Herbaceous peonies live for decades, adding colorful flowers to the garden and to borders for a few short weeks before their lush foliage becomes a backdrop to summer annuals. The flowers come in nearly every color (except blue) in both single and double petal varieties. Peonies are low maintenance plants, requiring only light feedings in order to thrive. Whether you are just beginning your peony bed or tending an established bed, proper fertilization will help them thrive.
Apply yearly fertilizer treatments after the plants stop flowering but while they are still green. This encourages further foliage growth which helps the peonies store nutrients for next year.
Substitute compost for composted manure, just don’t allow it to come in direct contact with the plant stems.
Add compost in fall after cleaning up the peony bed instead of spring if desired. Some nutrients will be lost over winter though.
Do not let the fertilizer come in direct contact with the roots, leaves or stems of the peonies, as this will burn and damage them.
Avoid over-fertilization, as this may lead to pest or disease problems.