When Do Peonies Die Back

For generations, peonies have been a garden favorite. In fact, some of the provided types date back to the middle of the 19th century and are still in demand as garden or cut flowers today!

Herbaceous peonies are quite simple to grow as garden plants because they all die back in the fall and come back in the early spring each year. Peony plants dislike being moved once they are established. They can remain in the same place for more than 25 years! All they need is a sunny to partly sunny location with little to no prolonged standing water.

Peony plants can be planted in the early spring or the fall. We’ll send you a peony with at least three to five eyes while it’s bare root (grow points). If compost is available, plant the root in the pre-dug hole. Soil should be applied to the entire plant with the eyes (growth points) receiving no more than 2″ of soil coverage.

Don’t be disheartened if the peony only has one or two flowering stems the first year; this is typical. For the first two years, we advise against cutting the stems as this promotes the expansion of the underground root. You should expect 5-7 blossoms in the second year. Up to the sixth year, when certain kinds may reach up to 25–30 stems per plant, it should increase yearly.

In order for peonies to emerge from dormancy and blossom the next season, they require a cold (winter) time. As a result, they are grown in the southern states with very varied results (USDA zone 9B and higher). While dormant, they are extremely cold tolerant. Even in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the far north, they are successfully grown.


Despite the fact that peonies are relatively hardy in most areas, several (fungal) illnesses can harm them.

– Botrytis (grey mold): This can be a problem in more humid climates. Typically, just the freshly formed flower buds will be affected, not the entire plant. The fungus will brownize the buds, and they can miscarry. In extreme circumstances, it can sometimes harm the stem’s base, causing the stem to collapse there.

– Verticillium: This vascular disease causes the stem to wilt and die back by destroying the vascular cells at the base of the stem.

– Cladosporium (measles): Only the leaves are impacted; measles-like brown spots will form overnight (red varieties seem more susceptible than others). The plant will flower regardless of the measles.

Ice/frozen damage:

This only occurs when there is a heavy frost (28 or below) just as the flower buds are beginning to form. The young bud will develop poorly due to the frost and turn brown or black.

Early in October, we start sending out fall packages using U.S. Priority Mail (unless another method is requested). Spring shipments start in March (or whenever outdoor planting is appropriate in your location), and we continue shipping until May 10. (Crocosmias only sail in the spring.)

The designated (LG) Lily Garden masterpieces are original works of art that were developed on our farm. We firmly guarantee that every bulb will develop and bloom because we grow them all ourselves, right here on our own farm. To show you how they actually seem, we take pictures of all of our lilies in the field.

Are peonies replanted in the summer?

Although the exact timing varies depending on the cultivar and USDA zone where they were planted, peonies sprout in the early spring. When the fear of frost has passed and daytime temperatures are consistently between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they typically begin to develop. Peony plants live through the spring and summer until withering away after the first frost in the fall.

How often should peony be pruned?

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.

Should I trim back my peonies for the winter?

Your peony leaves may start to appear less than fantastic as the season progresses. Even while it would be tempting to prune them, the plant needs the energy from the leaves for the new growth that occurs the next year. You must wait until the fall to prune them back because of this. The flowers the following year can suffer if they are cut down too soon.

Peony foliage, for instance, is susceptible to powdery mildew, which doesn’t harm the plant but is ugly. Powdery mildew can be avoided with full sun and ample of space for air movement. Verticillium wilt, Japanese beetles, and botrytis blight are examples of further ailments.

It’s important to know when to prune peonies in the fall. Wait until a strong frost has killed off the foliage, timing-wise. (That occurs where I live typically in October, though occasionally it occurs in November.) Peony leaves are pretty gorgeous up to that point in early fall, frequently turning color to a golden hue like other trees and bushes.

Trim back all of the stems to the ground with a good set of pruning shears. Treat the soil surrounding the plant’s base with care. Avoid damaging the crown at the soil level at all costs.

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.

How can you ensure that peonies bloom all summer long?

You’re hosting a dinner party and have purchased or cut a number of peonies that are still in the bud stage. What do you do when the buds haven’t bloomed the day before your party? Trim the stems and place them immediately into warm water to hasten the process. Place the flowers in a warm area with direct sunlight, vase and all, and check on them occasionally. You can move them to the desired location after they begin to open.

With our suggestions, you can put off wilting flowers as long as you can. These five suggestions should each help your cut peonies thrive for a few extra days. Additionally, if you want them to endure even longer, plant peonies in your garden this year so you may take advantage of them all season long!

Do I need to remove the dead peony blooms?

If gardeners deadhead their blooms, the peony season may endure a little longer. Peonies should be deadheaded when they begin to fade, according to experts. They ought to trim the plant back to the leaf bud rather than merely removing the head. By doing this, you’ll contribute to the overall health of the flower and the upkeep of the neighborhood.

How are peonies prepared 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