Planting and Caring for Peony

Peonies are perennials that come back every year to take your breath away. In fact, the plants may live longer than you do—some have been known to thrive for at least 100 years.


Peony plants require little maintenance as long as they are planted properly and establish themselves. Note, however, that they do not respond well to transplanting, so you should plan your planting site accordingly.


  • Peonies are usually sold as bare-root tubers with 3 to 5 eyes (buds), divisions of a 3- or 4-year-old plant.
  • Space peonies 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for good air circulation between the plants. Stagnant, humid air can be a recipe for disease to develop.
  • Dig a generous-sized hole, about 2 feet deep and 2 feet across in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. The soil will benefit from the addition of organic material in the planting hole. If the soil is heavy or very sandy, enrich it with extra compost. I
  • Set the root so the eyes face upward on top of a mound of soil in the hole, placing the roots just 2 inches below the soil surface. Don’t plant too deep! (In southern states, choose early-blooming varieties, plant them about 1 inch deep, and provide some shade.)
  • Then, backfill the hole, taking care that the soil doesn’t settle and bury the root deeper than 2 inches. Tamp the soil gently.
  • When planting a container-grown peony, cover it no deeper than it grew in the pot.
  • Water thoroughly at the time of planting.



Like children, young peonies take time to develop. They usually need a few years to establish themselves, bloom, and grow. And soon enough, they venture out on their own, mature and well-adjusted… Wait, no, that’s just children.

Peonies thrive on benign neglect. Unlike most perennials, they don’t need to be dug and divided every few years.

  • Spare the fertilizer. Work the soil well before you plant, mixing in compost and a little fertilizer, and that should be enough.
  • If your soil is poor, the time to apply fertilizer (bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure) is early summer, after the peonies have bloomed and you have deadheaded the flowers. Don’t fertilize more than every few years.

Happy Gardening!!!!