Golden Oldies-Part Two

Like any other plant group peonies come in varying sizes, however average growth is about 30-48 inches high and 36 inches wide. The exception is the fern peonies which are smaller growing only to 15-24 inches high. At shrub size you can use peony plants in borders, flowerbeds, as specimens singly or grouped and as hedges.

How to Plant and Care for peonies with Sensible Gardening. Part two of a four part series on Peonies.


When planting peonies place your plants in preferably full sun or a part shade location. In order to bloom well they must receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Also plant peony plants far enough away from competing shrubs and tree roots. Peonies require well drained soil for if left in soggy soils they will rot. They are also heavy feeders so if your soil is sandy amend it with organic matter such as compost or well rotted manure. If your soil is clay it will have enough nutrients, however amend it with sand to improve the drainage.


September through October is the ideal time to plant peony roots however for most of us they are more available in the early spring. You will find young plants growing in containers, and as long as the rootball is left undisturbed, simply move them into your prepared planting hole intact. If you are planting bare roots, plant them 11/2 to 2 inches deep. It is very important that the crown not be placed any lower as the peony will not bloom. Buy roots that are 2-3 years old with at least 3 plump eyes to get blooms the first year. Peonies take about 4 to 5 years to mature and flower so growing from seed is only for those with great patience.

Peony at Sensible Gardening

After digging and amending your hole, partially back fill, pat down and add water. When the water has been absorbed place your roots on top with the eyes up and roots down. The eyes should be no more than 2 inches below ground level. Finish backfilling your hole, firm gently and water well.  If planting container plants plant them at the same depth they were in their containers.

Peony at Sensible Gardening

Your new peonies should be watered weekly and not let to dry out. Once established in further seasons they are quite drought tolerant. Peonies are heavy feeders and require fertilizer in the late fall and at flowering time. Compost or well rotted manure is ideal placed in a circle around the plant. Do not place on top of the plants crown as this might hurt the new growth. If you are using a granular fertilizer choose a well balanced formula like 10-10-10 and use about 1/4 cup, placed around each plant but avoiding the crown.

Peonies at Sensible Gardening

If you are planting peony varieties with large heavy double blooms they may require staking to keep their heads up. Your supports or hoops should be in place before the leaves unfold. Be creative with your supports, there are many beautiful types on the market, or create your own using bamboo stakes.

To learn more about this wonderful plant read my other Peony posts:

Golden Oldies Part One / Types of Peonies

Golden Oldies Part Three / Care and Troubleshooting

Golden Oldies Part Four /Special Tips and Replanting

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How to Plant and care for Peonies with Sensible Gardening. Part Two of a four part series on Peonies.

(some photos from pixabay) (some links go to my affiliate Amazon account)