Peonies – How to Grow


How to Grow Peonies

Peonies are the "aristocrat" of the perennial garden with their showy profusion of beautiful flowers.  They are long-lived, reliable, and make good cut flowers.  For use as a cut flower, cut when the first petal breaks from the bud.  Do not cut more than half of the blooms from a plant and always leave at least the bottom two leaves on the stem.

Soil Requirements

Rich, well-drained, evenly moist soil, not wet

Sun Requirements

Full sun or bright shade. In warmer southern climes, afternoon shade will protect from heat and prolong bloom.


Plant 3-4 feet apart, allowing for plenty of air circulation.  Do not plant too close to large trees or shrubs  as they compete for moisture and nutrients


When planting, fertilize with Plant-tone, rock phosphate, and green sand. Feed spring and fall with Plant-tone.

Pests and Diseases

Peonies can be susceptible to Botrytis and other fungus diseases.  Spray with a fungicide such as Daconil or Mancozeb. 

Winter Protection

No winter protection is needed. In fact, do not mulch peonies as it may cause crown rot. 

Planting - Zones 3 - 8

Plant anytime when the ground is not frozen, from September-March, if the plants are dormant.  Dig a generous hole, put in the peony with eyes pointing up. Cover with soil making sure that the eyes (buds) are not more than 2" below soil level.  The early and midseason bloomers and the single and Japanese type do best for Zones 8 & warmer.

Peonies from containers may be planted anytime.

When the tops of peonies turn brown in the fall, cut them off at ground level and burn or discard them (do not compost).  This prevents carry over of disease.