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Pruning & Caring for Peonies


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Herbaceous peonies were first grown in Japan. Peonies grow well in cool climates with adequate drainage and rich soil. The perennials blossom in shades that range from yellow, purple, pink and white. Peonies require a lot of sunlight and space to grow. Once your peonies are established, you can divide them, and share their beauty with neighbors, friends and family members. The perennials will continue to grow over the years, with proper care and pruning.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Low nitrogen fertilizer
  • Organic mulch
  • Plant stake
  • Cotton string
  • Pruning shears

Caring for Peonies

  1. Select a location that will receive six hours of sunlight per day. Avoid planting the peony near buildings or trees, because these can create shadows that will prevent the peonies from receiving sunlight.
  2. Add a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. Apply the fertilizer according to the directions on the package.
  3. Water the peonies, to keep the soil moist. The plant will need water when soil appears dry or in periods of dry weather.
  4. Add a three-inch layer of organic mulch to the peonies. This will keep weeds away, and help the peonies retain moisture.
  5. Add a stake next to the peonies to prevent the stems from breaking. Tie the peonies to the plant stakes, using a heavy cotton string.

Pruning the Peony

  1. Inspect the peony in the fall. Prune the peony, only after the foliage dies.
  2. Cut off dead bloom from the peonies. This will allow for new growth to form.
  3. Remove the dead, brown leaves. Rake the leaves away from the plant, to keep them from molding and spreading diseases.
  4. Prune dead and broken stems, using pruning shears. Remove any weak stems that appear smaller than a pencil.
  5. Cut the stems down to ground level to winterize the plant. This will allow you to remove stems if the peony appears infected or diseased. The peony will grow new stems in the spring.

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