When and How to Use Fertilizer for Peonies

You are probably here wondering what fertilizer if any, you should use to grow your garden’s peonies. The use of fertilizer is recommended when it comes to growing these beautiful flowers. When growing peonies, it is essential to select the fertilizer with the correct type of nutrients, as well as the correct amount. This article is full of the information you need to have beautiful peonies growing in your backyard this season!

When to Fertilize Your Peonies: 

It is best to fertilize, or feed, your peonies only two times each growing season. The first time to use the fertilizer of your choice is when the plant starts growing out of the ground, and its blooms are about the size of a bean. The second time to feed your peonies is about three months after the first fertilization period.

How To Fertilize Your Peonies:

It is suggested to use a ¼ cup to ½ of fertilizer for each peony plant. It is also essential to spread the plant food around the plant in a circle, about six inches away from the crown of the plant.

Fertilizing your peonies correctly can make the difference between a ho-hum display of blooms and a stunningly gorgeous one. Keep reading as we give you all the details on how to provide all the right nutrition to your peonies.

plant fertilizer with agriculture tools for gardening on green grass background. - When and How to Use Fertilizer for Peonies


What Kind of Fertilizer is Best for Peonies?

Peonies thrive on a 5-10-10 fertilizer, which means 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium. These are the key ingredients for any type of plant, but peonies need that specific amount of each ingredient. The best type of fertilizer to use on your peonies is a perennial fertilizer or an organic fertilizer that meets the requirements of the 5-10-10 standard. Two examples of fertilizer you could use are:

Gardener fertilizing soil under flower bushes with granulated nitrate for better growing and blooming. Fertilizer concept

  • Earth 707P Organic 8 Bud & Bloom Fertilizer: this organic fertilizer is high in naturally available phosphorus, which is essential for stable peony growth. It also contains soft rock phosphate and mined potassium sulfate.


  • Osmocote Outdoor Smart Release 8 Pound Fertilizer: Osmocote’s fertilizer contains 11 essential nutrients for plant growth, including ammonium phosphate and potassium sulfate. This fertilizer contains mostly nitrogen, which is an elemental gas peonies need to thrive. Also, this fertilizer can be used for indoor and outdoor plants and can wait to be reapplied every six months.

Is Miracle-Gro Good for Peonies?

Miracle gro plant food is on display in the garden section of a retail store

Miracle-Gro is a popular fertilizer among gardeners because of its fast-acting ingredients, as well as its ability to help plants bloom bigger and brighter flowers. It provides those much-needed ingredients a plant needs that deplete in the soil over the course of a plant’s lifetime.

In the case of peonies, Miracle-Gro can also be used as a good source of fertilizing nutrients. Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food is an excellent choice out of all the Miracle-Gro products because it continuously releases nitrogen during the three month period between feedings.

Bone Meal

Fish Blood and Bone Meal fertilizer seen in a hand, covered in a plastic glove.

If you are not familiar with what bone meal it is, it is a concoction of finely grounded animal bones and other animal waste. This product usually comes from butcher shops.

Bone meal is used as a fertilizer for most plants because it slowly releases the required ingredient phosphorus. It also gives the plants their protein, which is required for their growth.

For peonies, bone meal can be used as fertilizer since it contains a balanced amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium they need.

Coffee Grounds and Peonies

There is a lot of discussion around whether coffee grounds are a reliable natural type of fertilizer for plants. In regards to peonies, it is best to stay away from pouring your used coffee grounds on the soil around peonies and other perennial flowers. The reason why is because the coffee grounds are highly acidic and should only be used on plants that thrive on acidic fertilizers like azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, as well as many others.

Overfeeding Peonies

A beautiful blooming peony bush with pink flowers in the garden.

It is possible to use too much fertilizer on your peony plants, as previously stated above. When this happens, peonies usually do not produce as many blooms. Also, if a very high nitrogen-based fertilizer is used, a peony plant’s leaves might start to yellow and wither away.

Make sure you are using a fertilizer with a low nitrogen base, as well as only fertilizing your peonies when planting and midway through its growth.

Feed Your Peonies and Watch Them Bloom!

There are many different types of fertilizers out there, as well as plants who need specific fertilizing requirements. Peonies thrive on a plant food that is low in nitrogen, and higher in phosphorus and potassium. Perennial-based fertilizers are generally a good option, but always make sure you read the back of the bag to know if your peonies are getting the nutrition they need to thrive in your garden.

Now that you have the fertilizer knowledge you need, you are ready to get outside and grow a beautiful bounty of peony blossoms!




One comment

  1. I must disagree with the advice not to use coffee grounds on peonies. I have used coffee grounds on herbaceous peonies very successfully. I planted a peony in a large pot but it didn’t flower in its first three years. I started using coffee grounds on kniphofias (red hot poker) to keep slugs off the flower stems – I had no flowers on that plant because slugs ate the buds or nibbled through the flower stalk. A wide circle around the plant kept the slugs away and my red hot pokers bloomed well. The plants were bigger and produced more flowers. After that success and with still no flowers on the peony I thought see how the peony goes with coffee. The peony grew bigger and produced more stems and produced several flowers. I have continued to give the peony coffee grounds every year even now it is planted in a border and the peony grows taller and produces more flowers each year.

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