Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Cut Back Peonies

When cutting back peonies in the fall, keep as much as the foliage intact while pruning the wilted and dying blooms. Watch a peony plant transform into a beautiful bronze color through the fall with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on flower care.


Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we are going to talk about how to cut back peonies or peonies, however you want to pronounce it. And they are a gorgeous plant, and they're really easy to take care of. Once peonies are done blooming they send out these little seeds. Now you can save those seeds, and actually try to start new plants with them or you can trim them out either way. So as soon as they are done blooming don't cut all the foliage back, because the most beautiful part of peony is the foliage. And it will turn a gorgeous bronze through the fall, and be a great addition to your garden for many months once it is done blooming. So I just trim out the dead flowers leaving the foliage so that it looks good and even. Now you can save those seed pods or you can turn around and mulch them or use them as compost. But as long as you just thin out the dead flowers then you still have the beautiful foliage. Now in the fall they are going to turn a beautiful bronze color, and as soon as it starts freezing at night or getting pretty cold they are going to start turning yellow, and look really tacky. So peonies are a root that is a bulb. That means it goes dormant over the winter so you won't lose them if you cut them down to the ground. So whenever the greenery looks really ratty, and if you live in a really warm climate sometimes they will look ratty or earlier than in colder climates. Chop them all the way to the ground, and mulch them a little bit in the fall to give them some nutrition for the spring, and just leave them be and they will come back every year.