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Easy Steps to Grow Peonies

Updated on May 29, 2016
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a Library Media Specialist in an elementary school.


Discovering the Peony

The first time I ever saw a peony, I thought it was a rose. There was a large rectangular bed filled with them in a neighbor's yard. It seemed that they just suddenly appeared one day. I could only see them from a distance but was amazed at their magnificent size and brilliant colors. I remember thinking they must be hard to grow and probably required a lot of maintenance. Boy was I wrong!

Peonies are very easy to plant and grow. The only maintenance needed is cosmetic. Because they are loaded with petals and very heavy, they tend to droop over. Staking them will allow a better view of their incredibly large colorful blooms. I have listed suggestions for optimal growing conditions below, but in truth, I have done nothing to mine other than plant them in the ground. My peonies look amazing.


Planting Peonies

  • Plant bare root peonies in the fall. These will appear in the spring and will have attractive green foliage. Depending on the variety, they may not produce flowers the first year. Each year the plant will grow larger, into what looks like a bush, and it will completely die down in the winter.
  • If soil is poor, add a mixture of compost before planting. Even though this is not necessary for growth, it will make the plant healthier, and may give long-lasting benefits over the years. The plant may produce more blooms, longer-lasting blooms, and may live longer.
  • Peonies do well in full sun, but can do fine in partial shade as well. If planting in full sun, occasional watering will prevent flowers from dying early.
  • Plant Peonies no more than 2 inches below the soil surface, with buds facing upward. I've read that planting the Peonies too deep can thwart their growth.
  • Water thoroughly after planting. It is suggested that Peonies be watered a few times before they emerge from the ground.
  • Place a layer of mulch over soil. This will protect the Peonies through the winter.

Peonies in Flower Arrangements


Peony Care and Maintenance

  • Peonies should be cut back in the Fall. I have read that they should not be mulched into the flower beds, as they can can a plant disease.
  • Peonies will die down in the Winter and return each Spring, larger and more beautiful than the year before.
  • Compost can be added to the soil yearly for optimal growth, but is not necessary.


Peony Facts

  • Peonies can live to be as old as 100 and still produce flowers according to
  • Peonies are attractive in cut-flower arrangements as their stems are long and can create show-stopping vases. They also look beautiful cut at the stem, displayed floating in a bowl of water.
  • They can be grown in the ground or in containers, and some varieties are very fragrant. They come in a large assortment of colors, with the exception of blue.
  • Peonies come in a variety of sizes too, from 1 to 10 inches across.
  • Flowers will first bloom in the early spring and can continue blooming for up to two months.
  • Peonies symbolize beauty, romance and peace. Some cultures believe them to have healing powers.




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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for reading RTalloni! I may have to move a couple of mine from the backyard, as they are not getting enough sunlight to produce blooms, but will probably wait till fall. The foliage is attractive too, so not a complete loss. I would like to see what other color options are out there. Take care!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for some helpful information on growing peonies. Yours are beautiful! My peonies were also larger this year and though I had heard they would not bloom for a year if they were moved I discovered that is not true. In planning for some construction we had to move a favorite plant, but my husband was careful to get a large root ball very early in the spring. They not only survived but had the most blooms of all the peonies we have!

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for reading everyone. Glimmertwin fan, I hope you get some blooming peonies soon. Our weather has been strangely unpredictable this year, but the peonies seem to like it. Joanne, the peonies do seem larger this year- I'm having to stake them as their hanging so low due to their size and weight. Reviera, I love taking pictures of my flowers! They are a piece of art in my mind. Thanks for all of your comments!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

      Your peonies are beautiful, especially the main photo. I've got one in a pot which hadn't flowered for the last couple of years due, I think, to being in too shady a spot. Now I've moved it and I've got a nice big bud waiting to open - I can't wait! Lovely hub, voted up and beautiful.

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 4 years ago

      I love peonies and it seems this year they are growing larger and more beautiful than in previous years. Wonderful tips and facts with awesome photos. Voted up!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Peonies are my favorites and with our cool spring up here they have not bloomed, but are just about too. That is except for my newest one..."coral charm". I just planted it in the fall and it has the most glorious bloom on it. Yours look beautiful! I wish I could share it, but that button is missing right now. Pinned though.