Skip to Content

5 Things To Do With Peonies After They Bloom

Cultivating peonies is generally straightforward, yet there are numerous finer details that some gardeners might overlook. A critical phase is the post-blooming period, where specific care can significantly impact the plant’s health and future blooming.

Next, I’ll tell you what to do with peonies after blooming.

1. Deadheading

Begin by trimming the flowers shortly after they’ve bloomed. When peonies bloom, they subsequently start forming seeds, a process that consumes considerable energy and nutrients. Removing these spent flowers redirects the plant’s resources, encouraging a more abundant bloom in the following year.

Snip off the flowers as soon as they begin to wilt, ideally not leaving them on the plant for over a week.

When cutting, make the incision one to two inches below the flower, at the first leaf node. This means removing the flower and a portion of the stem it’s attached to.

It’s important not to prune the main stems or leaves at this stage. The foliage is crucial for the peony as it helps in storing energy for the next year’s flowering.

For this task, ensure you use high-quality pruning shears. Sharpen them properly before use and sterilize them with an antiseptic to prevent the spread of any diseases. This careful approach helps maintain the health and vigor of your peonies.

2. Mulching

Applying mulch around peonies significantly enhances their growth and health. Mulch plays a vital role in retaining moisture in the soil, which is particularly beneficial for peonies, encouraging them to grow larger and produce more flowers.

One of the key advantages of mulching is its ability to moderate soil temperature. It helps in retaining the warmth during cooler months, aiding peonies in withstanding winter conditions. This warmth retention also fosters quicker and more vigorous growth in the spring.

Compost is an excellent choice for mulching material. Being organic and derived from plant materials, compost not only retains moisture and moderates soil temperature but also enriches the soil with additional nutrients.

When applying mulch, a layer of one to two inches is sufficient. A thicker layer might impede the flow of oxygen to the soil’s surface, potentially leading to problems.

It’s crucial to avoid placing mulch directly against the peony stems. Maintain a gap of about one inch between the mulch and the base of the stems (where stems and roots meet) to prevent potential issues like rot or fungal infections. This practice ensures the peonies benefit from the mulch without any adverse effects.

3. Fertilizing

It’s important to recognize that seed formation can be quite taxing for peonies, particularly due to their characteristically large and lush flowers. These flowers, once they’ve bloomed, produce seed pods containing relatively large seeds, which demand substantial energy from the plant.

To aid the plant’s recovery after the blooming period and to help it gather strength for the following year, fertilization is key.

Once you’ve removed the wilted flowers, it’s advisable to nourish the peony with a liquid fertilizer. This acts as a boost, enhancing the plant’s overall health. Generally, a single application of this fertilizer is sufficient, though a second application can be made if deemed necessary.

Be cautious not to fertilize peonies beyond August. Fertilizing late in the season can stimulate new growth, which may not withstand early frosts, leading to damage.

In early spring, consider applying slow-release fertilizers. These provide a steady supply of nutrients over the growing season, supporting consistent plant growth.

When selecting a fertilizer, opt for products from reputable manufacturers. The quality of the fertilizer can significantly impact the health of your peonies. Moreover, it’s crucial to adhere to the instructions provided on the product label to ensure proper application and avoid any potential harm to the plants.

Through thoughtful fertilization, your peonies can recover effectively post-blooming and be well-prepared for a vibrant display in the next season.

4. Disease and Pest Control

Post-flowering, peonies can become more susceptible to diseases like powdery mildew, particularly when they are in a weakened state. Powdery mildew is a significant concern and requires prompt attention to prevent serious damage to the plant.

If left untreated, powdery mildew can severely impact the health of your peonies, resulting in stunted growth and delayed recovery in the following year.

Spraying the plants with fungicides specifically formulated to combat powdery mildew can be highly beneficial in preventing the onset of the disease.


5. Watering

Maintaining a consistently moist soil environment is essential for the well-being of peonies. While these plants can endure brief periods of mild drought, they generally thrive better with adequate hydration.

Typically, peonies require watering every 7 to 10 days, especially when there’s no rain. However, this frequency may vary depending on your soil type. In soils with rapid drainage, like sandy soil, you might need to water more frequently.

Conversely, if your garden has clay soil, which retains moisture longer, you can extend the watering interval to once every 10 to 15 days.

It’s crucial to regularly check the soil’s moisture level and water the plants as needed. Generally, 1 to 2 gallons of water per plant is sufficient, but during extended dry spells, you may need to slightly increase the water quantity.

Additionally, when watering peonies, aim to keep the water off the leaves. Watering at the base of the plant reduces the likelihood of disease development, as many plant diseases thrive in damp foliage conditions.


Monday 17th of July 2023

Can you plant the seed pods?

Igor Viznyy

Sunday 23rd of July 2023

Hi Valerie. Just take the seeds out of the pods and plant them in the soil.