How To Overwinter Peonies

Growing Medium: We advise using any commercially available bark-based, well-drained soilless mix.

Planting Depth: The success of flowering depends largely on the planting depth. The eyes may fail to bloom if they are planted either too shallowly or too deeply. The most frequent cause of peonies not blooming is this, which is the most frequent error committed while planting peonies. The eyes must be buried between 11/2 and 2 inches beneath the soil surface.

Timing: Many growers are curious as to how late peonies can be effectively potted up. It’s never truly too late or too cold, said Renee Jaeger and Roy Klehm of Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery. The equilibrium between the air and soil temperatures must be preserved, as growers are aware.

When overwintering potted peony, it is ideal to do it in a covered building like a greenhouse or covered polyhouse. To become vernalized, they need 500 to 700 hours at 32 to 37 °F. The best course of action is to let them to adjust to outdoor temps gradually after that. Please be advised that peonies sent after January 1 have already undergone vernalization.

Temperature: Peonies must be grown in a cool environment when vernalization is complete. The Klehm’s Song Sparrow suggests cool nights between 35–40°F and days between 45 and 50°F. On sunny days, it might be necessary to turn on the fans in the greenhouse to maintain this colder temperature. When grown at higher temperatures, the plants slow their bud development and the flowers age faster.

Fertilizer: Klehm’s Song Sparrow advises applying a low rate fertilizer, such as 18-6-8 at 100-150ppm at every other watering, in the spring when they are potted up. Flowering may be hampered by overfertilization.

Should peonies be pruned back for the winter?

It is recommended to prune your peonies in the fall before winter and to remove all plant debris.

According to Pangborn, peonies are prone to foliar fungal problems. If sick foliage is left on the plant during the winter, it may expose new growth to diseases that have overwintered on the old leaves and caused damage.

Peonies should be pruned before winter to keep your garden organized. Green claims that if you don’t cut them, the leaves and stems would rot, turn to mush, and eventually tumble to the ground.

How do I get my peonies ready for the winter?

The peony has the fattest, most delicious petals and rich green foliage, making it outrageously attractive when it is in bloom. From spring to summer, savor stunning floral displays. Learn how to care for, grow, and plant peony.

About Peonies

Peonies are a perennial that will steal your breath away every year. The plants may even outlive you—some have been reported to survive for at least a century.

When Is Peony Season? When Do Peonies Bloom?

Depending on your location and the kind you are planting, peonies bloom from late spring to early summer.

You may extend the peony season across several weeks and take use of those magnificent blossoms for as long as possible thanks to the abundance of nurseries that provide early, midseason, and late blooming types.

Peonies may thrive as far south as Zones 7 and 8, and they are hardy to Zone 3. The key to success in the majority of the United States is to provide full light and well-drained soil. Peonies even enjoy the winter’s coldness because it helps their buds grow.

Types of Peony Flowers

You can pick from six different varieties of peony flowers: anemone, single, Japanese, semi-double, double, and bomb. The odors of different plants also differ; some, like “Festiva Maxima” and “Duchesse de Nemours,” have seductive rose-like aromas, while others have a lemony scent or none at all.

Where to Plant Peonies

When planted as a low hedge or along sidewalks, peonies make excellent sentinels. As majestic and dignified as any flowering shrub, the peony’s bushy cluster of attractive glossy green leaves lasts all summer before turning purplish-red or gold in the fall.

Peonies work nicely with irises and roses in mixed borders and blossom alongside columbines, baptisias, and veronicas. Plant pink peonies with blue Nepeta or violets, then surround white peonies with yellow irises and a froth of forget-me-nots.

Peonies are not overly picky, but you should pick your place carefully because they dislike disruption and do not transplant well.

Although they can survive in partial shade, peonies like full sun, and they flower at their best in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.

Because of its huge flowers, peonies can become top-heavy in severe winds. Therefore, provide shelter. (If necessary, stakes can be used to hold them up.) Planting too close to trees or bushes will cause peony to compete with them for nutrients, sunlight, and moisture.

Grow peony in rich, wet, humus-rich soil that is deep, fertile, and well-draining. pH in the soil should be neutral.

