You are prepared to begin planting when you have the best soil and container for your peony. The optimal time to plant is in the fall, a few weeks prior to the first day of frost.
Fill the pot to the top with soil, leaving space for later to cover the peony tubers with more soil. After that, plant these tubers in a two-inch-deep shallow hole in the ground and cover. When you do, make sure their buds, or “eyes,” are facing upward.
Be careful while planting your peony because they won’t bloom as well or at all if they are planted too deeply. They have fascinating petals and brilliant colors that you don’t want to miss. Finally, take a long, deep breath.
Can a peony be grown in a pot?
What’s required for peony plants to prosper? These perennials require little maintenance.
- They can survive a lifetime and thrive in USDA zones 2 to 8.
- A must-have is well-drained soil.
- A full day of sunshine is ideal, but a half-day is also acceptable. A prolonged bloom season may benefit from some shade.
- The best time to grow peonies is in the fall, when you can plant them bare root.
- Just an inch or two of earth is placed over the eyes before roots are planted (buds).
- Peonies in pots can be moved in the spring or fall.
- Early in the spring, fertilize.
- After bloom, deadhead the wasted blooms.
In the first two years following planting, peonies develop a strong root system. The first year, they frequently bloom. The size of the plant and blossom both increase the next year. They mature and start to produce a profusion of flowers by their third spring. You may never need to divide your peonies because you can frequently enjoy your peony plants in the same location for decades (unless you want additional plants to grow or share).
In the fall, plant peonies from bare roots. When planted between late August and early November, they will grow more feeder roots more quickly. We have planted in various months of the year (bare root or from pots). I’ve tried planting some in December and January, but they won’t develop much root growth in the first few months. Instead, they will lay in the ground, waiting for the ideal moment to grow. If the chance presents itself, I take chances when planting. I don’t believe I’ve lost any plants because of the time of year I planted them; perhaps slower root development the first year. Sometimes planting a root during the “wrong time of year” is preferable to caring for it in a container. In my experience, peony plants with adequate roots grow and enlarge in the third year, regardless of when they were planted.
Peony plants in pots (containers) can be moved in the spring or the fall. Additionally, bare root peonies can be potted up in the fall or early winter and planted in the spring. Store potted peonies slightly moist in a garage or shed when temperatures fall below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time to protect them from severe freezing/thawing/freezing.
- Peonies adore the sun, and for the optimum growth and bloom, they need at least a half day of it (full sun is ideal). A little bit of shadow is acceptable and can help your peonies bloom with more vibrant color; just make sure they get at least a half day of direct sunlight. (Too much shade will result in little to no peony flower and foliage).
- The optimum place for peony plants to flourish is in the ground, although some gardeners are growing one or two in sizable patio pots. For optimal results, use a large container of 10 gallons or more due to the peony’s relatively massive roots. Make sure it has good drainage, and don’t forget to water it more frequently than a peony that was planted in the ground. Large raised beds are also a good choice for peonies.
- Peonies can grow in a variety of soil conditions and prefer well-drained clay soil. Although you can improve your soil, it is frequently unnecessary. Our farm’s clay soil is well-drained and supports the growth of our peonies. You can adjust your soil if you’d like to increase the organic matter and nutrients.
- Dig a hole that is roughly 15 by 15 inches for the planting site, then fill it with the spaded soil. In order for the root to sit just below or at ground level, only the necessary amount of dirt should be removed.
- With the “eyes” (buds) facing upward, place the peony root at any angle and downward. One to two inches of soil are deposited on top of the “eyes” of the roots, which are positioned close to the surface of the ground (buds). Be careful not to bury peony roots too far. Imagine doing this by placing your bare-root peony “just below ground level” or at ground level with just a few inches of soil mounding over the root.
- Gardeners claim success with planting the peony root near ground level with just a touch of soil (about one half inch) over the eyes in warmer climates (The South, California), where peonies can be grown.
- Itoh Intersectional peonies have very enormous roots, and some of their “eyes” are located on a woody stem. To completely enclose the eyes, you might position these peony roots at an angle. Compared to other herbaceous peonies, itoh peonies can be planted a little bit deeper.
- Immediately after planting your peony root, water it. Make sure to keep giving fresh peony plants water every week or so until the Fall rains take over.
- Check the peony root carefully; if it has sunk too far, pick it up and add more dirt beneath it. For optimal results, make sure the soil is only one to two inches deep. Peonies that are planted too deeply may only produce foliage and no flowers.
- When you plant bare root peonies in the fall, they will develop new feeder roots. The roots buried in the ground won’t be harmed by the winter’s frigid temperatures (garden). Peonies enjoy chilly winters.
- A very large container with good drainage is necessary when planting peony in pots or containers. Make sure that the soil is only one to two inches thick around the eyes. Water the potted peonies and keep them moist, but allow a period of near-dryness between waterings. Protect potted peony from freezing temperatures in the winter. Roots of planted or potted peony plants are not harmed by frost; however, potted peonies may be affected by persistent arctic blasts or deep freezing.
- When you first plant or transplant your new peony plants, give them plenty of water. Deeply water a peony, then wait a few days before watering it again. During dry conditions, watering first-year peony roots/plants every two weeks should be sufficient. The roots’ establishment will be aided by the wetness.
- You might not need to water your peony again until you experience dry weather in the spring or summer until the autumn and winter rains start.
- Peony plants are quite drought tolerant after they are a few years old, though they do benefit from a good watering every few weeks during the hot summers. Peonies do not require frequent watering after they are established.
