Upon receiving your Third Branch Flower peony roots, open the box immediately and inspect the roots. Report any problems to us within 48 hours!
We encourage you to plant your peonies as soon as you can after receiving them. You can store them for a short time in a refrigerator or cooler while you choose and prepare your planting area (if you haven’t done so yet.)
Peonies are not fussy but choose your location wisely as they resent transplanting. Space them three to four feet apart for good air circulation.
Grow peonies in a sunny location sheltered from strong winds. Choose a spot with well drained, deep, fertile, humus-rich soil with a neutral pH.
Plant peonies in the fall: in late September and October in most of the country, and even later in the South. (If you must divide or move an established plant, do it in the fall.) Spring-planted peonies generally lag about a year behind those planted in the fall.
Dig a large hole, about two feet deep and two feet across. If the soil is heavy or very sandy, enrich it with compost. Incorporate about one cup of bonemeal into the soil. Tamp it firmly.
Set the root so the eyes face upward on top of the firmed soil, ensuring the eyes and crown are 2 inches below the soil surface. (In southern states, choose early-blooming varieties, plant them about an inch deep, and provide some shade.) Don’t plant too deep or your peony will not bloom once established. In most of the country, the peony’s eyes (buds) should be no deeper than 1-½ to 2 inches below the soil line.
Finish by backfilling the hole, making sure the soil doesn’t bury the root deeper than 2 inches.
Young peonies take time to develop into their glorious selves! It may take a few years to establish, bloom, and grow. We ship large, 3-5 eye divisions so there is ample root to support first year blooming. Peonies thrive on benign neglect. Unlike most perennials, they don’t need to be dug and divided every few years, unless you want to propagate a particular variety.
If your soil is poor, the time to apply fertilizer (bonemeal, compost, or well-rotted manure) is early summer, after the peonies have bloomed. Don’t fertilize more than every few years, and have your soil tested each year.
Sometimes the peony stems of some varieties are not strong enough to support their gigantic blossoms. Consider staking with twine or purchasing metal supports made specifically for large heavy flowers.
If you don’t like the way faded blossoms look, you can “deadhead.” Remove peony blossoms as soon as they begin to fade, cutting to a strong leaf so that the stem doesn’t stick out of the foliage.
Cut the foliage to the ground in the fall to avoid any overwintering disease and remove the foliage from your garden or field.
Don’t smother peonies with mulch. Where cold temperatures are severe, for the first winter after planting you can mulch VERY loosely with straw, wood chips or shredded bark.
Peonies make wonderful cut flowers, lasting more than a week in a vase. For best results, cut the stems when the buds are like a firm marshmallow.