- Peony Planting Notes

 

  • Find a location with full sun, good drainage, and rich soil. Peony will not tolerate wet soils, low spots, or places with poor drainage. 
  • Loosen the soil well in an area 24” around and equally deep.
  • Add 5 shovelfuls of compost, two big handfuls of slow release organic fertilizer (North Country Organics Pro-Start 2-3-3 is our favorite), and a handful of lime to the planting hole and mix in thoroughly. For acidic soils add more lime, aiming for a near neutral (6.5 - 7) PH.  Avoid chemical fertilizers with artificially elevated N-P-K numbers. These fertilizers are very water soluble and will wash away quickly, leaving the peony root without nutrients and with residual salts. 
  • Place the root so the eyes are 1” – 2” below the soil surface, with the root sitting at a 45 degree angle, the far end of the root from the eyes being deepest. It is not necessary for the new eyes to point vertical. More important is the far end of the root (from the eyes) be situated as deep as possible to allow access to moisture in potential hot and dry spells.
  • Water in thoroughly once at planting time. After initial planting avoid excess moisture and only water during very dry weather. 
  • It is best to add mulch for the winter with wood chips, bark mulch, or straw at a depth of 3- 6. Prior to mulching, top dress roots with a light sprinkle of lime.   
  • Maintain peony plants free of weeds and grass for at least 12” around the base of the plant in all directions.
  • When growth starts in spring, be sure to maintain plants free of harmful fungus and rot, like Botrytis. We recommend regularly using an organic fungicide spray from for the best results, especially in wet growing seasons.
  • For the maximum number of blooms as fast a  possible, professional growers pinch the flower buds off of 1st year plants when they are about the size of a pea. This means no blooms that year, but all of the plants energy goes into root growth. The technique ensures the roots put as much energy as possible into getting established at their new location.