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How to Plant Peonies in Spring

By Katelyn Lynn ; Updated September 21, 2017
The perennial peony flower is striking.
Peony image by Konstantin Stepanov from Fotolia.com

Peonies (Paenoia officinalis) are perennial flowering plants originally from China. Very few flowers resemble the splendor and magnificence of a peony, making them highly coveted and a favorite perennial, according to Hope Weber of Ohio State University Extension. Their outstanding flowers can grow to 10 inches in diameter. If you are going to plant peonies in the spring, plant from tubers so they have a chance to grow and develop over the summer.

Choose a sun-filled location for planting the peonies, which require at least eight hours of sunlight a day for optimum growth.

Weed the planting site thoroughly, using a garden hoe.

Turn the soil in the planting site, using a spade or a fork. The soil should be loose and well worked to a depth of 16 to 20 inches about three days before you plant.

Lay out a 3- to 4-inch layer of aged steer manure or compost across the topsoil in the planting site. Work the amendment deep into the soil.

Measure out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of a high-phosphorus fertilizer such as 6-30-30 for every 25 square feet of planting area. Broadcast it across the soil in the planting site. Work the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil, using a shovel or a garden fork.

Dig planting holes that are about an inch deep if you live in warmer southern regions. Dig the hole 2 inches deep if you live in cooler northern regions. Space each hole approximately 3 feet apart, depending on the variety of peony you are planting.

Plant the peony tuber into the planting hole so it sits no deeper than 1 to 2 inches below the surface. Cover the tuber with soil, then water each of the tubers thoroughly. Do not use a spray of water but a slow, even stream so water can sink down to the tubers.

Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of straw or peat moss for a mulch over the planting site. Mulch will help improve the soil and prevent moisture loss by keeping down pesty weeds.


Things You Will Need

  • Peony tubers
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendment
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • For the first season after planting, water the peonies weekly. Peonies like plenty of moisture, so provide enough water to keep the soil damp, but never sodden.

About the Author


Katelyn Lynn has been writing health and wellness articles since 2007. Her work appears on various websites. Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health sciences from TUI University and has extensive experience in botany and horticulture.