The floral display foliage, and in some cases, the fragrance, when planting the perennial peony - which blooms from mid-May through mid-June – finds few rivals in the flower garden setting. While there are two main types of peony – herbaceous and woody tree (plus hybrid varieties which combine the gene pools of both) the easy planting method remains the same regardless of peony plant preference.
Before you plant, you will want to choose the peony type you desire. Herbaceous peonies are perennial bushes that grow approximately 3 feet tall and die to ground level in the fall before re-emerging in the spring. Woody Tree peonies are shrubs; which produce woody shoots that remain above ground level year-round. The large peony flowers of all types last approximately one week. Mixing early and late blooming varieties can extend the blooming season.
While planting, dividing or transplanting peonies is best done in the early fall, peony planting can be done in the when the spring soil is fairly warm and workable. Peonies flourish best in a sunny location with well-drained soil and away from any large trees. You must allow a three feet area in diameter for each plant, dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots. Set the peony plant into the hole, making sure that its eyes (small buds, red in color) are facing upward about two inches below the surface of the soil. Finally, fill in the gaps with soil; then mulch and water the plants regularly, particularly during the blooming season.
When you are ready to divide some of your already-established mature peony plants, dig a hole around the peony plant and then carefully lift it out of the soil. Divide the roots into clumps and re-plant the divisions as you would a new plant.