GCT is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Planting Peonies In Spring – Step By Step Guide

Publish Data: March 2, 2021

by Abid Hasan Khan

Do you love to see peony flowers blooming in spring but don’t know how to plant them in your garden? Don’t worry, even if you aren’t a professional gardener, you can start planting peonies in your garden. In this article, we will let you know everything about planting peonies in spring; starting from selecting peonies and soil up to final pruning and care. We all know that among many varieties of flowers, peony is a very popular one known for its fragrance, color, and beauty. It will not only make your garden attractive and your effort worthwhile, but also you can earn money by selling flowers every season. With a proper selection of peony, plantation, and regular care; you can turn your garden into beauty as well as an extra source of income during spring. So, follow the steps below if you plan to start planting peonies in spring. Planting Peonies in Spring

Some Quick Infos about Peonies:

There are 3 types of peonies, Herbaceous, Itoh, and tree. You may prefer herbaceous as your first variety to start growing. The mature trees grow 5 to 7 feet tall and up to 5 feet wide. While Herbaceous and Itoh may grow 1 to 3 feet in both height and width. Peonies usually bloom in April, May, or June. You may expect the tree peonies first, followed by the Herbaceous and Itoh. You will find peonies that are white, yellow, red, maroon, and pink in color. Most peony flowers smell sweet while some have a citrus smell. Nevertheless, you can’t but appreciate them!

Choose your Peony Variety for Planting:

During spring, Herbaceous peonies are your best bet to plant for the best outcome. They are sold in 2 forms:
  • Potted peonies (Larger and more expensive)
  • Bare root peonies (Cheap and medium-sized)
You may find bare root plants comparatively cheaper and easier to plant than the potted ones. In some cases, the potted plants are known to have higher blooming. You can mix peonies with roses and irises. They can bloom with baptists, veronicas, and columbines too. You can also plant pink peonies with blue Nepetas and white peonies with yellow irises. These are friendly and do not compete much for nutrition.

Select a Good Planting Site:

  1. Ensure a place with enough sunlight. You will find this very crucial for maximum outcome. Except for trees, the Herbaceous and Itoh varieties require a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight daily. In case of bright sunlight, they need shade to enhance blossom for up to 12 or 14 days.
  2. Ensure enough space around the peony plants. As the tree peonies can grow up to 5 feet in both height and width, inadequate space may block sunlight and airflow between them.
  3. Try to grow peonies on high grounds or slopes so that they don’t stand on excess water. Keep your soil deep enough, and fertile. Also, make sure that the pH is neutral.
  4. Do not plant peonies near a bigger tree. As peonies are smaller than the bigger trees, they may get less nutrition from the soil if planted near a large one. So, to avoid competition for food, moisture, and light; grow peonies with their friendly plants.
  5. Provide the plants with good shelter from strong winds. Otherwise, it can break due to the strong pressure of wind as the upper part gets heavier after blooming.
soil preparation for gardening

Prepare the Soil for Planting Peonies:

Try to utilize your native soil as is naturally an ideal one for planting peonies. The gardening experts say that a proper addition of organic matter gives a boost in blooming. Just make sure that the soil you choose isn’t too soggy, or the roots may get damaged gradually. You may provide fertilizers if your soil is not fertile enough. Well-drained soil preparation can reduce the usage of fertilizers in the early stages. You can use some extra fertilizers and minerals as follows:
  • Potassium fertilizer is a very good choice for the Herbaceous species. You may release it 5-10-10 slowly.
  • You should add wood ash or garden lime to the Herbaceous plant as they grow better in alkaline soil.
  • In case of heavy or sandy soil, you can mix some compost along with a bone meal to enhance its fertility.
  • Additionally, you can also add different trace minerals for increased flower size and enhanced color.

Plant Peonies in the Prepared Soil:

  • At first, select spots on the ground maintaining a space of 3 to 4 feet between each peony plant for enough air circulation between them. Otherwise, damp, and claustrophobic areas might develop diseases in them.
  • Place the eyes ½ inch to 2 inches below the soil surface, for herbaceous variety. In the case of trees, a variety digs the hole 2 feet by 1 foot. Place the graph about 5 inches below the ground level. For the Itoh variety, plant just below the soil surface, 1.5 inches for cooler zones and ½ inch for warmer zones.
  • Set the roots of the plant 2 inches below the soil surface. Also, take care that the eyes are facing top upward on top of a lump of soil inside the hole. Try not to plant too deep inside the soil. Otherwise, the flowers may not bloom as expected.
  • Then fill the hole with soil again and tamp it gently. Also, take care that the root is in the expected position.
  • Water the plant at the time of planting and in case of bare roots you can immerse them before planting for a couple of hours.
Beautiful Peony Flower

Nurture and Prune the Peony Plants:

  • The first step for spring care is to clear away any debris or mulch around the peony shoots. They need to overcome the shortage of sunlight that happened during winter.
  • Hand weed the root area first. If you want to use herbicide, use a pre-emergent one. But only do this after hand weeding when the shoots are a minimum of 15 cm in height.
  • You may need to use fertilizers to maximize productivity. Sometimes, heavy rainfall or snowfall can take away valuable nutrients from the soil. In these cases, you can slow release 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 of low nitrogen fertilizer. Release the fertilizer 6 to 18 inches inside the soil for best results. Try not to spray fertilizer too close to the crown of the plants, otherwise, it can cause a burn.
  • Maintain proper water drainage and air circulation to lessen any fungal infections. Peonies are most vulnerable to Botrytis blight which may lead to the rotting of young plants. It can even result in undeveloped buds and leaf spots.
  • For herbaceous peonies, cut them all the way to the ground at the end of the growing season and leave 4 to 6 inches of stem in the case of Itoh plants. In the case of tree peonies, remove the suckers from the center of the shrub to enhance better air circulation. try not to cut back unless they grow out again.
  • It is best to keep away your pet animals from the young plants. They are generally very delicate and easy to break.

Benefits of Planting Peonies in Spring:

You will find your garden attractive and cheerful after a dull winter. If you check your nearby local nurseries and garden centers, you will find that most varieties of peonies have become available for instant purchase just after winter. Also, they can be found in stock for a longer period. You can also browse the online websites for a wide variety of peonies. They will provide you with various options regarding the selection and home delivery of peony plants. If you plan to produce and sell peony flowers on a larger scale rather than just small gardening, you can definitely add quite a lot of cash to your pocket. So, apart from being a beauty in your garden, utilize the flowers to earn money.

Final Word

While some people don’t want to plant peonies in spring, others take advantage of it as spring is the best shopping season for peony plants. Be sure to check your garden club sales and local garden centers for better variety and quality of peony plants. Proper selecting, planting, watering, and pruning on a daily basis will keep your plants healthy for the best outcome in the future. So, if you are planning for gardening with peony plants, don’t wait around. Start planting peonies in spring and turn your garden into a little piece of heaven!