All About Peonies

Peonies are perennials that will live for years. Coveted for their large blooms with many petals, they are a fantastic cut flower! Read more to learn how to grow peonies.

There are two basic types, herbaceous peonies and tree peonies.

  • Herbaceous peonies regrow from the ground yearly and can grow two to four feet tall and broader with age.
  • Tree peonies do not grow as trees, but are considered a shrub that can grow up to 6′ tall and loses their leaves in the winter.

You may have also heard about Itoh peonies, which are a hybrid between herbaceous and tree peonies. This hybridization results in more vigorous growth and vibrant blooms of the tree peony. Itoh Peonies will die back to the ground every year. For more information on Itoh Peonies, click here.

Selecting the location

First, select a location where your peony will receive morning sun until 1 pm. The light-dappled shade areas will also work well. If the plants don’t receive enough sunlight, they won’t bloom well or at all. In other climates, they can thrive in full sun, but our valley heat is too hot and dry. Peonies must also be in well-drained soil, so avoid low or wet spots.

Peonies bloom best when the winter is chilly enough. They don’t mind the heat if planted with the proper exposure.

Planting & Growing

Peonies can thrive here in the Central Valley if given proper preparation and little care. Once you have selected the best location for your peony, it is time to prepare the soil.

Be sure to amend the soil well, with a good soil amendment like EB Stone Azalea, Camellia & Acid Planting Mix. You can use up to 50% amendment with the original soil and mix well.

Next, add a good, organic fertilizer like Bumper Crop Rhody, Azalea & Holly fertilizer.

Plant the peonies at the same level as the soil in the container. Do not bury the plants any deeper than they were already planted unless specific instructions tell you otherwise.


Once planted, water thoroughly. Be sure the new plants do not stress for water during the first few weeks. After the first few weeks, continue to water thoroughly but do not keep it too wet. Do not transplant or divide. Divisions only need to be made when plants are mature (about 10 years). Fertilize annually with the fertilizer recommended above after blooms are done. Deadhead spent flowers with clean pruners.

A Popular Cut Flower 

Peonies are great cut flowers for their large blooms and strong stems. The vase life of a peony flower is about 7-10 days. You can prolong the vase life by harvesting the flower at the right time from your plant. The best time to harvest peonies is at the soft bud stage and when you can start to see the color of the flower peeking out.

Varieties We Carry:

Bartzella Itoh Peony

Scarlet Heaven Itoh Peony

Bartzella Itoh Peony

Yellow Tree Peony

Lavender Tree Peony

Red Tree Peony

Paula Fay Peony


and more!