How to Water a Peony


Peonies are prized for their spring flowers as well as their attractive foliage that provides interest in garden beds all summer long. Peonies produce large, intricate blooms in spring or early summer. While they only flower for two to four weeks, their deep green foliage provides the same attractive qualities as a low-growing shrub. Proper watering ensures the flowers and foliage look their best, as well as ensuring the continued health of the plant so it can return and bloom next year.



Things You’ll Need
  • Bark mulch
  • Straw mulch
    1. Water peonies immediately after planting new plants. Water at the base of each plant, soaking the soil to a 6- to 8-inch depth. Immediate watering collapses any air pockets in the soil around the peony roots, allowing the plant to quickly begin absorbing soil nutrients.
    2. Lay a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around peonies. Use bark or shredded wood chips. Mulch preserves the moisture in the soil between waterings, and also helps keep the roots cool.
    3. Water peonies every 10 to 14 days while they are actively growing in spring, summer and fall. Water at the base of the plants, moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth. This allows the water to penetrate to the root zone where peonies need it most.
    4. Water during extended hot and dry periods every five to seven days. Check the soil prior to performing an additional irrigation. If the top 2 inches of soil are beginning to dry, it is time to water.
    5. Cut peonies to the ground in fall once the foliage has died back. Cover the peonies with a 3- to 4-inch layer of straw mulch, unless your area gets dependable snow coverage in the winter. Straw mulch prevents the plants from drying out in the cold winter winds, and also prevents frost damage to the roots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Peonies are relatively hardy and can survive short drought periods without permanent damage.

  • Do not overwater the peony plants. This can lead to root rot and death.

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