Instruction for Pruning Peonies


Peonies produce blooms in a variety of colors and often live up to 100 years. They require at least six hours of full sun per day. Two types of peonies that grace landscapes across the United States are tree peonies and herbaceous peonies. Tree peonies produce permanent growth and do not require pruning. Herbaceous peonies benefit from pruning, and continue to produce beautiful flowers as a result.


Step 1

Use garden shears to remove dead or dying branches from the peonies each fall. Cut the stems down within 3 inches of the soil's surface. Discard stems away from the peony's soil to prevent disease transfer.

Step 2

Gently remove faded, dying or wilted peony blooms with your hands during the growing season. Removing these flowers promotes growth for continuous blooms.

Step 3

Use the "disbudding" technique when pruning peony flower buds. Prune the side buds with garden shears, while leaving the top (or terminal) buds alone. Disbudding helps peonies produce larger flowers than only pruning peony branches and blooms.

Step 4

Insert garden stakes in the ground after pruning. Garden stakes act as a support for peony flowers as they mature.

Tips and Warnings

  • Garden shears are extremely sharp; use caution when using them to prune peonies.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Stakes


  • North Carolina State University: Peonies for the Home Landscape
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Peonies
  • Clemson University Extension Service: Peonies

Who Can Help

  • American Peony Society
  • Heartland Peony Society
  • Old Farmer's Almanac: Peonies
Keywords: pruning peonies, peonies, deadheading peonies

About this Author

Brandii Lacey holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from Appalachian State University. She has been writing articles for 12 years, starting her career at The Mountain Times. Her passion for gardening began at age 5, after successfully planting and caring for her first geranium. She continues to grow herbs, vegetables and a variety of flowers today.