How to Make a Peony Bloom


The most popular variety of peony is herbaceous (non-woody). The plant grows well in the hot USDA zones down to nine, yet it is cold-hardy up to zone three. Producing large single or double bouquet-worthy blooms, it's no wonder the peony is Indiana's state flower. Peony can be temperamental and not bloom in the garden. You can take some steps to improve the chance that your peony will bloom annually for many years to come.

Step 1

Evaluate the location of the non-blooming peony. Peonies need at least six hours of sunshine, so if it is not getting enough sunshine in its current location, move it to a sunnier spot.

Step 2

Consider any cold spells occurring after the plant showed buds. Frost will kill the buds, but it should bloom the following year. If the buds were not killed by frost, spray them with a peony pesticide to increase the chances of blooms.

Step 3

Check to see when you planted the peony because its duration in the ground can be a factor. The first and second year, the peony will be adjusting to its location and working on branching out. It's the third year when blooms will appear.

Step 4

Examine the foliage for fungus disease. Cut off any diseased areas. Wipe the cutters or dip them into a 50/50 water/bleach solution between cuts and before storing the clippers.

Step 5

Dig up the peony to transplant it if none of the steps above apply because the plant may be too deep in the ground. Dig the new hole two to three times as wide as the rootball of the plant you are moving. Dig the down to a depth of about two feet to loosen the soil. Partially refill the hole adding in about 50 percent organic material and a 10-10-10 fertilizer according to the manufacturer's directions.

Step 6

Look for the eyes (buds) at the top of the root system. Those eyes should be no more than two inches below ground. Place the rootball in the hole with fertilized base and backfill the hole with the remaining dirt, being careful to keep the eyes just below ground level. Pack the soil down as you backfill. Water well and continue to water every 10 days unless there is a saturating rain.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cut the peony to the ground after the first frost in the fall. If you cut the plant down before the first frost or before it has turned completely brown, the plant may not set blooms the following season.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Clippers
  • Pesticide spray
  • Bleach
  • Fertilizer


  • North Dakota State University: Why Peonies Fail to Bloom
  • Kansas State University: Garden Center Guide on Peonies
  • Indiana University: The Peony
Keywords: peony, growing peony, peonies

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.