Peony Care Instructions

Overview

Peonies, popular perennial garden flowers, bloom for many years and require only minimal care to thrive in the home landscape. Garden peonies reach up to 4 feet in height and produce colorful blooms in shades of white, yellow, pink, red and purple during the spring and summer months. Peony flowers feature single, double or semi-double petals, depending on variety. Often planted in cut flower gardens, peony flowers have a long life span after being harvested. For the best results, plant peonies with late-blooming perennials to hide the gap left behind when the blossoms fade in midsummer.

Step 1

Plant peonies during early spring in a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Apply a 1 1/2-inch layer of organic compost to the planting site and use a garden hoe to incorporate into the soil before planting. Space peonies at least 3 to 4 feet apart.

Step 2

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the soil after planting peonies to conserve moisture and control weeds. Begin the layer 2 to 3 inches away from the crown of the plants to prevent rot. Replenish the mulch as necessary throughout the year.

Step 3

Water peony flowers once each week during the first three months of growth to help establish the root system, which will become quite extensive over time. Reduce watering thereafter to once every 10 days, or just enough to keep the soil consistently moist.

Step 4

Feed during early spring using a high phosphorus 5-10-5 NPK fertilizer. Water both before and after applying to prevent root burn and release nutrients into the soil. Apply at the rate recommended by the fertilizer manufacturer's instructions.

Step 5

Remove spent and faded peony flowers as often as possible to encourage the formation of fresh flowers and extend blooming. Pinch off the blossoms as close to the stems as possible to minimize the risk of disease and damage to the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden hoe
  • Organic mulch
  • Fertilizer

References

  • North Carolina State University: Peonies for the Home Landscape
  • Washington State University: Peonies
  • "The Carolinas Gardener's Guide"; Toby Bost, Jim Wilson; 2005
Keywords: peonies, peony flowers, peony care

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 Gardenguides.com.