Peonies are stunning, old-fashioned, dependable, and long-lived easy to grow perennials.


  • full sun to light shade—at least 6 hours of sunlight a day for good blooming


  • rich, well-drained soil
  • incorporate generous amounts of organic matter—compost


  • give each plant room to grow—for bush-type peonies a 3 foot diameter circle would be minimum
  • crown of the plant, area where eyes (buds) sprout, should be 2 inches below the surface
  • firmly pack soil around the crown

Routine Care

In spring
  • remove any debris covering the crown of the plant
  • sprinkle a handful of bone meal around plants and gently work into the soil or apply a well balanced fertilizer
  • Peonies blooms are large and heavy so they require some support. Set up supports before leaves unfold.
Throughout summer
  • keep well watered and fertilized
In fall
  • sprinkle a generous handful of bone meal around the plants and gently work into the soil in early August—Peonies set their flower buds for next season at this time. Bone meal will increase quality and quantity of blooms for next year.
  • after a killing frost, cut plants back—this will help control botrytis
  • Botrytis (grey mold) is a serious disease that over winters on plant parts so if you don’t cut plants back in the fall leaves and stems can become a source of infection the following year.


  • Ants can frequently be found on peonies because they are attracted to the syrup the buds exude.
  • THEY DO NOT HARM THE PEONY and DO NOT need to be controlled.

Why Peonies Do Not Bloom:

  1. Plants are too young and immature 
    be patient, let them develop.
  2. Planted too deep
    if eyes are more than 8cm (3") under the soil surface, raise plants up to 5cm (2").
  3. Insufficient moisture
    more frequent watering and the addition of a layer of mulch.
  4. Late spring frost
    if there is a chance of late spring frost cover with a sheet or blanket to protect buds from freezing. 
  5. Botrytis Blight or other diseases
    buds turn black and fail to develop, leaves may be spotted, base of stems look mushy and rotten.
    use a fungicide to help correct problem.
    Water around base of plant, ensure plant has good air circulation and cut plants back in the fall. 
  6. Insect attacks
    Thrips cause buds to open partially, turn brown and fall—can spray to correct this problem
  7. Recent transplanting or division
  8. Location and culture
    not getting enough sun
    too crowded - fighting for moisture and nutrients not getting enough fertilizer