Preparing Peonies for Spring

Even though it’s still chilly we’re excitedly waiting for spring to begin!

If you’re also getting into spring mode, now can be a good time to start thinking about the ways you can care for your post-winter peonies.

We are already seeing some peony shoots with the official first day of Spring on 20 March. But some peonies will only start springing up a bit later when the weather really starts warming up.

It can be quite a thrill to move the mulch and remains of winter aside and spot those first few bright pink peony shoots!

Spring Planting

If you didn’t manage to get your peonies in the ground in early autumn, that’s ok. Early spring, when the ground starts getting cosier again, is a good time to plant them too.

Remember to:

  • Plant in full sun or part shade in a sheltered position
  • Make sure the soil is free draining (no matter what type of soil you have)
  • Plant herbaceous peonies with the crown (top of the root) no more than 5cm below the ground
  • Plant grafted peonies with the graft union about 10-15cm below the ground
  • Steer clear of burying the crown when mulching
  • Mix some fertiliser such as our Spring Fertiliser with the compost when planting
  • Keep pets or young children away from your peonies at this time. The young shoots are delicate and easily broken which can lead to unwanted pests and disease


Spring Care and Cleaning 

  • Clear the mulch away – it’s done its job protecting your peonies from the worst of the winter so it can be cleared away as the weather gets warmer
  • They need as much sun as they can get, so don’t worry that it might be a shock after a long hibernation. Peonies love basking in the sunlight
  • Weeding around your peonies when spring comes is also important as peonies don’t compete well with weeds. Hand weeding is best and avoid using any herbicides near peony crowns or roots
  • Support your peony - If you have a peony that needs support now is the time to put your plant supports up before your peonies grow any further and you could damage any buds while putting them around you plant.


Spring Moving and Dividing

You can move or divide your peonies whenever they are dormant. The absolute best time is autumn while the soil is still warm but this can also be done in early spring.

However, working the soil can be difficult in early spring because of residual winter cold hanging about. So although you can divide them in spring, we recommend rather waiting until October.

But if you are going to divide in early spring, just be sure to do it before any leaves are starting to develop.

Here’s some tips:

  • Being careful not to damage any ‘eyes’ or buds that are developing at or just below surface level, dig up as big a clump as possible
  • You can divide your peony with either a sharp spade or using a pruning knife (depending on the size of the plant)
  • Ensure that each piece of root that you divide has at least 3-5 ‘eyes’ or buds
  • Whether you are moving or dividing your peony, plant it as soon as possible after lifting it to minimise disruption to the root system; ideally plant it the same day


And that is that!

We are sure these things will increase your enjoyment of your garden.