Peony plants FAQs
Peonies are the crowning glory of the cottage garden. These gigantic perennial blooms return year after year with even bigger and better rose-like flowers. Available with blooms in a range of colours from white and pink to deep purple and with that trademark heady scent added to the mix, they’re a stylish, stunning no brainer that’s well worth the investment.
Choose a tree peony like 'Yin Hong Qiao Dui' for its large, pink double blooms and semi-permanent, woody structure in beds and borders throughout the year. Herbaceous peonies are deciduous, producing new growth each spring and gigantic blooms in early summer before dying back. Remember to cut your herbaceous peonies right back to ground level at the end of the summer.
When to plant peonies
Plant your bare root herbaceous peonies either in autumn or in spring. Avoid planting into frozen ground. If you’re too late to plant into the ground in autumn, cover your peony roots with a sandy soil mixture and keep them under cover in a dark place until spring comes and they can be planted into the ground. Plant container grown peonies at any time during the spring and summer. Try and get tree peonies into the ground at the end of summer so their roots have the whole winter to establish and support new spring growth.
How to plant peonies
When you come to plant your peonies, dig through plenty of organic matter to enrich the soil. Make a planting hole that’s not too deep, but just deep enough to accommodate the bare roots of your herbaceous peony so the ‘eyes’ or buds are facing upwards and resting around two centimetres below the surface. Firm the soil over the roots.
For tree peonies, it’s important to make sure the graft union between stem and root is deep below the soil surface, at least 15cm deep. Find the graft union by feeling along the base of the stem for a slight bump. Water the ground around your freshly planted peony to settle the soil and mulch the soil surface with well-rotted manure. Make sure you label your new peonies with the variety to keep track.
What to plant next to peony
Pair your herbaceous peonies with astrantia, nepeta or salvias to provide airy colour to highlight the huge, glorious peony blooms. For a scent match, why not plant lavender next to your herbaceous peonies. Every time you pass you’ll be able to enjoy a waft of sweet fragrance. Tree peonies are best toward the back of a border where they can provide a framework year round and where the summer blooms can draw the eye in.