There are 3 simple rules to planting herbaceous peonies:
- Plant in full sun or part shade in a sheltered position
- Any fertile soil will do, as long as it is free draining
- Plant herbaceous peonies with the crown (top of the root) no more than 5cm below the ground. With container grown plants, simply plant them at the same level they are in the pot they arrive in.
It is important to remember not to plant your herbaceous peony too deep and not to bury it with mulch. Peonies like organic matter but don’t mulch over the crown and bury your peony! Very often a peony may be flowering beautifully the previous season and if the border has been mulched since and the peony covered too much, it might not flower the next Spring. Peonies are not super fussy about their soil, they will thrive in any soil type, including clay: the most important thing to remember is that the soil must be free-draining, if the ground gets waterlogged the roots may rot.
Once you are ready to plant your peony in the garden. start by digging a hole twice as big as the root ball of the plant you are planting and put some organic matter or compost at the bottom of the hole. It is often a good idea to mix some fertiliser (such as our Professional Peony Feed) with the compost. Place your peony in the centre of the hole, ensuring that the crown is level with or just below the surface level, backfill with compost and soil and firm into place. Water well but don’t over-water; remember that the root will rot if it gets too wet and this is more of a risk in the Autumn and Winter when the plant is not actively growing (or if you are planting a bare root).
The process is exactly the same when planting tree peonies, but with grafted peonies it is best to plant with the graft union about 10-15cm below the surface.
Peonies will also be happily planted in a container so you can follow the same process, just make sure you feed your container grown peonies once a year to make sure they have enough nutrients. Also bear in mind how big your peony will get, so have a look at the height and spread of your chosen variety and plan for your peony to be able to spread out in its new pot and have enough room to grow on your balcony or patio.