Peonies bloom in late spring or early summer creating a splash of color and are unrivaled in intensity of color and bloom size. Large showy blooms reach sizes of six inches or more atop dense green foliage. These hardy perennials thrive in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 2 through 8, returning each year in larger clumps. Bloom color ranges from pure white to pinks and reds or striking variegated flowers. These long-lived plants can be divided in either spring or fall, and produce abundant blooms when provided with adequate lighting and sufficient water.
Prepare a flower bed for peonies in an area that receives six to eight hours of direct sun a day. Till to a depth of eight to 10 inches and work in a three- to four-inch layer of organic matter, like well-rotted manure or compost, to improve drainage and increase the water holding capacity of the soil. Peonies require adequate drainage to prevent roots from remaining wet.
Water peonies deeply every 10 to 14 days for the first year or two until the plant is established. The soil should dry between waterings. Watch for signs of wilting of foliage, and provide additional water, if needed.
Water thoroughly in the spring when new growth appears in order to give plants an early boost in growth. After the first two years, water occasionally when the plant show signs of stress by wilting or during excessive dry periods. Under normal weather conditions, peonies do not require supplemental watering and are drought-tolerant once established.