How to Care for Tree Peonies


Tree peony is a genus of flowering shrubs native to Asia, Europe and North America. They grow to about 5 feet in height and form ornamental, fragrant flowers that bloom during spring and summer. The flowers have numerous layered petals and can be red, yellow or white in color. Tree peonies have a long lifespan, and can be easily grown in any temperate region.

Step 1

Plant tree peonies during late fall in a location that receives partial sunlight. Incorporate about 1 pound of organic compost per plant into the soil with a garden tiller prior to planting to increase drainage and fertility.

Step 2

Water tree peony plants once per week during spring, summer and fall. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every two weeks during winter. Do not allow the soil to become soggy at any point, or root rot can occur.

Step 3

Feed tree peonies once per year in early spring just before new growth begins. Spread a 1-inch layer of organic compost around the soil surrounding the plant and apply bonemeal to the soil according the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 4

Spread a 2-inch layer of chopped leaves around the soil surrounding tree peonies to stunt the growth of weeds and to conserve moisture. Add additional leaves as necessary to keep the mulch fresh. Replace the mulch once per year with a fresh layer to prevent rotting.

Step 5

Prune away dead or dying branches from tree peonies immediately after flowering ends. Use pruning shears to cut the limbs off as close to the stem as possible to help the plant conserve nutrients and to minimize damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Compost
  • Bonemeal
  • Chopped leaves
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science: Tree Peonies
  • Iowa State University Horticulture and Home Pest News: Tree Peonies
  • "Taylor's Guide to Growing North America's Favorite Plants;" Barbara Ellis; 2000
Keywords: tree peony, caring for tree peonies, tree peony plants, pruning tree peonies

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including