Do you want to plant peonies in pots as you don’t have a garden of your own? You may also be confused about which pots are perfect for the job. In this article, we will discuss if peonies are suitable to grow in pots or not.
You can easily grow and bloom peony flowers in a pot in your house. Don’t worry, you don’t actually need to be a professional gardener to start growing peony flowers. Planting peonies in a pot is very easy and trust me, you will learn how to do it in no time.
At first, you need to choose the ideal container and variety of peony to initiate. Then, you have to prepare the soil and container. Furthermore, you have to apply fertilizers and provide a good environment inside the house if you want a large bloom of flowers every season. Finally, daily caring and timely pruning will keep your plants healthy and yield a higher outcome throughout autumn, winter, and spring.
5 Easy steps to planting peony in a pot
Planting peonies in a pot inside your house will increase the beauty of it. You will love the smell and color of the beautiful flowers once they start to bloom. Choose the ideal variety, prepare soil and pot, take proper care etc. to yield such a good outcome. You will start to feel the nature inside the house and may also earn extra money if you grow more than enough. So, follow along with us if you want to know more about planting and taking care of peonies in a pot.
1. Choose the Ideal Variety of Peony
Paeonia suffruticosa or “Zhao Fen” is an ideal one among peony plants that you can grow in a pot. They can grow up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet in width.
Paeonia tenuifolia or Fern Leaf Peony is another suitable option for you. They can grow up to 2 feet in height and 40 cm in width.
You can also choose Paeonia “Zhu Sha Pan”, which is called Cinnabar Red. They are perfect peonies to grow in pot and can become up to 2.5 feet in both height and width.
In general, you will find the Herbaceous variety more suitable to plant in the pot rather than the tree peonies or Itoh (Intersectional Peonies). The Herbaceous peonies are quite smaller compared to the tree peonies. They can grow easily up to 4 feet in height.
If you want to enjoy longer peony blooms, planting “Xuan Li Duo Cai”, “Rosedale”, “Charlie’s White”, and “Marietta Sisson” will be suitable for you if you live in a Mediterranean climate region.
2. Select the Best Pot to Plant Peony
Put the Peony in such a pot that has a minimum of 1 foot diameter and 2 feet depth so that the peony root has enough room to grow. The pot that meets such criteria will be suitable for your Peony plant.
Always select such a pot that has an adequate drainage system and enough space for the peony root to grow inside. Otherwise, the “eyes” or initial peony buds will remain undeveloped. Also, if the soil becomes soggy, it may start the root rot.
You should not transfer your plants frequently because peony likes to stay on the same soil surface after growth. In this case, try to use a permanent pot that lasts longer. A 5-10 Gallon sized container may be ideal for you.
You can buy “Whiskey Barrel Planter”. It is a unique option for the best size pot as it is already drilled with drainage holes. So, you don’t have to drill yourself. Also, they come in multiple sizes and colors. You can buy it on Amazon.
Also, you will find the “Self-Watering Pot” another good option. It is suitable for the dry region where the climate is hotter. It slowly plants the water for a longer period of time. However, if you select this pot, check frequently if water is clogging or not. Otherwise, the peony roots may start to rot.
3. Prepare the pot for Peony
If your container is not pre-drilled, drill a hole of half inch diameter under the container. This will convert any large gallons into a pot for plantation.
Then cover the drainage hole with a piece of thick cloth so that no soil or gravel can pass through the drainage hole.
You should set the planter inside the water catch basin in order to collect any excess water when it leaves the drainage hole. But make sure that the container is elevated up to a space of two feet so that it doesn’t stay in the soggy soil.
4. Where do I Place the Pot?
Always keep in mind that peonies require a sunlight of minimum 6 hours daily to grow and bloom up to the expectation. So, place the potted peonies in such a location that gets enough sunlight.
Try to avoid such locations that have excess rainfall. Because if the soil surface of the pot gets soggy, the root will start to rot and that will yield less flower.
Never place the potted peonies in a darker shade. Avoid any barrier that blocks adequate sunlight.
Keep a distance of minimum 1 or 2 feet between each pot. This will allow better air circulation between the plants.
Try to keep the pot away from herbivorous and pet animals. You may keep them on an elevated platform or can use a fence to protect them.
5. Add nutrients and fertilizers to the soil
Provide a composition of 65% topsoil and 35% perlite. This will ensure a better drainage for the root of the plants. In addition, a mixture of compost with peat moss will add more nutrients to the soil.
