HostasDirect has put together a season-by-season Peony Care Calendar to help gardeners plan their annual Peony maintenance schedule!
Early Spring Peony Care
Water plantings well if spring rains are insufficient. Side dress plants with compost or aged manure. Every few years, fertilize with bonemeal OR organic, all-purpose fertilizer.
If botrytis blight was present the previous season, cover ground around plant with a thin (one-quarter inch) layer of sand and spray new shoots with Bordeaux mix or lime sulphur.
Set stakes, rings, or grid supports in place now. Especially important for the double or “bomb”-style blossoms, which can become waterlogged and very heavy. Once the plant has filled out, and especially when it’s in bloom, it is nearly impossible to set up an effective support system.
Watch for signs of botrytis blight and treat as needed. (Pesticides registered for use include copper, captan, chlorothalonil (Daconil), mancozeb, maneb, sulfur, and thiophanate methyl (Cleary 3336). Remove any diseased tissue immediately and burn or discard-do NOT put on a compost pile.
Train through plant supports as plants grow. Remove side buds if exhibition-size cut-flower blooms are desired.
Deadhead peony blossoms as soon as they begin to fade, cutting to a strong leaf so that the stem doesn’t stick out of the foliage.
Remove all fallen petals or blooms from the garden.
Summer Peony Care
Herbaceous Peonies do best with an inch of water a week.
Fall Peony Care
Cut stems of Herbaceous Peonies back to soil level and remove from the area. Burn or discard-do NOT put into a compost pile to prevent spread/overwinter inoculation with fungal spores.
Dig and divide plants now if necessary.
Mulch new plantings ONLY the FIRST YEAR’s winter with evergreen boughs or salt marsh hay after the ground freezes.
Do NOT mulch after the first year; peonies require chilling for bud set, and will NOT flower if planted too deep (and will react to mulch as being planted too deep).
To purchase varieties of Peony, please visit our Buy Peonies Page.