How to Look After Peony Flowers


Perennial peonies, Paeonia hybrids, are favored in the home garden for their visually pleasing, large, fragrant flowers, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Blooming in shades of pink, white, magenta, red, cream and yellow during the end of spring of beginning of summer, peonies reach a height of 2 to 4 feet. Peony flowers grow as single, double or anemone blooms. Because peonies have a slow growth rate and long life span, do not be concerned if blossoms do not appear immediately. Blooming often takes up to three years to begin.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • Compost
  • Low nitrogen 5-10-5 fertilizer
  • Stakes
  • Soil pH kit
  1. Grow peony flowers in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 8, avoiding subtropical climates that do not provide the low winter temperatures necessary for plant dormancy, according to the Ohio State University Extension.

  2. Grow peony flowers in locations that provide a minimum of 6 hours of daily sun, preferably with shaded afternoons for best flower development and protection from burning when the sun is most intense. Low sun exposure can prevent peonies from flowering.

  3. Cultivate peony flowers in well-drained, loamy soil for optimal growth and avoidance of root rot caused by excessive moisture. Amend poorly drained soil with the addition of compost, according to the Clemson University Extension.

  4. Maintain a slightly acid to neutral soil pH level of 6.5 to 7.0 to maintain vigorous peony flowers. Use a soil pH kit purchased from a garden supply store to determine whether your soil needs amending. Contact your local county extension agent to obtain their soil pH testing requirements. Follow through with a test performed by the extension, as a professional assessment is necessary for pinpointing the specific materials and measurements needed to arrive at the correct pH, according to the Ohio State University Extension.

  5. Irrigate peonies once every two weeks until soil is fully saturated for best root development. Avoid over-watering to prevent water-logging of roots but realize that peonies become drought tolerant with maturity.

  6. Place a layer of mulch on soil surrounding peony flowers in areas that do not receive an accumulation of snow.

  7. Apply fertilizer to the soil surrounding your peonies in the spring, but do not allow the fertilizer to touch your plants. Use 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of low nitrogen 5-10-5 fertilizer for every 50 square feet.

  8. Provide support like stakes for peonies that may become top heavy resulting in stem damage.

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