Peonies are perennial flowers that rebloom every year, under the right conditions. Their tubers, or root systems, bloom from spring to summer and then die down to go dormant over winter. The tubers require some specific care, but may survive and rebloom for over 100 years. To grow these hardy flowering shrubs in your yard or garden, check your growing zone, find the right spot and follow some planting guidelines.
Things You’ll Need
- Quick-draining soil
- Organic compost
- Plant peonies in fall to give the tubers time to adjust and put out roots before their spring growing period begins. Peonies are hardy to zones 3 to 8, and don’t grow well in hotter areas, so check your growing zone before planting. If you’re in the right zone, choose a site that gets complete drainage and six to eight hours of sun every day. Peonies will grow in some shade, but might not flower. Choose a site that has at least 4 to 5 feet of room, as peonies don’t grow well in crowded sites or with competition.
- Amend the soil in your chosen site to a depth of 12 to 14 inches with a combination of half quick-draining soil and half well-rotted organic compost. Peonies prefer a rich, acidic foundation that drains quickly, and won’t succeed if the site is too dense. Dig a hole that is 8 inches wide by 12 inches deep for each peony tuber, and plant the tubers with the bud sides up and at least 2 inches below the surface. Pack amended soil in around the tubers to eliminate any air pockets, which will keep the tubers from growing.
- Water the tubers with 4 to 5 inches of soil to soak the area and mulch the soil with 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch to protect the peony tubers. Maintain good soil moisture at the site through the winter.
Tips & Warnings
Full peony blooming takes several years. Give peonies at least three years before you expect mature blooming.
Start peonies on a feeding schedule in their second season. Give them 5-10-5 fertilizer every other spring to encourage growth and blooming.