When to Cut Down Peonies


Peonies are popular plants in home landscaping. These long-lived perennials adapt easily to various climates and soil conditions. As hardy as they may be, however, some maintenance needs to be performed to keep the foliage healthy and disease free. One such safeguard is to annually cut down the plants.

Time Frame

  • Cut back your peonies in the fall, soon after the first hard frost has occurred. Remove the leaves at this time.

Plant Stalk

  • Approximately 2 inches of the plant stalk should remain above ground.

Disease Prevention

  • Leaving a portion of the stalk above ground eliminates the possibility of fungal disease in the winter, such as botrytis, which can damage peonies in cold, wet weather.

Disease Control

  • If disease becomes present in mid-summer, remove the diseased foliage. After a hard frost, cut the plants down and destroy the flora.


  • In order to flower, peonies require a period of winter chilling while they are dormant. In the spring, brush dirt away from rising red/pink stalks to expose them to light and air.

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