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How to Fertilize Peonies

By Greg Lindberg ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peonies are perennial flowers that can live for several decades. Cultivars come in various colors such as coral, cream, black, crimson, purple, pink, scarlet, yellow and white. Peonies can begin to flower six to eight weeks after planting. Provide a location for the peonies that receives plenty of sunlight and little shade and maintain your peonies by fertilizing the flower bed each year. It’s important to know what type of fertilizer is best for peonies and how much should be added. Over-fertilizing can hurt the growth of the flowers.

Apply fertilizer to the soil before planting peonies. Plan on planting in early fall and start by digging a hole that is a least 12-inches deep and 18-inches wide. Add in a 2-inch layer of compost before adding fertilizer.

Add a 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 ratio fertilizer at the bottom of the hole over the compost. Don't add any fertilizer to the soil the will surround the roots of the peonies.

Add a 1/2 cup of bone meal over the fertilizer and spread it evenly. This helps supply more nutrients to the deep roots during growth. Add the plants and fill the hole with the soil you dug up.

Apply a 5-10-10 ratio fertilizer in the spring when the stems of the peonies are about 2-inches tall. Add only 1/2 cup of low nitrogen fertilizer per plant. Spread the 1/2 cup evenly around the base of the plant.

Continue fertilizing your peonies every spring, but use a 5-10-5 ratio fertilizer. Peonies reach full growth within eight years. Never over fertilize or you could stunt the growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • 1/4 cup 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • 1/2 cup bone meal
  • 1/2 cup 5-10-10 fertilizer
  • 1/2 cup 5-10-5 fertilizer