Spread two inches of gravel in the bottom of the planter. Then fill the planter with a potting mix that is rich in organic matter and is well drained. Leave a minimum of 2 inches of soil space above the edge of the planter.
Be sure to set the tuber on top of the potting mix. There should be a distance of maximum 2 inches of soil over the top of the tuber. Continue mixing water into the potting mix until it is properly moistened.
Before you plant the peony bulbs, sprinkle some compost into the soil to add additional nutrients. This will help the peony bulbs to grow better.
If you want to make your own soil less potting mix you can use sphagnum peat moss, compost and perlite or coarse sand. These types of drainage materials are very efficient to train any excess water away from the roots.
Spread organic mulch or shredded bark across the top about one or two inches of soil. This will help to retain its moisture. Try not to apply mulch directly to the stems.
You may apply a low nitrogen fertilizer like 5-10-10 monthly. Spread it after dissolving one tablespoon of water-soluble fertilizer per gallon of water. As a result, you will have better peony blooms during the season.
Take Care of the Peonies
1. Water Regularly
During spring, water the plants if there is no natural rainfall for one or two weeks. If they are not watered properly during the first year of growth the flowers will remain undeveloped.
Water the container if the upper portion of the soil mix becomes dry. Try to put the water evenly and also ensure that the excess water is drained freely through the hole at the bottom of the pot.
Water them once or twice a week so that there is enough moisture at least 5 inches of soil. However, take care that the steam doesn’t stand on excess water otherwise the root will start to rot.
Sometimes you can add a little mulch within the water. In this way, the soil will retain moisture slowly by the evaporation process.
2. Provide Regular Sunlight
If you keep the container inside the house, try to put it in front of the South or West facing window. As a result, they will get enough direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours. This will help the plant to grow enough flowers.
To provide a supplement to the natural light, you can use four fluorescent light bulbs with 2 or 3 full-spectrum 40-Watt fluorescent bulbs and some 40-Watt cool white bulbs. Make sure that the bulbs are at least 6 inches above the plants. They should stay on for 12 hours at least. Alongside sunlight, these supplementary lights further push the plant to bloom more flowers during the season.
You can use customized timer with the light that helps the bulb to turn on and off automatically. In this way, even if you forget to turn on the bulbs, the plants will not miss the artificial light.
3. Use Houseplant Fertilizers
Give houseplant fertilizers to the peonies. It is best to fertilize after a regular watering. Don’t fertilize around midsummer. Houseplant fertilizers that are water soluble are best for potted plants.
4. Avoid extreme cold weather
Try not to keep your container outside if it is freezing cold, you might want to move them inside. This will protect the tuberous roots from getting frozen and damaged.
Place the container in a basement or an unheated garage for the winter. Although they die in case of hard freezes, they also need a moderately cooler area to blossom better for the rest of the season.
5. Prepare for Resting Period
Don’t water the peonies too much during the late summer. In order to encourage going dormant for the winter, sometimes let the soil dry off completely before watering it again. The plants should have a minimum of two-to-three-month rest period.
If the container is located outdoor, you may leave it out for a few cold winters.
If the container is inside the house, try to slowly reduce the duration of supplementary lights in order to match with the shorter days of Autumn.
6. Prune Timely
Use hand pruners to snip off the stems all the way down to the soil when the leaves start to turn yellowish and die. Clip the stems just below the flower head before the petals start to fall. In this way, you will not have a mess of petals in the container.
Cut back the dead stems to the ground in fall. This helps to prevent insects and diseases. Also, the container looks clean.
The ideal place to cut the stem of a peony is above a healthy bud. If it is attacked by diseases make sure you cut back up to the healthy portion.
When you remove the stains try not to damage the crown which is an important part between the roots and the stems.
Remove the entire stem by cutting it close to the ground only in case of severe injury or overgrowth.
You can remove a certain number of peony buds to control the quantity and flower size.
If you leave the bud at the tip of a stem but remove the side flower buds, there is a chance that you will get a very large bloom.
On the other hand, if you remove the terminal flower buds and leave the side ones, it will result in an abundance of flowers, but their size will be small.
Peony plants are ideal to grow in a pot in general. They are very resilient and tolerant to cold winters. After a proper indoor bloom in the container, your house will start to look more beautiful. Also, if you manage to grow more flowers than your expectation, you can even sell them at your local garden centers or a gardener to gain cash. As a result, those peony flowers will not only be a symbol of beauty, but also an extra source of income for your family. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to start planting peony in a pot, and thus increase the beauty of your home.