Light: Herbaceous perennial peonies should be located where they will receive at least 6 hours of sun a day. Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) and Itoh hybrid peonies will do best in full sun, but they can also take partial shade.
Soil: Choose a location where the soil will be consistently moist throughout the season, but which does not get waterlogged. Peonies are long-living, however, once planted, they prefer not being moved. So, before you plant, take time to prepare the soil. Dig out any existing weeds and their roots, and turn in aged compost or leaf mold throughout the top six inches of the planting area.
Spacing: Space your new peony roots a minimum of 3 feet apart. Peonies will grow into strong, full plants. Eventually most peonies will grow to three to four feet in diameter, so be sure to choose a spot where each plant will have plent of room to mature and grow to full size.
Fall Planting: Be sure to plant your peonies at least one month before the ground in your area will freeze solid. This will give the roots enough time to get established in their new location prior to the onset of winter. Fall planting will allow for strong growth the following summer.
Spring Planting: You can also plant peonies in early spring; just remember to water your new plants weekly throughout the first summer, unless you experience adequate rainfall. Spring planting typically results in a slower growth in the first summer season.
Planting Tips: Look for the pinkish buds or ‘eyes’ on the brown fleshy roots. Since these will eventually give rise to the flower stalks, be sure to plant the ‘eyes’ facing upwards.
- If you live in a cold climate, position the ‘eyes’ between one and two inches below the surface of the soil and the rest of the root angled slightly downwards into the amended soil.
- If you live in a warmer climate the ‘eyes’ should be an inch or even less below the surface of the soil, allowing them to maximize their exposure to cold winter temps.