It’s simple to add peonies to your landscape. In most areas, place plants in full light. Peonies planted in shadow in colder climates will have weak stems and fewer blossoms. Choose a location with afternoon shade if you live in a warmer climate or if springs are hot and dry. Plant in loamy soil that drains well or is average. Peonies prefer soil that is moist but not saturated with water. If necessary, add compost before planting.
Planting Steps for Herbaceous and Intersectional (Itoh) Peonies
- Select a location with well-drained soil that is far from any rival roots. Peonies grow well when given years of uninterrupted growth in the same spot.
- Create a hole that is the length of the roots and 12″ wide. Now is the time to fill the bottom of the hole with any compost. Plant the roots 1″ to 2″ below the soil level with the eyes (buds) looking up. Plant them 2-3 feet apart if you’re planting more than one to give yourself enough room. The peony won’t bloom if it is planted too deeply. Visit our planting manual for a thorough explanation.
- Backfill the area surrounding the roots gradually, making sure there are no air pockets, and apply pressure to compact the soil.
- Once the plant is placed, water it gently all around. To control weed growth as well as the warmth and moisture of the soil, use a light mulch or chopped leaves. Unless it rains or there is a lot of moisture, water will be needed every day for 5 days in the morning or evening. Don’t overwater your plants or the roots may rot.
Planting Tree Peonies
Different from herbaceous and intersectional itoh peony, planting tree peonies.
- Select a location with well-drained soil that is far from any rival roots. If grown in the same spot for years without being disturbed, tree peonies thrive.
- Dig a hole about 2 feet deep, the length of the roots, and about 1 foot wide to accommodate the roots and leave some room for growth. Now is the time to fill the bottom of the hole with any compost. Plant them 2-3 feet apart if you’re planting more than one to give yourself enough room.
- Once the plant is placed, water it gently all around. When watering, wait until the earth has dried out or until it hasn’t rained. Water is necessary for tree peony to produce root growth, but too much water will cause them to decay.
Expect the roots of peony to produce 2–5 leaf shoots and 1-2 flowers in their first year of growth. Two years later, the plant is twice as big and has twice as many blooms. Peonies will be large and bushy, with loads of foliage and blooms, by their fourth or fifth year.
Itoh and tree peonies don’t need staking, but once established, the majority of herbaceous peonies produce large flowers that are frequently too heavy for their stems. You don’t have to stake them, but if you don’t, the result will be large, gorgeous blossoms that droop. Use peony rings to maintain their erect position after you have a healthy clump. The rings are simply wheel-shaped wire arrangements that rise above the peony when the plant emerges in the spring and resemble a small wire table. The peony ring is positioned with upright supports so that the shoots will push through the round wire bale. Of course, the foliage quickly covers the ring, and before the flowers even open, you have a gorgeously supported cluster. What stores carry peony rings? Gardeners Supply is something we advise.
After the blossoms have faded, cut off the spent flowers from herbaceous and (itoh) intersectional peonies at the point where the stem and foliage meet. For the balance of the growing season, leave the leaves alone. The leaves will first turn yellow before wilting as fall approaches and the weather cools. Trim back all leaves on herbaceous peonies to a height of about 3″ from the ground. As a result, the plant is kept neat and new growth can sprout without risking plant damage. Since itoh peonies are a hybrid of both herbaceous and tree peonies, they should be handled similarly in the fall. It is recommended to prune the plant once it has reached maturity so that the hard wood portion of the stem is left and the herbaceous portion is cut off. In order to distinguish between the hard wood stem and the herbaceous green stem when the leaves wither, it is recommended to leave peonies alone during their first year of growth. Itoh peony typically leave 4-5 inches of firm wood above ground when they are grown.
Different pruning methods are needed for tree peony. Just below the faded blossoms, cut the stem. Trimming the stem too much will prevent growth the next year. Next year’s woody branch will be formed from this year’s green shoots. So let the shrub alone in the fall rather than cutting it down to the ground. The optimum time to prune a mature tree peony if it needs to be shaped is shortly after it blooms. Don’t cut too much of the tree because doing so can seriously harm the plant.
It’s not necessary to fertilize peonies every year. It is advisable to put them in a fertile environment. After peonies have blossomed every couple of years, spread bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure in the early summer.
When should peony be planted?
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
Is staking necessary for Sarah Bernhardt peonies?
- After planting, give your “Sarah Bernhardt” peonies a lot of water to keep their soil moist until the roots begin to emerge. Reduce watering sessions progressively as the plants mature so that you or natural precipitation are the only source of moisture for them once a week.
- When “Sarah Bernhardt” peonies reach their full size, they need to be staked. Each plant needs a medium-sized tomato cage around it at the beginning of its growth. The majority of the cages are hidden by the plants’ foliage as it grows.
How much sun is required for a Sarah Bernhardt peony?
Searching for a traditional peony? Look at the lovely “Sarah Bernhardt” peony. Like its namesake actress, this pink peony, which was first bloomed in 1906, is well-known throughout the world. According to peony classifications, the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony is adored for its rich, full flowers that exhibit a rose or bomb shape. Its densely packed flowers with a delicate yet strong smell are a favorite among gardeners.
Midseason is when ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony blossoms bloom. That signifies, in peony slang, that they are blooming when the middle of spring transitions towards the end of spring. The “Sarah Bernhardt” peony flowers at the same time as false indigo, Siberian iris, and lavender (Lavandula) (Baptisia australis). The pink apple blossom hues of the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony contrast well with the purple tones of these perennials that bloom in the spring.
The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony’s large blossom heads have one flaw: they’re almost too enormous. Although stems can lift them off the ground, they frequently keep a bent position as the flower fully blooms and reaches its maximum weight. When spring showers are present, moist blooms rapidly weigh down stems to the point that blossoms droop to the ground.
This peony needs to be staked. The heavy, moist blossoms, according to many gardeners, are too much for straightforward grow-through stakes, and occasionally the stems break. To assist in keeping stems upright, think about creating a makeshift cage-style stake using some kind of fencing.
A mature “Sarah Bernhardt” peony should reach heights and widths of 24 to 30 inches in the garden. This peony works well with shrub foundation plantings and can be placed across a walkway or path to create a spring floral allee. Mass two or three of these peonies together for a shrub-like appearance, or tuck a shrub or two into a perennial border for a pop of soft spring pink.
Like all peonies, “Sarah Bernhardt” thrives in full sun, while it also benefits from shade during the hottest parts of the day. Before planting, add a lot of organic matter to the soil. You want to place peonies in the appropriate location from the beginning because they normally don’t need to be moved or divided for many years.
Early in the fall, plant ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ bareroot. This allows plants plenty of time to grow strong roots before the onset of winter. You can anticipate seeing a few stems that reach a height of around 6 inches in the first spring following planting. There may or may not be a few flowers. The second spring following planting is when growth really begins to take off. More blooms and stalks ought to be shown. Your ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony ought to be in full bloom by the third spring, with lots of stems and blooms.
To enjoy fresh in a vase, cut the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony blossoms. One of the greatest peonies for drying is this one, which has acquired distinction. Simply hang stems of peony flowers upside-down in a cool, dark location to dry them. Avoid bundling more than three stems at once, and it’s a good idea to space out the flower heads so they don’t touch during drying.