When to Plant Peonies

As long as they are planted correctly and become established, peony plants require minimal upkeep. However, keep in mind that they do not adapt well to transplanting, so you should consider this when choosing your planting location.

  • Plant peony in the fall: in the majority of the United States, in late September or early October, and even later in the fall in Zones 7 and 8. Your planting zone can be found here.
  • If you need to move an established plant, the fall is the ideal season because the plant will be dormant.
  • About six weeks before the ground freezes, peonies should be planted.
  • While planting peonies in the spring is absolutely a possibility, the results aren’t always favorable. They often trail behind plants planted in the fall by roughly a year, according to experts.

How to Plant Peonies

  • Peonies are typically offered as divisions of a 3- or 4-year-old plant, bare-root tubers with 3 to 5 eyes (buds).
  • Peonies should be placed 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for enough air circulation. The development of disease can be facilitated by stagnant, damp air.
  • In a sunny area, dig a generously sized hole that is about 2 feet deep and 2 feet wide. The inclusion of organic matter in the planting hole will improve the soil. Add additional compost to the soil to improve it if it’s sandy or heavy. Add about a cup of bonemeal to the ground. Find out more about soil improvements and getting the soil ready for planting.
  • The roots should be positioned in the hole just 2 inches below the soil’s surface, with the root’s eyes facing upward on top of a mound of soil. Avoid planting too deeply! Choose early-blooming species, put them approximately 1 inch deep, and provide some shade in southern states.
  • Backfill the hole after that, being careful to prevent soil settlement and a 2-inch root burying. Gently tamp the ground.
  • Plant a container-grown peony no deeper than it was when it was in the pot.
  • When planting, give everything plenty of water.

How to Care for Peonies

Young peony take time to develop, just like children. In order to establish themselves, blossom, and flourish, they typically require a few years. They eventually leave home on their own, fully grown and adjusted… No, that’s just kids, I suppose.

Peonies benefit from gentle neglect. They don’t require digging and dividing every few years like the majority of perennials do.

  • Don’t use any fertilizer. Before planting, till the soil thoroughly while adding compost and a small amount of fertilizer.
  • Early summer, after the peonies have flowered and you have deadheaded the blooms, is the ideal time to apply fertilizer (such as bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure) to a soil that is deficient in nutrients. Keep fertilizing to a few years at most.
  • assist the stems Peonies’ stems, which occasionally are not strong enough to hold their enormous blossoms, are the only part of their structure that may be considered weak. Think of structures that allow the plant to grow through the middle of the support, like three-legged metal peony rings or wire tomato cages.
  • Peony blossoms should be deadheaded as soon as they start to fade, cutting to a sturdy leaf so that the stem doesn’t protrude through the foliage. To prevent any infections from overwintering, trim the foliage to the ground in the fall.
  • Avoid covering peonies with mulch. For the first winter following planting, you can VERY LOOSELY mulch with pine needles or shredded bark when the winters are bitterly cold. In the spring, get rid of the mulch.

Peonies bloom between late spring and early summer, but by planting a variety of cultivars, you may arrange your garden for a succession of blooms from mid-May to late June. Here are a few options:

  • ‘Early Scout’ has red solitary flowers that open incredibly early.
  • “Firelight”: very early-blooming, single, pale-pink flowers
  • ‘Karl Rosenfield’: double, midseason bloomer with substantial crimson blooms

How can I store peonies for the upcoming season?

If you know when to cut them and how to store them, you may store peonies for several weeks or even months.

One of the most popular springtime flowers is the peony. They bloom in the Midwest from late May until mid-June. In her book, “The Flower Farmer, An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers,” Lynn Byczynski refers to peony as the “darlings of the spring flower world.”

I was recently discussing peonies with a friend when she said how her grandmother always had a fresh bouquet of peonies on her Thanksgiving table. Years had passed before our beloved South American spring flowers made their fall market debut. Flowers are now commonly seen “because to the fact that they are produced and transported daily throughout the world. Even now, the expense of peonies in November would be so prohibitive that the bouquet would be more expensive than the entire supper. For longer than the brief period they are in bloom during their season, many of us who adore peony yearn to use them as cut flowers. How could my friend’s granny celebrate Thanksgiving with a peony bouquet? How can the cut flower enthusiast help the peony season last longer?

happy news Peonies can be cut and stored for a few weeks or even months, depending on the kind. Knowing when to cut them from the plant and how to preserve them correctly are essential if you want your peonies to bloom much later after being kept in the refrigerator.