- Early in the spring, we apply 1/4 cup of fertilizer (10-20-20) to the drip line of our mature peonies. Following blooming, you can fertilize your peony plants. While some gardeners fertilize their peonies yearly, many do not. For the best outcomes with your soil, you might wish to experiment.
- Use a slow release fertilizer when fertilizing potted peonies because other fertilizers will burn the leaves. In the early spring, right before plants bloom, we fertilize.
- After flowering, remove flower/seed pods. You can cut the stems of your peonies to any shape you like.
- Leave seed pods on the stems until they burst open in the late summer if you wish to allow them to mature. The seed can be sown right away in the ground or on potting flats and kept moist until the arrival of the fall rains. Some seeds will grow the following spring, while others will do so the following year.
- In the late fall, trim peony stems all the way to the ground. To keep the garden clean, remove the stems and leaves. Peony stems and leaves should not be composted.
- Northwest regions don’t need to be mulched. Mulch is sometimes used by gardeners in regions with particularly harsh winters; however, if you do this, make sure to remove the mulch in the spring; otherwise, your peony will be “planted” too deeply.
Check for the following signs if your peony start to lose their vitality over time:
- The root may have been buried too deeply as a result of seasonal additions of mulch or bark dust (without springtime clearance). In our northwest environment, peonies don’t require protection because they enjoy the chilly winters.
- Trees and plants in the landscape may offer an abundance of shade.
- It’s possible that tree roots grew through the peony roots, crowding them.
- too much nitrogen
- They might also have lost their vigor, like some individuals, and require reviving. By digging up, dividing, and replanting a division with three to five eyes in a different location that gets good sun and drainage, you can revitalize your peony. They’ll recover quickly.
The winners of Gold Medal and Award of Landscape Merit peonies from the American Peony Society (APS) are featured on our peony descriptions. The American Peony Society has accorded commendable distinction to the flowers and/or growth environment of these peony.
Peonies that have earned the Award of Landscape Merit (ALM) demonstrate exceptional decorative value, overall landscape look throughout the growing season, and dependable performance across North America. The APS will assess numerous other peony types deserving of the title in the years to come. The ALM award is still in its infancy.
Court of Honor for the peony “Ave Maria” at the 2013 APS floral exhibit; Court of Honor for the peony “Coral Supreme” at the 2012 APS floral exhibit; and we were honored to receive Best in Show – Grand Champion awards for the peony “Bob” at the 2011 APS floral exhibit are just a few of our Brooks Gardens’ award-winning peonies. In 2018, “Lavon” won Grand Champion, and “Raspberry Charm” won Court of Honor.
Can I plant peony roots without first soaking them?
The peony’s lengthy life is one of its greatest draws, in my opinion. Herbaceous peonies have been known to bloom consistently for more than 50 years, occasionally outliving the gardeners who first planted them! But the care you take in setting them up is the secret to their durability.
In my experience, the first few leaves turning color in the fall are the best time to sow bare root peony tubers. After a plant is described as being “bare root,” it signifies that when it was dug up from the ground, all of the soil surrounding the tuber was removed. Since bare root peonies are less expensive than container-grown plants and may be planted in the autumn, they have more time to establish a strong root system and will be better prepared for robust growth the following spring.
The first thing you should do when you open the package of bare root peony, whether you bought them from a neighborhood garden center or via mail order, is to make sure the plant is healthy. The tubers have to be solid, meaty, and mold-free.
In order to rehydrate bare root plants before planting, it is a good idea to soak them in a pail of water for two to four hours.
If the tubers can’t be planted straight away, keep them in their packaging in a cold, dry location, such a garage or basement. Check on the tubers occasionally to make sure they aren’t turning soft or moldy because warmth and moisture will encourage them to begin developing. They can be stored in this manner for about five days.
Planting Location for Peonies
Select a location with well-drained, slightly acidic soil that receives direct sunlight. Additionally, keep in mind that once established, peonies do not respond well to transplanting, so choose a location where they can be left alone.
Peonies should be planted with their eyes facing upward and close to the soil’s surface. Now, this is a crucial point to remember. Too-deeply planted peonies won’t produce flowers. Plant the tubers no deeper than 2 inches in northern gardens. They are buried approximately a half-inch deep in my garden in the middle of the South. This enables the mulch I apply over the planting bed to discourage weed growth and aid in moisture preservation.
After planting, give the area plenty of water and keep it continually moist until the ground freezes.
What to Expect After Planting Peonies
Your peony will develop foliage in the spring of next year, but it can take a few seasons before it blooms profusely. But you’ll be rewarded for your patience. Peonies are plants that are designed for lengthy lives, and as they become older, their blossoms get better.
Many of the traditional cultivars, including “Sarah Bernhardt” and “Festiva Maxima,” have big, heavy blossoms that have a propensity to topple over. Caging them in the early spring, right after the stems appear above ground, is one of the best strategies to prevent this. To support them, use a straightforward metal ring with legs, or simply enclose the plant in a section of wire fencing.
Caring for Peonies After they Bloom
Peonies also have a wonderful smell, but in order to ensure that there will be a lot of bloom the following year, it’s crucial to remove the seedpods and fertilize each plant in late spring or early summer after deadheading the faded petals. You might sprinkle a 5-10-5 mixture around the base. Per plant, about a handful is sufficient. You only need to feed plants at this time because fertilizer overuse can produce burn, fewer blooms, and lanky growth.
How far should a peony root be buried?
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.
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