- Potted peonies are available in the springtime. Plant immediately.
- Remove any stems showing symptoms of botrytis and throw away – do not compost! Botrytis can live in the soil and spread to other areas of the garden.
- Stake your peonies when they are between ½ and ¾ full height. Place ¾ inch thick bamboo stakes at 12-18 inch intervals around your plant about 1 inch away from the stems. Tie twine around a stake then loop it around each consecutive stake about 6-12 inches above the ground. Be sure it’s tight! Tie and loop a second layer of twine about 6 inches under the top of the stakes. Looping the twine around each stake allows it to be adjustable as your plant grows.
- Keep the weeds down. Peonies don’t like competition. If you plant anything with your peonies, keep them at least 12 inches away from the crown of the plant.
- Water new plants well. It’s important to provide enough water to peonies while they’re getting established. Water well a couple of times each week unless you’re having a particularly rainy year. Just remember that while peonies need water, they do not like to have wet feet. So, don’t let the soil stay soggy!
- If you have mulch around your peonies, be sure it’s not touching the stems. Mulch can harbor fungal pathogens that can damage your plant.
- Deadhead. Once your peonies have finished blooming, cut off the spent bloom so the plant puts energy back into the root for next year’s bloom instead of into the seed (unless, of course, you would like to try your hand at growing peonies from seed). Cut the stem back into the plant to keep the peony bush looking neat.
- Water new plants as needed. If established plants need watering (they would start to wilt), water deeply and infrequently. Let them dry out between infrequent waterings. Peony are very deep rooted and will rot if too wet.
- Fall is ideal for planting bare-root peonies and dividing and/or transplanting peonies.
- Remove the foliage any time between September and November. Cut stems down to the ground and discard foliage.
(If you have any foliar fungal infections such as botrytis, burn or throw away the foliage instead of composting it. Botrytis can persist in your soil or compost and be spread to other areas of the garden.)
- If you plan to mulch your peonies, this is a great time to do it since there is no above ground growth to damage. Just remember to keep the mulch away from the crown of the plant where it can harbor fungus like botrytis that may damage your peony.