Peonies are a long-lasting perennial favorite that grow throughout Virginia. Growing peonies successfully in southwest Virginia, however, requires some special care when planting and while growing. With some basic care, peonies can flower in your garden for 50 years or more.
Plant the peonies using the "Southern method." This means ensuring that the crown of the peony plant--where the bottom stem cluster meets the rootball--is above the level of the soil. Planting a peony too deep will result in a lack of vigorous growth and may delay blooming.
Side dress peonies with compost every spring to add fertility to the soil. Peonies require no other fertilization once established.
Divide peony clumps every 10 years or when they begin to crowd each other. Peonies should not be disturbed before they are three years old or blooming may cease. In southwest Virginia, peonies will begin to bloom in May and will last for a month or more.
Leave some leaves on each stem when cutting blooms to allow the stem to regrow. Peonies may be cut heavily to take blooms into the house but otherwise requires no pruning.