Growing Guides: How to Grow Peonies

Peony root


Peonies are one of the most popular flowers when it comes to summer blooms. They are reliable, need very little maintenance, and as hardy perennials they will be long-term tenants in your garden. These flamboyant flowers will fill your garden with gorgeous fragrances throughout the summer months making them irresistible to gardeners.

The Basics

Peonies are happiest when they receive a generous amount of sunlight a day. So, we suggest planting them in a location with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. The only exception to this is if you live in an area with particularly hot and harsh summer (zones 7-8). If this is you then your peonies will benefit from some afternoon shade. Furthermore, peonies need moist soil and well-draining soil to thrive. Sandy loam soil that is watered regularly is ideal with peonies, but imperfect soil is also great for these flowers.

When you receive your peonies, you will need to remove all the peat or sawdust that often covers these roots in their packaging. If this is your first time, then you might be confused by the way these roots look. The roots have 3 mains parts: the root, the crown, and the eyes. The crown is the lump at the top of the root and the eyes are the pink/white/green buds that are growing out of the crown.

Planting Peonies

Once you have unpacked your peonies then you can start the planting process.

  1. Begin by soaking the roots in lukewarm water (for up to 4 hours) as it will give them a hydrating boost which is essential in helping them establish in the soil.
  2. Dig wide but shallow holes for each peony root. The holes should be approximately double the width of the peony root length. If you are planting multiple roots, then we recommend spacing the holes 3 feet apart.
  3. Place the roots in the whole with the crown and eyes at the top. Although the shape of some roots might make this difficult, aim to align all the eyes on the same level at approximately 1 inch below the soil surface.
  4. Cover the roots and holes with soil. If you live in zones 2 to 3 you can plant the roots an inch or two deeper than other zones but 1 inch below soil surface is fine for most.
  5. Once you have finished planting you can water the entire area and then add a layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist.

Aftercare for Peonies

Although peonies are very low maintenance they do need to be watered once a week or twice a week if you live in a dry, harsh climate. This maintenance should continue for the first year or two until the plants have fully established and then after this, they will bloom each year of their own accord.

We ship large roots with 3 to 5 eyes that are fresh from the Dutch growing fields in spring. While a newly planted Peony rarely makes a first-class show in its first season, these vigorous plants will reach the top of their form in their second or third year.