When To Cut Down Peony Foliage

Peonies should be pruned as they begin to yellow or turn brown. This normally happens in late September or early October, just before or after the first frost. Autumn pruning of peony eliminates any remaining foliar diseases and lowers the likelihood of infection the next year.

It is advised to add some very loose mulch (such as pine needles or crushed bark) to the area after trimming in areas with extremely cold winters. This mulch should then be removed before the start of spring, in late March or early April. These regions also have a tendency to turn colder earlier in the year, so trimming back sooner, say in mid- to late-September, will probably be necessary.

Do I need to remove peonies once they bloom?

When peonies and Stella d’Oro lilies have finished blooming, may they be trimmed down? What kind of flower should I place there instead when the peonies have finished blooming?

The dead peony blossoms can be removed, but the foliage should remain in tact. To prepare the blossoms for the following year, the plant needs all of its leaves. When a cycle of blooming is finished, you can do the same with Stella d’Oro by cutting off the flower stems. But avoid trimming the foliage.

You might think about growing a clematis beside the peonies. The clematis can use the peony’s foliage as support as it climbs up and blooms in the same spot later in the year.

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.

For the winter, do you prune back peonies?

Yes! During the fall and winter, peonies must unquestionably be pruned. This will not only shield your plant from potential pest attacks, but it will also guarantee that the next year your plant will produce stunning and brilliant blooms. Having said that, it’s crucial to realize that different peony varieties demand distinct cutting techniques.

For instance, it is necessary to prune perennial peonies after the first sign of frostbite, tree peonies in the spring, and intersectional peonies in the late summer and early fall. Here are some things you need to know if you own one of these peonies and want to learn more about the precise pruning needs.

Perennials Peonies

The perennials, which are frequently found in gardens, are best categorized as herbaceous. These plants typically die in the fall and finally re-grow in the spring of the following year, with lovely greenish stems. Your perennial plants should ideally be pruned following the first frost.

Make sure you properly remove any extra foliage as well as any fallen leaves and blooms. The plant won’t contract any disease from its rotting and withering sections thanks to this straightforward action.

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

After they bloom, what should you do with peony bushes?

After your peonies have finished performing for the year, some tender loving care will guarantee that they return even stronger the following year. Deadheading, or picking off faded flowers, helps the plant conserve energy for the blooms of the following year and guards against fungus diseases. Do not remove any foliage; only the spent blooms should be removed (the plant will need those leaves to help build up flowers for next year).

For herbaceous peonies, once a fall frost has died off the foliage, you can cut the entire plant to the ground. New growth will emerge from the roots in the spring. Trim the tree peony in the late spring. Remove any damaged wood immediately. Cut at an angle, just above buds that face outward.

Do peonies that have been trimmed induce new blooms?

Herbaceous peonies do not produce a second round of blooms after cutting off their spent flowers like other perennials do. The following year, peony plants will reappear. Be aware that if the herbaceous peony plant is removed too early, it will likely take longer to bloom at its finest the next year even though it will come back.

How come my peonies are so lanky?

Leggy or floppy plants have a propensity to topple over, produce fewer flowers, and have an untidy lanky appearance. Plants are typically tall and lanky for a few reasons. Too much nitrogen or even low light conditions can cause leggy plant growth. Additionally, it is just widespread among some species. Learn how to maintain bushier, more abundant flora by preventing plants from becoming lanky.

For the winter, should I mulch my peonies?

Peonies should be pruned almost to the ground in the fall after the leaves turn yellow. However, take care not to remove any of the reddish or pink buds, also known as “eyes,” as the eyes, which are found close to the ground, are the beginnings of the stems for the following year. (Don’t fret; the eyes won’t become frozen.)

Should peony eyes be exposed to the air?

Open the box as soon as you get your Third Branch Flower peony roots to look at them. Please contact us with any issues within 48 hours!

As soon as you receive your peony, we strongly advise planting them. If you haven’t already, chose and get ready for your planting area while you keep them for a short period in a refrigerator or cooler.

Although peonies are not picky, you should pick your place carefully because they hate being moved. They should be three to four feet apart to allow for proper airflow.

Peonies should be grown in a sunny, wind-free area. Pick a location with soil that is neutral in pH, deep, fertile, and humus-rich.

Plant peony in the fall; in the majority of the nation, this is in late September and October, though it might be later in the South. (Divide or transfer an established plant if necessary; do so in the fall.) Peonies sown in the spring often take longer to mature than those sown in the fall by roughly a year.

Create a huge hole that is two feet broad and two feet deep. Add compost to the soil if it is sandy or heavy. Add about a cup of bonemeal to the ground. Firmly tamp it down.

Make sure the eyes and crown of the root are 2 inches below the soil surface and position it so the eyes face upward on top of the firmed soil. Choose early-blooming species, plant them about an inch deep, and provide some shade in southern states. If you plant your peony too deeply, it won’t blossom once it’s established. The eyes (buds) of the peony should be no more than 1-1/2 to 2 inches below the soil surface in the majority of the nation.

Backfill the hole once more, being careful to ensure that the root is not buried more than 2 inches deep.


It takes time for young peony to blossom into their magnificent personalities! Establishment, blooming, and growth could take a few years. To ensure that there is enough root to support first-year flowering, we ship large, 3-5 eye divisions. Peonies benefit from gentle neglect. They don’t require digging and dividing every few years like other perennials do, unless you wish to propagate a specific kind.

Early July, after the peonies have blossomed, is the best time to apply fertilizer (bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure) if your soil is deficient. Have your soil tested annually and limit your fertilizing to every few years.

Some peony kinds’ stems aren’t always sturdy enough to hold their enormous flowers. Consider using rope to stake large, heavy bouquets or investing in metal supports.

You can “deadhead” if you don’t like how faded blossoms appear. Peony blossoms should be removed as soon as they start to fade, cutting to a sturdy leaf to prevent the stem from sticking out of the foliage.

To prevent diseases from overwintering, cut the foliage to the ground in the fall and remove it from your garden or field.

Avoid covering peonies with mulch. In areas with extreme cold, you can mulch VERY lightly with straw, wood chips, or shredded bark the first winter after planting.

Peonies make excellent cut flowers and keep their beauty for more than a week in a vase. Cut the stems when the buds resemble a firm marshmallow for optimal results.