How to Manage Peonies
Peonies are flowering plants in the Paeonia genus. They are generally quite tolerant of cold and are well-known for their ability to produce spectacular flowers in the summer. Growing peonies is generally easy, but they do require special care to produce their best blooms. The most common causes for peonies blooming poorly are wet soil or a lack of fertilizer.
- Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need
- Garden trowel
- Provide a cold climate. Peonies have a high tolerance for cold and will benefit from a cold winter so they can produce their best blooms in the following summer. Peonies generally grow well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 3 through 8.
- Give peonies full sun. These plants generally need full sun for at least six hours per day to produce their best blooms. However, peonies may benefit from an hour or two of afternoon shade if they’re at the hot end of their climate range.
- Provide rich soil with good drainage. Keep the soil evenly moist without allowing standing water to accumulate. Provide good compost in the fall for all soils and apply a granular fertilizer in the spring if your peonies are in sandy soil.
- Prepare your peonies for winter. Allow the plant to die back in the fall without cutting the foliage. This will allow the roots to store nutrition for next year’s flowers. You can cut the stems to the ground after the first hard frost.
- Transplant peonies in the fall. Divide the mature peony into sections that have at least five eyes. Plant the divisions in the new location and cover the eyes with less than two inches of soil. The divided plants will grow much more quickly and may bloom the next year. A whole plant that’s transplanted may not bloom for several years.