The Secrets To Making Your Peonies Last

June 13, 2023
Photo by Bill Nino on Unsplash

Secrets To Making Your Peonies Last. It is peony season, and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love these big, beautiful, softly-scented blooms. Peonies make a most lovely bush in your landscape and are a wonderful cut flower, as well. If you try to buy the cut version, they can be quite pricey, but they are so easy to grow and care for that there’s no need if you have a sunny spot for them in your yard. If you know a few “peony secrets” you can make these bushes last for years (some varieties have been known to live 100 years or more). And with a simple trick, you can keep the cut flowers blooming in your home most of the summer. So here’s the inside scoop on peonies:

“I equate peonies with love because they’re the first blooms of summer.”

–Isaac Mizrahi

To Keep Them Growing For Years:

Plant Peonies in Full Sun – One of The Secrets To Making Your Peonies Last

Plant peonies in a sunny, well-drained location. Peonies love full sun; at least a half day of sun will provide abundant blooms. We have one in the garden beside the patio and it gives about half the blooms the others do, because it’s just not getting enough sun. Plant your peonies on little mounds to provide better drainage. They do not need to be planted too deeply Cover the peony root until only 1 to 2 inches of soil covers the eyes. I do not find that you need to amend the soil; peonies grow in all types of soil.

Water The Roots, Not The Leaves – Another Secret To Making Your Peonies Last

Peony leaves can get moldy and hurt the plant. When you are watering, focus the water on the roots, rather than the leaves. The leaves will stay better protected that way. Obviously, you can’t prevent them from getting wet from natural rain (unless you’ve invented some sort of peony umbrella?) but this will help minimize disease on the leaves, and thereby the plant itself.

Cut Peonies After Frost To Get More Blooms

After the first frost in the fall, cut peonies down to 3-4 inches above the ground and throw away the dead plants. This will limit mold and fungus setting in and give you lovely, healthy plants come spring.

If You’re Interested in Dividing Peonies Check This Out

GardeningKnowHow.com has a great article on Dividing and Propagating Peonies by Kathee Mierzejewski that you might find quite helpful.

To Make Your Cut Blooms Last Longer – Here’s The Best Secret To Making Your Peonies Last

Peonies are stunning in large bouquets or as individual cut blooms in a dramatic vase. As soon as mine start to form buds, I am anxiously waiting to cut them and bring them inside to enjoy. I’ve learned, however, that if I pay attention to the blooming cycle, I can harvest a lot of the blooms early, and get them to bloom throughout the summer months, as I would like. The trick to this is all about marshmallows. Yes, you read that right, marshmallows. When the blooms are ever-so-slightly open, press your thumb on them. If the center feels soft, like a marshmallow, that bud is ready. Cut it just above a group of leaves and pop it (without any water or anything) into a plastic bag. I date mine, because I want to use first in first. Place the bag in your fridge and they will keep up to three months. When ready to use, take them out, cut a fresh end on the stem and place in your vase of choice. It really is that simple. Amazing, huh?

And don’t forget to check your local consignment or thrift shop for a great and inexpensive way to purchase containers for these beautiful blooms!

And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…

“Earth laughs in flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


  • Reply
    Denise Hempe
    June 14, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. They remind me of my mom who grew the biggest and best peonies. The smell is intoxicating. I will definitely try the marshmallow trick. What a great way to extend the season of these beautiful, fragrant blooms!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2022 at 5:17 pm

      They remind me of my English Gram ❤️

  • Reply
    June 25, 2022 at 1:51 am

    You never cease to amaze! Bill and I planted a border row of Peonies in our front yard, first house in CT, 1970. In 1987 we built a house in Narragansett and brought one of them to this new location, divided it and replanted. In 1993 we relocated to The Pier area and took along one of the prized peonies and again, replanted. Happy to say we watched it bloom, once more last week, 52 years later.
    I could share many peony bouquet stories, thank you for reminding me how much I love this flower. Claire M.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2022 at 5:08 pm

      What a great story! I’d love to see pictures? I once, early on, killed an “Everlasting Peony!” LOL. Now I finally have the hang of it. Thanks for sharing.

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