and Planting Peonies
The best time
to divide and plant a peony is September. Here are a few tips for
successful peony division and planting.
stems down to ground level.
plants and shake gently to remove soil.
into sections making sure that each section has 3-5 eyes and a portion of
the root system.
To Plant a
Dig a hole 18
inches deep and 18 inches wide.
Break up any
large clods of soil and add organic mater, if needed.
Add 1/4 cup
5-10-5 fertilizer to half the soil and place this soil into the bottom of
the hole. Add soil
without fertilizer to adjust the soil height so the peony division may be
peony so that the eyes are approximately 2 inches below the soil surface in
the northern U.S.
thoroughly throughout the fall and mulch with 3 inches of straw in late
fall. Remove mulch when growth resumes in the spring.
sunny, well-drained location for your peonies. They will tolerate some
shade, but should have at least a half-day of sunshine. The best
blooms are usually found on plants growing in full sunlight. Do not
plant near large trees or heavy shrubs where they would be robbed of
necessary moisture and plant food. Plants may be spaced from two to
four feet apart according to desired effect in the landscape. If you
wish to develop large specimen clumps, space them four feet apart.
Peonies prefer a soil that tests 6.5 pH.
ground has been properly enriched at planting time, there will be little
need for further fertilization for some years. The type of soil will
determine the frequency. Porous soils lose their fertility faster than
others, as it is washed out by the rains. Keep all fertilizer away
from the crowns of the plants; there are no feeding roots there.
Spread it over the area where the roots grow, from six to eighteen inches
from the crown and thoroughly incorporate it with the soil. Use it
with discretion. Over-fertilized plants will not bloom well and soon
run their course. About a handful of commercial fertilizer or one or more of
bone-meal to a plant will be plenty.
peony plants immediately after planting so that the soil settles well around
the roots. During the spring months, there is usually enough moisture
in the ground for peony plants, but if several weeks pass without rain, give
them a good watering once every two weeks. This should also be done
during the dry summer months after the peonies have bloomed to ensure a good
crop of flowers the following year.
peonies should be given winter protection for the first winter after
planting. After the ground has frozen, in fall, give them a covering
of straw or marsh hay about three inches deep. This covering will
protect the plants against heaving due to alternate thawing and freezing.
Remove the covering very early in spring. Established plants need no
winter protection. When foliage has turned brown in fall, after the
first heavy frost, cut the plants down as near to the ground as possible.
Burn all the old stems and leaves as a protection against disease.
expect from your Peonies
spring after planting, a standard division will make one or more stems six
or more inches high. Do not be discouraged if growth is low and only
one stem appears. It may bloom and it may not. Do not worry if
it does not. Many growers do not allow a plant to bloom the first
year. If you allow the plant to bloom, cut the flower as soon as it
fades directly below the bloom. Do not allow seed to form. First
year peony blooms rarely give a true picture of the variety.
year, the number of stems is usually double the number that came the first
year. Growth is taller. If there are blooms, they are nearer
normal. Cut all blooms immediately after flowering, with short stems.
Some varieties take several years to produce normal flowers.
year growth generally doubles that of the second year. Blooms should
be normal in every way. Do not cut the stems too long. While the
finest flowers are produced from plants 4-10 years old, many varieties have
been known to give exhibition blooms for 20 or more years. Plants that
have been well cared for will even outlive the gardener. If they are
forced into abnormal growth by the use of stimulants, they will give out in
a few years.
Peonies Fail to Bloom?
many reasons, but here are the most common:
too young and immature. Let them develop.
planted too deep. If eyes are more than 3 inches under ground, raise
to proper height of 2 inches.
planted without proper division. Dig, divide into small or standard
divisions and plant.
too much competition from surrounding trees and shrubs.
too much shade which encourages tall leafy plants and no blooms. Move.
nitrogen was applied which encourages foliage not flowers. Phosphorous or
potassium will strengthen roots.
undernourished. Buds show, but do not develop. Fertilize to add
by late frost.
hot weather. Late, full double varieties often fail from this cause.
by thrips will turn brown and fall. Spray to prevent this.
become water logged will turn brown and refuse to open. Bagging would
Ground is too
dry. Water down to the bottom of roots.
infected with nematodes or root-knot. Destroy.