Peonies have been around for centuries, with a history dating back to the seventh century to be exact. As a general rule, these plants are easy to grow. However, that doesn’t mean they’re foolproof. It helps to know a few tips, especially if you want to see their beautiful, full blooms in hues of burgundy, lavender, and pink come late spring or early summer.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to select their spot carefully because peonies don’t do well when you transplant them.
Peonies need ample sunlight to grow and bloom. Therefore, it’s vital to choose a location where they get enough sun. Ideally, they grow best when they’re in direct sunlight all day but can grow with sunlight for only half of the day.
Additionally, you should select a location far enough away from trees, bushes, and other plants. Peonies don’t do well when they have to compete for nutrients.
Choose the Right Soil
During their first two years of life, peonies don’t get very big. However, their roots extend greatly their third year of life. Bear in mind that it could take another year for the plant to reach maturity if the plant isn’t growing under the right conditions. This means you may not see the plant blooming until year four. Therefore, make sure they have deep enough soil to account for this. But, only plant them about two inches deep initially, or they may not grow as well.
Additionally, the soil should be humus-rich and kept moist. Ideally, these plants like a neutral soil pH.
Give Them Enough, but Not Too Much, Fertilizer
Like most plants, peonies can benefit from fertilizer. You want to make sure it’s the right amount for their preference, though.
Essentially, you should choose a well-balanced fertilizer that isn’t overly rich in nitrogen. Fertilize the plants in early summer once they bloom. If you overly fertilize them, especially before you bloom, they’ll put their increased energy into growing the leaves rather than the blossoms.
Prune Them at the Right Time
Peonies do better when you remove their foliage before the cold of winter.
Whenever you cut the plant’s foliage in, let’s say July or August, your peonies may not bloom to their full potential the following year.
You should wait until early fall to prune them, once their blooms have faded. When you trim them, aim for the slightly above the leaf. The stem shouldn’t stick out above the foliage.
Never prune over two-thirds of the plant, or you risk it not having enough foliage to produce food next year.
Plant Them at the Right Time
Peonies are classified as perennials because they grow and bloom and then die each year. Though the portion you can see isn’t alive anymore, the plants continue to thrive underground during their dormant season.
Therefore, you want to plant your peonies at a time when they can grow strong root systems to survive the winter. This means planting them in either fall or spring.
Just remember that it takes a few seasons for them to grow and thrive.
Water Them Properly
Like all living things, peonies need water to survive. The peony, however, doesn’t require a lot of water to bloom and thrive.
Focus on watering this flower thoroughly when you first plant it. Then, water it when the foliage begins showing and again when the buds develop. Other than that, you should only need to water your peony whenever you have dry spells.
Proper care can be the difference between the plant thriving and not blooming. It takes giving the plant enough sun, adequate water without overwatering it, and pruning properly and at the right time.