It’s time to plant peonies! I’m sharing everything you need to know to grow gorgeous peonies. Learn how to plant peonies so they bloom and reward you with tons of flowers every spring! These peony care tips are great for any level gardener.
Peonies! One of the first blooms of summer and an easy care perennial and if cared for properly, a single peony plant will reward you with armfuls of blooms for 100 years!
I picked the brain of experts at the garden center on how to plant peonies so they bloom like this!
There are three types of peonies: herbaceous, intersectional and tree.
I have herbaceous peonies – the most well known type and my tips below are for herbaceous peonies only.
Peonies grow best in Zones 3 – 8, and may need a bit of extra care within the extreme edges of their range. If you live in the deep south, choose an early-blooming variety that will come into bloom before the heat of summer.
Don’t know your planting zone? Check out this USDA Planting Zone Map.
Like all perennials, peonies often take a few years to produce flowers. It could take two to three years for your peony to bloom if you plant a bare root peony.
Hint: If you want instant gratification, don’t buy bare root peonies. I bought two-gallon container plants and they bloomed a few weeks after planting in May.
Or you can choose from this Gorgeous Selection of Peonies in tons of beautiful colors.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How to Grow Peonies
- Plant in early spring or fall.
- Choose a spot that gets at least five hours of full sun (more is even better and more sun = more blooms).
- Space peonies three feet apart.
- Dig hole twice as wide as the root ball but only 1/2 inch deeper.
- Add one part peat moss to three parts soil.
- When planting peonies, it’s all about depth. Too deep and the little shoots near the root won’t get the necessary “winter chill” which makes it impossible for them to produce flower buds.
- Make sure that the top of the root and the shoots are planted no more than 1/2 inch below the soil and that the base of the plant is not covered with mulch.
- Peonies have a tendency to flop from the weight of their blooms so stake your peony with a peony ring before it gets too big (preferably in the early spring). The peony will grow through and around the stake.
- Water peonies at the base of the plant and try not to get the leaves wet which may cause them to develop a white fungus.
Hint: If a mildewy fungus appears, cut off the white leaves and throw them away so they don’t contaminate other plants.
- When your peony becomes enormous, you can divide it in the fall (but you may not get blooms for a year or two).
- Get the most out of your peonies by cutting them before they fully bloom. The buds will feel soft like a marshmallow. You can watch them fully blossom inside and enjoy them much longer. Check out my post on when to cut peonies for lasting blooms.
- Peonies can’t store up energy for next year’s blooms without leaves. When cutting flowers, don’t remove more than half of the blooms and make sure to leave enough stem (with at least 3 or 4 leaves) on the plant.
Hint: Remove dead blooms in spring/early summer but wait to cut peony bushes to the ground until after the first frost.
10 Fun Peony Facts
- The peony is named after Paeon who was the student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. Asclepius became jealous of his Paeon’s natural ability to heal so before Asclepius could harm his student, Zeus stepped in and turned Paeon into a peony to keep him safe.
- Peonies come in every color except blue and some varieties can grow to over 10 inches in diameter!
- A peony plant can live for more than 100 years under the right conditions.
- Peony petals are edible (just make sure that they are grown organically and without pesticides if you plan to take a nibble).
- Ants love peonies! They are attracted to the sweet nectar found inside peony buds so they climb inside which helps the flowers open (although peonies will open just fine on their own). Tip: Cut peonies at night or early morning when ants are less active.
- Deer hate peonies and so do bunnies!
- Peonies need at least 400 hours of temps below 40 degrees in order to bloom in the spring. This is why they don’t grow well in warmer climates.
- Lighter pink peonies are more fragrant than the darker ones.
- Peonies are the traditional flower to celebrate the 12th anniversary.
- The Chinese name for peony is sho yu which means “most beautiful.”
Lots more peony info in the links below …
Plant some peonies today – they will bring happiness to your garden and your home and will make you richer and thinner (well, maybe not the last two).