or salt marsh hay after the ground freezes.