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Peonies are a gardener’s delight! They are beloved for their bountiful blooms, bold foliage, inviting fragrance and exquisite beauty. Though they rarely bloom the first year of planting, when they do, they sustain a lifetime of beautiful flowers. Perhaps you are wondering to yourself, ‘where should I plant peonies to ensure abundant blossoms?’
Peonies like full sun and will bloom best in warm, bright spots. Be sure to plant the flowers away from tall trees or thick shrubs as peonies do not like to compete with other plants for sunlight, food or moisture. They must be grown in deep, fertile soil that is moisture-rich and drains well.
This article will focus entirely on peony growing conditions with emphasis on where to plant them, how much sun (or shade) they require, what type of soil is best, what plants or flowers make good companions and whether or not they are easy to grow. So, if you’re ready to learn more about where to plant peonies, let’s get started!
Where do Peonies Grow Best?
Peonies are generally not fussy on location, however, it is important to choose their planting spot wisely and carefully as they do not transplant well. They like plenty of sun and do well in areas that receive direct light. They are best planted in sheltered areas to prevent wind and hail damage. Soil should be deep and wet with a neutral pH level.
Do Peonies Need Full Sun or Shade?
Peonies like a lot of sun! They need 6 or more hours per day of sunlight for optimal growing conditions. They can manage with some shade but if they are planted in an area with more shade than sunlight, they will not flower well, if at all!
Do Peonies Grow in Shade?
Certain types of peonies actually prefer partially shaded areas as opposed to full sun. Unlike herbaceous peonies that require plenty of light and warmth, tree peonies thrive in spots with more shade and only 3 to 4 hours of sunlight per day. These varietals will grow faster with more sunlight (6 hours or greater) but the blossoms will ultimately burn and then vanish completely if this is the case.
What Type of Soil Is Good for Peonies?
Deep, well-fertilized soil that is moist and humus-rich is best for growing peonies. They are an adaptable flower but prefer slightly acidic soil with a 6.5 to 7.0 pH level. If you choose to plant them in heavy, clay-like soil, you must add compost and work it in well.
What are Good Companion Plants for Peonies?
Peonies really like companion plants! The best ‘friends’ for these flowers include alliums, bearded irises, columbines, roses, Siberian irises and spring bulbs. They also like small shrubs and trees as long as they are planted in such a way that they are not shaded and still receive plenty of sunlight.
Can You Plant Peonies in a Container?
Peonies can be planted in containers as well as gardens. Choose a fairly large, light-colored pot that has drainage holes at the bottom. These flowers have very large roots and need much deeper pots than most other types of herbaceous varieties. Soil should be at least 2 feet deep for young nursery peonies and even deeper for larger flowers.
Tree peonies, as mentioned above, will grow quite well for several years in containers that are at least 12 inches in diameter. They make great potted plants and will add gorgeous color to your deck or patio. Just be sure to use a soil-based compost and grow them outdoors in the spring or fall.
Can You Plant Peonies Indoors?
You can plant and grow peonies indoors in pots or containers during the winter months using the following steps:
- Place the seeds in a cup of water in autumn (preferably October) and allow them to soak.
- Keep the soaking seeds at room temperature for at least 4 days.
- Fill pots (6 inches in diameter) with moist potting soil.
- Push the seeds into the soil and place 3 seeds in the pot approximately 2 inches apart.
- Cover the pot with plastic wrap and keep them in a warm, dry place for the next 3 months.
- In January, dig about 2 inches into the soil to see how the root system is coming along.
- Move the pots to a cold storage area at temperatures slightly above freezing (not outside).
- Transfer the plants into permanent pots (12 inches in diameter) with rich, moist potting soil.
- Plant the sprouts 2 inches apart just below the surface of the soil, one sprout in each pot.
- Place the seedlings in a sunlight location with 6 to 8 hours of light per day.
Can You Plant Peonies Close Together?
Contrary to popular belief, peonies like a good ‘chill’ in the winter but still need to be planted fairly close together in soil that is approximately 2 to 3 inches deep. Planting them relatively close to the surface helps to ‘set’ their flower buds so they become more resilient.
Are Peonies Easy to Grow?
Peonies are sometimes considered difficult to grow as they fairly produce flowers in the first year of planting. It usually takes 3 years for them to produce blooms. However, once they do, all they require to grow well is rich, fertile soil that is well-watered in a garden that is beaming with sunlight!
In summation, peonies are long-life perennials that should be planted outdoors in the spring or fall. They can be planted indoors in pots or containers during autumn to grow over the winter months. These herbaceous flowers love sunshine and will thrive in warm, bright spots with 6 to 8 hours of light per day.
It is best to plant peonies in deep, wet soil that is nutrient-rich with good drainage. Be sure to grow them in areas away from large trees or shrubs that could deplete soil moisture and block-out much-needed. Good luck growing your beautiful peony oasis!
More about Peonies!
16 peony companion plants that will look great in your garden