Peonies: How to Plant, Grow And Care

Getting yourself an attractive peony flower garden can be a rewarding task and is not as hard as you think. There is some care that must be taken when growing, though. Planting and caring for peonies will result in beautiful flowers that cannot be found anywhere else.

Most of the time it is just a myth that peonies take longer to bloom than other flowers do if you know what type of soil they need and how to take care of them properly.

Peony flowers

Peonies characteristics

Peonies are perennials that bloom year after year and keep coming back to take your breath away. Some varieties live for more than 100 years! They grow spectacularly in many different climates, making them suitable for almost any garden or location. Many nurseries offer early, midseason, and late-blooming varieties of peonies — giving you the chance to enjoy their lovely blossoms for as long as possible!

Peonies grow well as far south as Zones 7 and 8, but most will enjoy a sunny spot in your yard. The rules for success are simple: provide full sun and well-drained soil. Peonies even relish cold winters because they need chilling to bloom!

Types of Peony Flowers

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

How to grow 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 with 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 fussy, but you’ll want to choose the spot wisely. They don’t like to be disturbed and will not transplant well. They like full sun and prefer 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day; they also need deep, fertile, moist soil that drains well. Don’t plant too close to trees or other plants, as peonies don’t like competition.


Peonies prefer a position in full sun provided it doesn’t get too hot in summer. However, some types will tolerate light shade as well. Peons need rich soil that is fertile and well-drained (although neutral to alkaline). Paeonia anomala should be planted in slightly acidic soil. A late frost can damage the buds of tree peonies, so they should not be planted in areas that are prone to late frosts.

See Also: Philodendron joepii Plant And Care

When to Plant Peonies

If plants are planted correctly and take root, peonies 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 péonies in the fall: in most of the United States, in late September and early October, and even later in the fall in Zones 7 and 8. (Find your planting zone here). 

Fall is the best season to transplant established plants since it is when they have gone dormant. About six weeks before the ground freezes, peonies should be planted. Although planting peonies in the spring is certainly a possibility (particularly if they are protected from winter harm by being brought indoors), they typically take approximately a year to mature.

How to Plant Peonies

Peonies are often offered as divisions of a 3- or 4-year-old plant, bare-root tubers with 3 to 5 eyes (buds). To give them the freedom to flourish and allow for proper air circulation, space the peonies in your yard approximately 3 to 4 feet apart. A steady supply of humid air might encourage the growth of illness in peonies. In a sunny area, dig a generously sized hole that is approximately 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. One cup of bonemeal should be added to the soil. The roots should be positioned in the hole just 2 inches below the earth’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 give some shade in southern areas.

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

Peonies thrive on benign neglect. They don’t require division and they don’t need fertilizer every year. If your soil is poor, apply fertilizer as early in the growing season as possible (after the peonies have bloomed and before you deadhead their flowers). Don’t fertilize more than every few years. To strengthen the stems of a peony plant, consider three-legged metal peony rings or wire tomato cages that allow the plant to grow through the center of the support.

To help your peonies, consider using tomato cages or wire three-legged rings that allow the plant to grow through the center. Deadhead peony blossoms as soon as they begin to fade, cutting to a strong leaf so that the stem does not stick out of the foliage. Cut foliage to the ground in the fall to avoid any overwintering diseases. Do not smother your peonies with mulch—where cold temperatures are severe, for the first winter after planting you can mulch VERY loosely with pine needles or shredded bark. Remove mulch in spring.”

Pests/Disease in Peonies

Peonies are generally very hardy and deer-resistant, making them a good choice for your garden. However, they are susceptible to Verticillium wilt, Ringspot virus, Tip blight, Stem rot, and Botrytis blight. They are also susceptible to leaf blotch, Japanese beetles, and nematodes.

Peony flower benefits

  • The root of the peony plant is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of purposes. It might block pain chemicals and reduce swelling, kill cancer cells and act as an antioxidant all while improving cardiovascular function.
  • The leaves of the peony plant are used to make an herbal tea that is good for stomach ulcers and to treat constipation, diarrhea, and dysentery, They are also used to treat jaundice and diseases caused by excessive sexual activity. They are also good for lowering fever during hot summer months or treating colds.


In conclusion, peonies are popularly associated with love, beauty, and happiness. The abundant blossoms are used in many wedding bouquets and other flower arrangements. The peony is a symbol of wealth and prosperity in China. These plants are also common allergens to people suffering from pollen allergies if the peonies are planted near their own homes.


Are peony flowers poisonous?

Peony flowers are poisonous. Many gardens and floral arrangements contain peonies and their vibrant blossoms. Many people are unaware that peony flowers are toxic despite their beauty. Ingesting peony flowers can make people and animals sick.

What can you use peony petals for?

These blossoms are a delight for home landscaping since they are incredibly fragrant and spectacular. However, one aspect of these plants is frequently disregarded: they are edible. In reality, peonies have a lengthy medical history in addition to the fact that the petals may be used to flavor beverages, top salads, and make jam.

What do peonies symbolize?

The peony is historically offered on important occasions as a token of goodwill, best wishes, and joy. It is typically indicative of love, honor, happiness, riches, romance, and beauty.

Why do peonies close at night?

They’re simply really advanced. The act of plants tucking themselves in for the night is known as nyctinasty. Scientists are aware of the cause of the phenomenon: Certain flowers develop their lowermost petals more quickly than their uppermost petals when it is chilly and dark, which forces the blossoms to close.

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