You must first understand when to cut the peonies. The time must be exact. According to Wilma Jackson of the Sunny Dale Spring Peony Farm in Valley Center, Kansas, you should cut the blooms when the buds are showing some color and are soft like a marshmallow if you want to preserve a peony for proper bloom and attain a vase life of five to ten days. To ensure that you are cutting peonies at the right developmental stage, you must check them multiple times a day while they are in bloom.

The peony should be kept dry after being cut. To stop water loss, Michigan State University Extension advises removing the leaves off the stem. The next step is to completely wrap the peony in clear plastic wrap, from stem to bud, and secure both ends. The covering should be sealed to prevent moisture loss from the flowers. If you’re going to keep them in a frost-free refrigerator, a good tight seal is essential.

For up to three months, keep them horizontal. (Or, till Thanksgiving, as my friend claims. She put her grandmother’s in wet newspapers.) Cut the stem before placing them in tepid water in a cool room after removing them from their cold storage. The peony should bloom for about a week after being properly watered.

If you’re considering receiving a bouquet of peonies for Thanksgiving, read Byczynski’s book, “Numerous peony varieties are listed along with their vase life in The Flower Farmer, An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers. Try extending the amount of time you may enjoy fresh peonies, perhaps for months, even if you have no idea what kinds of peonies are flourishing in your garden.

How far back should peonies be clipped for the winter?

1. After a heavy frost, trim the stems at or close to ground level.

2. Regardless of whether the peony have a disease or not, completely remove all plant waste and dead leaves. It’s possible that the dead foliage has fungus spores that are invisible to the naked eye. If the plants were sick, you should carefully dispose of them in the garbage; under no circumstances should you compost them.

“Garden peony growing.” Home Pest News & Horticulture, Iowa State University.

What happens if peonies aren’t pruned back?

In the winter, you don’t really need to do anything to or for your herbaceous bush peony plants. However, if you discover that you neglected to remove the stems in the fall, you still have time to do so.

Herbaceous (bush) peony, such as the intersectional Itoh peonies, eventually lose their leaves and stems when the plants hibernate for the winter. The stems will tumble to the ground and turn “mushy,” and the leaves will begin to decay. That is normal. The plant’s roots are not perishing; instead, new shoots and stems will appear in the spring. People may panic and believe their peony has perished, but this is simply the bush peony’s natural development cycle.

Be careful not to cut any exposed peony ‘eyes,’ which are typically pink or crimson buds and serve as the stems for the following year, while cutting off peony stems that are close to the ground. Put the stems and leaves in the trash after disposal. Peony stems and leaves shouldn’t be composted since they can harbor botrytis, a fungal disease, especially in moist environments. Each peony plant’s surrounding area should be cleaned up.

Most places don’t require mulching peonies. If you mulch your herbaceous bush peony plants, make sure to take it off in the early spring to avoid burying the roots too far. Years of mulching or applying bark dust around bush peony will eventually cause the roots to be buried too deeply, which could lead to fewer spring blooms. Just an inch or two of soil should remain above the roots of herbaceous bush peony after you remove that.

Additionally, it is normal for a mature peony’s crown to gradually heave up through the ground and display some exposed “eyes” in the winter. Don’t worry, peony plants enjoy the harsh winters.

Tree peony leaves must be removed from the ground and branches when they start to degrade. A tree peony’s branches are left hanging, barren and naked for the winter, rather of being chopped down in the fall. Don’t worry too much if you or a helper cuts a tree peony down to the ground and you panic or feel dejected. It’s likely that the roots have grown deeply enough to support spring branch growth. It might grow into a magnificent, revitalized tree peony in two or three years. I’ve seen it happen, so I know. In contrast to bush peony, tree peonies prefer more soil on top of the roots. Try adding a few inches of soil around the base of the trunk of a tree peony if it has lost its vigor. Yes, it is exactly the reverse of what is suggested for bush peony.

You can go outside again after the snow melts and it’s nice out to work on any “lost” stems.