Planting Peonies

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow perennial that will add a splash of color and delicious scent to your garden, then herbaceous peony plants may be just what you’re looking for!

Planting Peonies in your garden is a wonderful way to get these popular perennial plants with beautiful, scented early summer blooms that are adored by many. They are trustworthy, long-lived plants that will blossom for years with little care.

In fact, herbaceous peonies are one of the most easily grown hardy perennials available today and they can live 100+ years. Some in my neighborhood are 90 years old and growing like crazy.

Bowl of Beauty Peony, Peony Planting

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In this blog post, you will find tips on how to plant beautiful potted peony plants in your garden. You can often find potted Peonies for sale in Spring at your local garden center.

Often they will have sprouts just emerging from the soil. Starting with a potted plant can give you more flowers sooner than planting Bare Root.

I have already shared how to plant bare root peonies but now let’s delve into potted peonies.

Planting Bare Root Peonies: Planting peony bulbs or bare roots can be quite confusing. It can be hard to figure out which end is up. Just press here to learn how to plant Peonies bare root and where to get good quality bulbs.

Today we talk about:

  • When to plant herbaceous Peonies
  • Where to plant Peonies for best flowering
  • Best Soil conditions
  • Basic Planting Steps for Potted Peonies
  • General Care

When is it best to Plant Peonies?

The ideal time to plant peonies is in Fall or Spring. This ensures they can develop deeper roots before hot weather begins.

planting peonies, Karl Rosenfield red peonies

Peony Planting Location

Peonies need lots of light so choose a location for your peony plants that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. The more sun they get, the better they’ll bloom, so it’s best to plant your peonies in the sunniest location of your garden as possible.

Even when they are not flowering Peony foliage is beautiful all summer long and makes for a wonderful hedge or border planting if planted in a row. In Fall the foliage turns a pleasant yellow.

Be aware that if you plant near trees they can hog the water so be sure to choose your spot wisely.

Best Soil for Flowering Peonies

Peonies grow best in rich, loose, well-draining soil. Amend the soil with compost or manure before planting.  

Avoid planting in areas where the soil is soggy or compacted.

Note: Most plants prefer healthy soil. You can continually improve the quality of your soil by adding compost annually. This reduces the need for added fertilizers saving you lots of money.

better soil – better plants

How to Build Healthy Soil

Healthy soil eliminates or dramatically reduces the need for costly fertilizers. Save money and help the earth by building healthy soil in your garden!

How to Plant Potted Peonies

Dig a hole as deep or a bit deeper as the pot your peony plant is in and slightly wider.

Tilt the plant on its side and squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the plant root ball. Or run a gardening knife down the sides to loosen. Gently pull the peony from the pot.

Add enough soil back to the hole to place the top of the root ball at the soil surface. Place the root ball in the hole and fill in around the roots with soil.

gloved hands planting peonies in soil

If planting more than one, plant other peony plants about 36 to 48 inches away. This allows good air circulation once the peonies grow full size which can reduce the chance of fungus infection.

Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil, any deeper and the peony plant may not bloom.

Water well

Water deeply and keep the soil moist until the plants are well-established. Peonies can be drought tolerant once well established.

They thrive when they receive at least 1 inch of water per week. Mulching with compost or shredded bark helps to retain moisture and feeds the soil.

Cut Flowers

Peonies make great cut flowers but you may need to wait a good 3 years from planting to get an abundance. Different varieties can bloom at different times giving you a long range of flowering.

Peony Supports

Supporting peonies is important to keep them looking their best. The heavy flowers tend to flop to the ground in rain or wind when not supported.

There are many on the market and some are gorgeous all year round but I share with you an easy DIY Peony Support you can build with common, inexpensive materials.

easy and budget-friendly

homemade Peony Supports

You can quickly and easily create your own peony supports at a fraction of the cost. Readily available supplies and a little effort to keep your peonies from flopping!

More about Peonies

Peonies flower in late Spring, early Summer, but the exact bloom time varies by variety. Each individual bloom lasts around 7-10 days, and each plant will give multiple blooms.

A week to 10 days does not sound very long but if you plant a combination of early, mid and late season bloomers, you can extend the peony season to about 6 weeks. 

Peonies make great companions for other early summer flowers such as iris, alliums and roses.

The peony foliage stays attractive all season long, which you can use as a hedge or just as a lush backdrop for Summer flowers.

Most peonies can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and up to 3 feet across, that is why I recommend allowing room for them to fill out. 

Peonies are carefree plants that are rarely troubled by pests or diseases. Though some can get Botrytis blight.

Botrytis blight is the most common disease of garden peonies and is prevalent in damp, rainy seasons. For more on this see this article. I have never experienced this so I cannot speak authoritatively on the subject.

Remember it takes at least two years for a young peony plant to get established, but once it has settled in, it will bloom reliably each year for a generation or more.

Some cut flower gardeners like to remove the flower buds for the first 2 years to help the plant get established and they claim they produce more prolifically in the third year but disbudding.

For more great information on Growing Peonies see this article!

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