Plant Care

TLC Basics

  • Remove diseased foliage and stems as seen throughout the growing season
  • Remove herbaceous peony stems and leaves from the garden in the fall. Plants can be cut even with the ground or a few inches of stem may be left behind.
  • If water is needed, water soil around the drip line of the plant, never water the foliage.
  • Bulb fertilizers are good for peonies. Avoid using fertilizers high in nitrogen, like those used for the lawn, as they cause soft-disease susceptible growth.  Light fertilizer application may be done after flowering and again in late August.   Apply fertilizer around the drip line of the plant.  Do not fertilize, unless there is a reason to do so.
  • Use of manure should be avoided, especially in close proximity to the crown and stems of the plant. Manure has been linked to the peony disease botrytis.
  • Removal of spent peony blooms does not harm the plant and may produce a tidier looking planting. Simply cut them off, leaving behind the leaves, which are needed through the growing season for photosynthesis.
  • Ants do not help open peony buds and are not required for their growth. They are attracted to the sugary secretions found on peony blooms.   Growing peonies near the house will not cause ants to come into the home.  The ant species that frequent peony blooms are dwellers of outdoor habitats and have no interest in living indoors.