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How to Plant Peonies

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peonies require full, hot sun during the growing season, but they also require a dormant winter. Store peonies in a cold garage or even in a refrigerator during winter with helpful information from a sustainable gardener in this free video on growing plants.


Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen from VanveenBulbs.com and in this segment we're going to talk about how to plant peonies or paeony, any way you pronounce it, they're a beautiful plant. Now they're interesting because they're actually are root tuber with an eye and they actually breaks a few rules in when you're planting them. So peonies like full hot sun and they bloom in April, May, June, so you've got to put them in a really warm spot. And they need a cold winter, they will not come up and bloom from year to year if you live in a warm climate. You have to actually dig them up, put some soil with them and keep them in a bag, and just throw them in the refrigerator for three months. Turn around and plant them and that's enough to trick them to bloom every year. Or put some ice on them, I've heard lots of stories of people just putting ice on them, if you live in a hot climate. But I know even in the Northwest, when we have our mild winters, they don't bloom as well, as when we have our cold winters. So you want to put them in the coldest spot possible, so away from the house. They don't want to be near the eves, they want to be somewhere in your garden where they're going to get cold. So you want to get them as cold as possible. And when you plant them, they're a root or a tuber and you plant them sideways. And they get these little tiny eyes all over and that's where the growth is going to come. So unlike other plants where we say, plant them three inches deep, you only want to plant them about an inch above the little eye, just where it's meeting. And then that way, I guess they get cold enough and they get enough energy to bloom. So if you plant them too deep, they won't bloom very well. What I've also learned about peonies, is that they take a few years to get a massive set of roots before you get blooms, so you've got to be patient. Sometimes it takes four, five, six years before you get lots of blooms, sometimes you get bloom the second year. So when you're dividing them back out, you'll see there'll just be a mounded root system, they're all mixed up. So you just kind of break them apart, as long as they've got an eye or a stick, or some kind of wood, they'll come back every year and they will grow. But at the same time, you want to keep them in a big enough clump, so you get blooms. So divide them out any time any time they're not blooming or especially when they die back in the Fall because I love the Fall foliage, they turn a nice burgundy. And you can enjoy your peonies for many years, as long as you do the time and wait for them to get established, so that they can bloom.


About the Author

Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Washington.