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How to Winterize Double Peonies

By Paula Ezop ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peonies love a sunny spot in your garden, and they are drought resistant. They require a planting space at least 3 feet in diameter and should be planted away from tree roots. The best time to plant peonies is in September to early October. They bloom only once during the growing season, and the heavy blossoms of the double peony require support. Peonies do not thrive in subtropical climates because they need the chill of winter when they are in their dormant state. The double peony is a perennial, and you will follow the same winterizing steps that you would for most perennials.

Cut back the peonies to 1 to 2 inches above the ground after the first hard frost. You need to cut back the dead plant material because the old foliage may contain botrytis (a fungal pathogen), which can cause damage to your double peonies during the cold and wet winter weather.

Dispose of the dead plant material. Do not place any diseased material in your compost bin.

Add a layer of mulch on top of the plant bed. You can use mulched leaves, straw, hay or even evergreen boughs, if available.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Protective mulch


  • If your area usually receives a blanket of snow during the winter, the snow will act as a layer of protection for your plants. The snow insulates the plants from the harsh temperatures and cold winds of winter.

About the Author


Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.