Planting Peonies Best Tips on When and How To Plant

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Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!

It’s no secret that I love my peonies! Every spring during peony season, I visit Trader Joe’s often in anticipation of their arrival. I went last week to buy some groceries (and hopefully some flowers) and the peonies still hadn’t showed up. Ugh! So then I started wondering, why don’t I have some peonies planted in my own yard? That’s crazy!

It would be so awesome to go outside and clip some peonies and create gorgeous peony bouquets like this one in a blink!

peony arrangement in metal compote bowl

So this week, that’s what I did. I planted two peony potted plants and two peony roots. And now, instead of waiting for them to arrive at Trader Joe’s, I’m eagerly awaiting for my sarah bernhardt peonies to arrive right outside my front door! 🙂

If you have wanted to add some peonies to your yard but were unsure when and how to plant them – let me help! I’ve researched a ton, watched a couple of videos and now I know all things about peony planting. So today I’m going to share my planting peonies best tips and tricks!

Three Types of Peonies

When it comes to selecting your peonies, there are three main types.

There’s herbaceous peonies – which die back to the ground every fall and then in the following spring they emerge with beautiful red-tinted stems. And then become this lovely small shrub in the yard just full of flowers. They grow in zones 3-8 and can reach 2-4 feet in height. This is the type I will be talking about today. 🙂

Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!
photo credit | HGTV

Next are tree peonies – which creates more woody stems above ground that stay intact. They loose their leaves in the fall but in the spring they will leaf out on those stems. Tree peonies will grow best in zones 4-8. The most striking features of tree peonies are the height (from four to seven feet tall) and the enormous flowers.

And then there’s itoh peonies. They are a hybrid cross between an herbaceous peony and a tree peony. The benefits of the itoh peonies is that they are prolific bloomers and there are a ton of colors available.

The great thing about peony plants is they’re one of the easiest flowers to grow in your garden. And once they are established, they can last for years – like decades long!

So let’s start talking planting peonies best tips with what time of year is the best time to plant peonies.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Peonies?

So when is the best planting time? Now – in the early spring or even late spring. But if you don’t have time now, you can in the fall as well. Peonies are not frost tender (meaning they aren’t damaged by winter frosts), so they can be planted in whatever season works best for you.

You can often find potted peonies in your local garden center in the spring months.

Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!

Many will say that peony roots should be planted in the late fall. But often, it’s hard to shop for roots at that time of the year. Since I had my roots already purchased, I decided to not wait around for fall and just plant them now so I didn’t forget about them!

How To Choose The Right Planting Site

Peonies need three things to thrive: full sun, well-drained soil surface and good air circulation around the plants. So you want to choose a location in your landscape that gets 6 to 8 hours of sun. 

The soil needs to be rich, fertile soil with organic matter, neutral to slightly acidic, and have good drainage so there’ll be no standing water around the roots. And for best results, you want to space peonies about 4 feet apart, so they aren’t too crowded.

How To Plant Bare Root Peonies

Peony roots can look gnarly and tough, but they’re actually easy to damage. Root damage will make it harder for your plant to get established, so be sure to handle them carefully.

bag of peony roots

Look at your root and find the eyes, which are the little pointy nubs at the top where the stems will grow. (I’m pointing at those with my index finger in the picture below.)

example of peony root

It’s critical that these are planted at a proper depth. Only 2 inches below the surface of the ground—any deeper and it can delay bloom time or make the plant not bloom at all.

peony root in hole in ground

Set the root inside the planting hole (just two inches below the soil surface), and then add a little granular fertilizer around the root. Carefully backfill the hole with soil, and then firm up the soil over the plant. Top with a light layer of wood mulch.

The last step is to set your peony support cage in place over the planted peony. You could wait until the plant grows up through the soil – but I know I would probably forget. So I did it now!

Then all that’s left to do is water thoroughly.

Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!

How To Plant Peony Plants

The steps for planting peony flowers are very similar to root planting – just not as hard. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root or root ball and about 18 inches deep.

Loosen the dirt around the inside of the hole and then sprinkle in some fertilizer on the bottom of the hole.

peony, plant fertilizer and garden spade

Then gently place the peony plant into the hole and fill in with garden soil. Top that with a light layer of wood mulch and water thoroughly.

Last but definitely not least, insert your peony support cage. Those large flowers are heavy, which is why you so often see peony stems bent over right to the ground under the weight of the flowers, especially after it rains.

peony inside grid support

Invest in some metal supports to place over your peonies when they’re first emerging so that the stems will grow up through. The support can be as simple as a three-legged single ring or a tomato cage.

But since you’ll have your peonies for a lifetime, I say it’s worth investing in some heavy-duty supports. I really like the grid ring design. I think it gives the peonies more support than just one singular ring.

Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!

Once the plant is in full bloom, you’ll barely even notice them. But your peonies will be super grateful you didn’t skip this step!

Caring For Your Peony Plants in the First Year

Now that you peonies are all planted the most important thing for you to do is water your peonies well. A few inches every week, while at the same time checking that the soil is draining and the roots are not waterlogged.

Other than water, your peonies will need little care from you—except your patience in the first couple of seasons. It typically takes 2 to 3 years for peonies to become a mature plant and bloom prolifically after planting, and this goes for transplants, too.

And finally, one of my planting peonies best tips. When your peonies do have flowers, deadhead the fading blooms to keep plants looking tidy and help the plant put energy into the other flower buds.

I hope all of my planting peonies best tips helps you plant lots of successful peonies in your yard. And if you’re not ready to plant just yet, be sure to PIN this so you can easily find the information later! 🙂

Plant gorgeous peonies in your garden with these planting peonies best tips. Everything you need to be successful indeed!

If you are a huge peony lover like me, I have even more fun peony inspired ideas below from my friends.

8 Pretty Peony Projects

Planting Peonies Best Tips on When and How To Plant // Inspiration For Moms

Peony Fields Free Printable Peony Art // The Happy Housie

Pink Peonies Pillow DIY // My 100 Year Old Home

Peony Arrangement Ideas // Happy Happy Nester

How To Make Cut Peonies Last Longer // Maison de Cinq

May In The Garden – Waiting For Peonies // Finding Lovely

Dollar Store Candle Hack // My Sweet Savannah 

3 Easy Steps to Create Inexpensive Front Door Decor // Robyn’s French Nest

4 Comments

  1. I need all the tips I can get when it comes to gardening. Thanks so much for sharing…and your arrangement is gorgeous, too!

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