Peonies are some of summer’s most beautiful flowers. With 2,600 varieties in existence, the flaming pink, bright red, yellow, white and an array of other color mixes make peonies a stunning accent to any full-sun backyard garden. Peony enthusiasts welcome the arrival of June to trim a few blooms to take inside. But after the blooms are gone, what should gardeners do to ensure these beauties return year after year? A few basic steps that take only a few minutes.
After the peony bush has bloomed, water the plant well during the heat of summer. Your plant needs 1 inch of water per week, either through hand-watering or rain. Keep 2 to 3 inches of mulch around your peony and keep its bed free of weeds. Pluck dead blooms from your plant, which will encourage leaf production and more prolific blooming during the next growing season. Be careful not to cut leaves, since they are vital to root development and the plant’s overall health.
Consider transplanting all or part of your flowerless peony in the fall if it was overcrowded or flowered poorly. Dig around your peony’s drip line and capture as much of the root system as possible before moving the plant to another full-sun location. If you choose to move part of your peony, divide its clump by removing loose soil and cutting the clump so it has three to five buds. Place the divided clump in new hole approximately 6 inches deep. Cover the clump with soil and water well during the fall. Trim the stems of your transplanted or stationary peony to approximately 1 inch off the ground shortly after the first killing frost.
In particularly cold climates, apply 2 to 3 inches of shredded bark mulch to your peony after the ground freezes. Otherwise, your flowerless peony should fare well on its own until spring.