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How to Plant Fern Peonies

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

The fern peony, a peony variety, is a slow-growing herbaceous plant that grows to a height of one to two feet. The plant has rhizomatous roots that prefer to be planted in the fall season. Fern peony plants grow well in USDA growing zones 3 through 8 when given winter protection in the harsh climate areas. Fern peonies attract butterflies to the garden during their spring blooming period, while resisting deer, squirrels and rabbits.

Select a fern peony planting location that has a sandy loam soil and full sunlight conditions. In hot climates, choose a location that has full morning sunlight over afternoon sunlight.

Work several inches of organic compost into the planting location with a tiller to a depth of 12 inches.

Test the soil pH with a home pH test kit. Fern peony plants prefer a soil that acidic in the pH range of 4.5 to 7.5. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil to lower the pH number. Let the soil rest two weeks after making amendments.

Dig a hole that is the same depth and slightly wider than the container the plant is growing in. Place the plant into the hole so most of the root buds are two inches under the ground level. Fill in soil around the plant and gently pack it in place.

Soak the ground thoroughly after planting to hydrate the roots for winter energy.

Winterize the plant by placing mulch around its base for insulation. Remove the mulch promptly in the spring.


Things You Will Need

  • Organic compost
  • Tiller
  • pH test kit
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Sandy loam soil is well draining and contains approximately 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt and 20 percent clay.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.