Should Dead Blooms Be Cut Off Peonies?

Common pink peony image by Bob Drzyzgula/Wikimedia Commons


Peonies emit a fragrance unlike any other garden flower. The sweet smell of blooming peonies indicates the official start of summer. Peonies require well-drained soil and full sun for great blooms. Caring for blooming peonies requires attention to the watering needs and trimming back the dead blooms to encourage the plant to rejuvenate. Maintaining the plant properly during the blooming stage will keep the plant healthy and multiplying for many years.

Should Dead Blooms Be Cut Off Peonies?

Step 1

Evaluate the condition of the blooms on the peony plant. Partially opened or fully blooming flowers should be left alone until the flower begins to brown around the edges. Look for those blooms that have brown or curling edges.

Step 2

Stake any stems weighed down by heavy blooms. Place the plant stake behind the branch requiring support and press it into the ground. Wrap wire or twine around the plant stake and loosely tie the twine to the wire. Fully bloomed flowers or dead blooms tax the strength of the stems of the plant and require staking or removal for the health of the peony.

Step 3

Locate any dying or dead blooms for removal. Dead blooms should be cut back to discourage seed production as well as damage to the plant. Removing dead blooms allows the plant to concentrate energy on the foliage. Removal of dead blooms also discourages insects and fungus development.

Step 4

Cut back dead blooms at the point immediately behind the flower. Grasp the pruning clippers and snip at a 45-degree angle to encourage quick healing of the stem wound. Make sure to remove all dead blooms after the plant has finished blooming for the season.

Step 5

Discard any dead flowers in a compost pile or recycling container. To prevent fungal infections of the plant, don't allow dead blooms to lie within the garden.

Step 6

Add stakes to longer stems for support even after dead blooms have been removed. This strengthens the plant and keeps it from lying on the ground where exposure to too much moisture or possible trampling (or mowing) can damage the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clippers
  • Plant stakes
  • Twine or planters wire


  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • North Dakota State University
Keywords: peony, cutting back peonies, dead flowers on peonies

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: Bob Drzyzgula/Wikimedia Commons