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Growing Peonies FAQ

Questions and answers on how to plant and grow peonies

  • What is the best time to plant peonies? The best time to plant peonies is in the late fall or early spring, when the soil is cool and moist. Peonies prefer colder climates, so in warmer climates, planting should be delayed until fall. When selecting a planting site, it is important to choose an area that gets full sun and has good drainage. Planting too deeply or in soil with poor drainage can lead to root rot, so be sure to plant peonies at the correct depth and in well-draining soil.
  • How much water do peonies need? Peonies need about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or from supplemental irrigation. They should not be over-watered, as this can lead to root rot. Watering should be done deeply and evenly, and it is particularly important to water during dry spells or when the plant is blooming.
  • How often should I fertilize peonies? Fertilizing peonies should be done once a year, in the early spring. A balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, should be used at a rate of one pound per 100 square feet. After fertilizing, it is important to water the soil thoroughly.
  • What type of soil is best for growing peonies? Peonies prefer rich, well-draining soil, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure can help improve soil quality and drainage. Soil should be amended before planting to ensure that the peonies have the best start.
  • How long do peonies live? Peonies can live for many years, provided they are planted correctly and in good soil. With proper care, peonies can easily last for 30 years or more.
  • How much space should I leave between peonies? When planting multiple peonies, it is important to leave enough space between them so that they have plenty of room to grow. Generally, it is recommended to leave at least 18 inches of space between each plant.
  • When do peonies bloom? Peonies generally bloom in late spring or early summer, depending on the variety. Most varieties flower for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • How do I prune peonies? Pruning peonies is generally not necessary, but if desired, pruning can be done in late fall or early spring. Prune back any dead or damaged stems, and remove spent flowers after blooming is finished.
  • How do I divide peonies? Dividing peonies should be done every 3 to 5 years, in the early spring. Carefully dig up the clump of peony roots and divide the root ball into several sections, making sure that each section has at least 3 to 5 eyes (the small buds from which the stems will emerge). Plant each section in a new location and water thoroughly.
  • What pests and diseases affect peonies? Peonies are generally resistant to most pests and diseases, but they can be affected by certain fungal diseases such as botrytis blight and powdery mildew. Aphids, Japanese beetles, and slugs can also cause damage. Proper plant care, such as keeping the area clean and removing affected leaves, can help reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

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