It's hard to believe that a plant as lovely as a peony requires so little maintenance.
If planted properly, provided a minimal amount of annual maintenance and given the right conditions your peony plant will provide you unparalleled beauty for 50 years or even more.
To ensure your peony plantings are successful, we've summarized the key aspects of peony care below.
Monitor for plant disease and remove any affected part of the plant.
In particularly wet years, it's common to have fungus like botrytis affect your peony plants. When you see this happening considering removing areas of the plant that are most impacted.
We do not have systemic fungus issues on our farm but, if we see that one plant is particularly affected, we do treat that plant with a fermented comfrey tea.
Remove all plant foliage in the fall when the plant goes dormant.
Discard or burn the foliage. Do not add it to your compost pile.
Peony foliage that is not removed can harbor fungus. This removal step is critical if you want to prevent disease in your garden the following year.
For herbaceous and itohs, you can remove the foliage by simply cutting the whole plant back, leaving 2-4 inches of stem to help you remember the exact plant location
For tree peonies, do not cut back. Simply remove the leaves and discard or burn.
Consider applying compost annually
Peonies are not a hungry plant and can do well in soil that isn’t very rich.
However, we’ve had good success with applying a thin layer (1-2”) of composted material every year.
When applying compost, please be aware to not apply compost over the peony’s “crown” (the area from which the peony stems grow). Applying compost to the crown could eventually cause the planting depth to be too deep. This can affect flowering.
Simply apply the compost up to the drip line of the plant and no further.