Planting and Care
Peonies are extremely hardy, adaptable and easy to grow.
As our peonies are supplied potted, they are planted at the right height, so all you need to do is plant them level with the top of your soil. You will need to dig a hole around 30cm deep and wide. Dig in a little bone meal or general fertiliser such as Grow More and also some good garden compost such as rose, tree and shrub compost. DO NOT mix manure with the soil as this may rot the eyes. Do not worry if some compost falls away when planting. Planting peonies in a sunny position will give you more flowers but they can also thrive in a semi-shaded site giving you less flowers that last longer. Planting too deeply will cause your peony not to flower.
Do not over water your peony as this is one of the most common causes of failure. The general rule is to water sparingly and, if you are unsure, it's best not to water at all.
Provide staking for taller varieties in more open sites to keep your peony looking at its best.
Peonies can be grown successfully in pots using a John Innes No 3 compost. Peonies do not thrive in peat based composts. Be mindful not to over water and try to keep on the dryer side. After a few years plant them in the garden where they can reach their full potential.
Peonies are very pest and disease tolerant plants. Mature plants especially rarely have problems. Peony Wilt can cause stems to rot and collapse - usually just before or after flowering. Cut affected stem out if this is noticed. Cladosporium can cause dark blotching on leaves from July onwards. Generally, neither disease is fatal to the plants. Maintaining good air flow around the plants, particularly around ground level, can prevent these diseases from occurring. Cut all foliage off in the autumn and dispose of to prevent this from reoccurring. Rabbit and deer do not touch them.
You may notice ants on your peony. Don't Worry! Peony buds exude a sweet sugary substance which is a magnet to the ants. The ants do not damage your peony in any way.
Caring for your established peony
Peonies are long lived, living for 50 years or more and can survive on benign neglect. With a bit of care and attention they will reward your efforts endlessly. In the autumn cut down all old foliage to ground level and feed with a handful of bone meal or general garden fertiliser such as Growmore. If top dressing with compost, don't apply this too deeply as the crown will eventually be buried which in turn can stop them flowering. On slightly acidic soils an application of lime would prove beneficial.