With their large, full flowers and long life, peonies add consistent color to an early summer garden. Peonies have a short blooming period, but their foliage remains green and lush through fall, providing a background for other summer flowers. Peonies live for 30 years or more, so proper care each year is vital if they are to remain at their best. There are two types of peonies: herbaceous peony and tree peony. Herbaceous peonies require proper trimming each fall, while tree peonies rarely need a severe trim.
Things You’ll Need
- Prune back herbaceous peonies after the first fall frost and once the stems begin to blacken. Cut off all stem foliage at soil level.
- Trim tree peonies as necessary, removing dead or damaged branches in the fall as the plant begins to go dormant. Prune lightly to maintain shape, but avoid heavy pruning.
- Dispose of all pruned plant matter in the peony bed. The disease organism that causes Botrytis blight survives in pruned peony material. Prompt disposal is necessary.
Tips & Warnings
Peonies survive freezing temperatures and often do not require a mulch after their first year in the garden.
Peonies grow for 15 or more years without the need for division. When you do divide, do so in the fall as you prune back the plants.