Pruning & Caring for Peonies


The papery petals and delicate features of the globe-like blooms of peonies are unmistakable. In order to enjoy the fragrance and sight of your peony's flowers you must remember one thing: a well-cared-for peony is one that will bloom year after year. Even though the peony is considered low maintenance when compared to other plant, by implementing the right pruning and care for peonies you'll be sure to grow healthy plants and get large, graceful blooms.

Step 1

Check the amount of sun on the site of your peonies. The location should supply the plant with no less than six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your peonies don't receive enough light they may fail to bloom, so be sure to relocate them in the fall if necessary to a sunnier spot.

Step 2

Look at the spacing of your plants to make sure they are at least two to four feet apart from one another. If they are overcrowded, then wait until fall to thin them out and replant further apart.

Step 3

Make sure the eyes of the plant are pointing up by digging a little with your fingers until your see them. Recover the eyes of the plant with just an inch of soil. If they are planted too deeply you may not see any blooms.

Step 4

Spread a thin layer of composted manure or compost around the base area of your plants in the spring to fertilize them. Repeat this treatment annually, but be sure to pull away excess covering over the eyes of the plant when necessary.

Step 5

Place supports such as plant rings over your plants early in the spring as new shoots emerge from the soil. These supports will catch the heavy blooms if they begin to droop and hold the stems up. Small bloom peonies may not need supports.

Step 6

Water your plants over the growing season to maintain a moist soil. Expect to give them an inch of water a week total between your watering and the rainfall of your area.

Step 7

Wait until the fall to cut the growth back to the ground in even horizontal cuts, and pull dropped stems and leaves away from the root area. This will encourage the plant to focus on new growth for the following year.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't get too concerned over relocated peonies not blooming right away the following spring. New plantings focus on root growth first and can often take a year or two before they bloom again.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost or composted manure
  • Plant support rings or hoops
  • Water
  • Hand pruners


  • "Peonies"; Allan Rogers; 2004
Keywords: caring for peonies, pruning peonies, how to take care of peonies

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.