Peonies are perennial flowers that bloom in the early spring and have multi-petal blossoms in a wide variety of colors. Peony plants produce buds immediately after they finish blooming for the year. These buds remain dormant until the next spring, when they open into new blossoms. Pruning peony buds, called debudding, is done to direct the plant’s nutrients into the remaining buds. The result is that the remaining buds grow much larger when they bloom.
Things You’ll Need
- Latex gloves
- Wait until after the peony plants have stopped blooming in the late spring. Once the flower blossoms wilt, you will notice the development of tiny green buds along the sides of the plant stalks. Wait until the buds on the sides of the stalks are approximately the size of a pea.
- Grasp the top of one of the peony stalks and locate the uppermost bud growing on the side of the stalk. There will usually be a leaf growing at the same location as the bud.
- Grasp the base of the bud, but not the leaf, with your fingers, and snap the bud away from the plant to break it off cleanly. Discard the bud.
- Continue working your way down the same stalk and remove all remaining side buds in the same manner.
- Repeat the debudding process with all remaining vertical peony stalks.
Tips & Warnings
Peonies exude a sticky sap during debudding which can make a mess. Wearing disposable latex gloves will keep your hands clean and still allow you enough flexibility to remove the tiny buds.