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How to Care for Tree Peonies

Tree peony is a genus of flowering shrubs native to Asia, Europe and North America. They grow to about 5 feet in height and form ornamental, fragrant flowers that bloom during spring and summer. The flowers have numerous layered petals and can be red, yellow or white in color. Tree peonies have a long lifespan, and can be easily grown in any temperate region.

Plant tree peonies during late fall in a location that receives partial sunlight. Incorporate about 1 pound of organic compost per plant into the soil with a garden tiller prior to planting to increase drainage and fertility.

Water tree peony plants once per week during spring, summer and fall. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every two weeks during winter. Do not allow the soil to become soggy at any point, or root rot can occur.

Feed tree peonies once per year in early spring just before new growth begins. Spread a 1-inch layer of organic compost around the soil surrounding the plant and apply bonemeal to the soil according the manufacturer's instructions.

Spread a 2-inch layer of chopped leaves around the soil surrounding tree peonies to stunt the growth of weeds and to conserve moisture. Add additional leaves as necessary to keep the mulch fresh. Replace the mulch once per year with a fresh layer to prevent rotting.

Prune away dead or dying branches from tree peonies immediately after flowering ends. Use pruning shears to cut the limbs off as close to the stem as possible to help the plant conserve nutrients and to minimize damage.

Grow Tree Peonies From A Seed

Gather tree peony seeds in late summer or early autumn after the pods ripen and split open. Snip off the pods at the base using pruning shears. Cover the seeds with water, and soak them for one hour. Transfer the sprouted tree peony seeds into individual 4-inch starter pots filled with a sterile, soilless growing mix. Poke a hole in the growing mix that is deep enough to accommodate the root. Place the pots in a cool area where temperatures stay around 40 Fahrenheit, such as outdoors against a north-facing wall or inside the crisper drawer of a refrigerator. Cover the pots with a plastic bag if the growing mix tends to dry out quickly.


Bonemeal can be purchased from retail lawn and garden stores in the fertilizer section.

Grass clippings can be used in place of chopped leaves if desired or necessary.

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