Growing Your Own Perfect Peonies

Growing Your Own Perfect Peonies

I have had a lot of question about growing your own perfect peonies. Today I am giving you all my secrets, what kind to buy, when to plant, and where to plant them.

Growing your own perfect peonies can be the most rewarding gardening experience? First of all, let me say that their is nothing better than having the ability to cut fresh flowers directly from your yard and peonies are perfect to bring inside for a fresh flower arrangements. As a floral designer a cutting garden has always been a part of our landscape plan in every home that we have lived in and this home is starting to take shape nicely. The peony garden is just one of my cutting areas, I also have a rose garden, hydrangea garden and several perennial gardens such as my English Lavender and Lilac gardens.  I also strive to have a four season yard where there is always a section blooming at all times. This year was a particularly prolific year for my peonies. Let me be the first to tell you that I was never able to grow peonies until I moved  a little further north a few years back. So rule number one to consider in Growing Your Own Perfect Peonies is location or zone. I am so glad that I decided to dig up the 3  Karl Rosenfield bulbs I had in my previous yard and bring them with me to my new home, because that is when I discovered how well peonies the would do in this area. 

Karl Rosenfield

This peony is considered a double bloom dark red.  It was developed in the early 1900s and looks great, and smells amazing, they are very easy to grow and cut. Double blooms have several ruffled layers of petals without a true center but that is because the other parts of the flower develop into the petals. The outer carpels’ and inner stamens’ also develop into petals which make them look just the same as the guard petals and in some varieties making them look fuller.After seeing how well these did I lucked up on some peonies the first year at my local garden center. I actually over heard a lady that was requesting them and the garden attendant was explaining how the Sarah Bernhardt variety was very hardy and would do well in our area. Armed with the knowledge that bulbs that had never previous bloomed were actually blooming, I took notice and grabbed 3 of those as well that day to add to my collection. 

Sarah Bernhardt

One of the largest peony types, it is also a double blossom and it is supposed to be light pastel pink in color.  However mine are more of a medium pink this year, so I am not sure if this has anything to do with the ph of my soil. I am still researching that and will update you as I learn more. All I know so far is that when they set off additional shoots they can be lighter, but nothing yet about why they could be darker other than they were possibly mis-labeled? Introduced in 1906, this longtime favorite blooms dependably year after year and presents a healthy amount of emerald green foliage to add interest to the garden throughout the season. They are highly fragrant and smell fantastic.Like all peonies, this one is deer resistant, cold hardy and extremely long-lived, which are all very important things where we live since it gets cold and we have a ton of deer and wildlife. Peonies are considered perennials which means they go dormant in the winter but will return every spring. This means you will need to cut back the dead foliage in the fall and it will leave a hole in your landscape plan so keep that in mind as you plant them. For that reason I like to keep mine in areas with places that have evergreen shrubs surrounding the space to keep visual interest in the off seasons. That is just an easy tip for winter gardens when all your other pretties are not blooming.

Pillow Talk/Shirley Temple

This is one of the two varieties I added this year to hopefully get some lighter pink blossoms. Considered a soft cuddly pink double blossom with a hint of rose at the base of the bloom. Dark glossy foliage on strong stems with very healthy growth habit.  Pillow Talk is an American Peony Society Gold Medal Award Winner and usually is only available to be grown from a bare root. While I only had a few blossoms this year to show since I just planted them mid growing season, which in Georgia is May. I also have purchased a few more under the name of Shirley Temple as well for next year.

Duchesse De Nemours White

This is considered one of the finest specimens of a single peony. A large blossom with crepe paper petals and ruffled edges surrounding a golden yellow center, they are good for zones 3-8. Since this flower needs a little less cold weather than other varieties, it is a popular choice in the South. Very flexible stems so no staking is required, slightly fragrant and they make excellent cutting flowers with a long vase life of over a week. Deer and rabbit resistant but highly attractive to butterflies.

Peonies love a nice sunny spot with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight in well drained acidic soil. Peonies are the only bulb that never needs to be dug up and divided.  They apparently hate to be transplanted so I got really lucky with my other bulbs from the previous house, but I think it is because they were still in there first 3 years.Peonies also need to be cut to ground every year in the fall, so keep that in mind when planting. They are not evergreen and will leave a large empty hole in your garden for the winter months. Which would be perfect for a feature rock garden, movable urns, or statues. Another little tip I might mention is that they attract ants during the growing season, very large ants. So when you cut them and bring them in, you may want to make sure that you are not bringing in any other visitors with them.  Also be careful when you are cutting them too. Peonies make the perfect cut flowers when in season because they look great as a single stem cut in a glass vase. They also are very chic as a large grouping together of single color for a more dramatic statement. If you have other flowers in season, they are also perfectly happy to mix together in various ways to create several different styles. Like these options below where I mixed some dried lavender status with a mix of all the varieties of peonies. Then we have the pitcher with a more rustic farm fresh look which has fresh catmint, white roses, and mix of peonies. Magnolia leaves would also be pretty with these or even some honeysuckle, tulips, or Cherokee rose while it is in season. There is no right or wrong flowers when using the cutting garden method, it is just whatever is in season.I hope you have enjoyed these gardening tips,  you can now join our gardening club and get all my latest tips and tricks right in your inbox plus see my garden projects first.

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Growing Your Own Perfect Peonies JENRON DESIGNSMY PEONY BULB SHOP:


  1. Farmhouse Fixer Upper

    Jen this is the greatest post to date you know how I LOVE Peonies. Now I know all your secrets, ha! Seriously tho thank you for sharing this with all of the Peony lovers out here we are forever grateful!

  2. I love bulbs that come back year after year. After seeing your photos and reading your advice, I think I’m going to try to add peonies to my garden. Does it matter if you plant them in the spring or fall?

  3. Hey Tracy, so we moved in to our home in August and planted the bulbs that we brought with us from our previous yard in late September. Then additional new full size established plants were added in the spring of the spring of the following year, when they were available at our garden center. I can not say that I noticed a difference in their growth. I will say that the established plants that I bought bloomed the first year, where my bulbs took the full three years at the other house and never bloomed at all, and by the fourth year at our new home finally bloomed. So if you buy pre-established plants it makes that process go faster, than the bulbs I believe.

  4. These are absolutely beautiful. I need to add some flowers & I think these would be perfect. Plus the’ll come back next year too

  5. The flowers are gorgeous! love the pink hues.

  6. Amy

    Peonies are my absolute favorite flowers!

  7. These flowers are so gorgeous! I totally need to get into gardening.

  8. I love peonies! They are stunning! I wish I lived somewhere longer than 2-3 years (military family) and could have a house that I was able to plant things. I would certainly add these to my list!

  9. I love peonies! They are stunning! I wish I lived somewhere longer than 2-3 years (military family) and could have a house that I was able to plant things. I would certainly add these to my list.

  10. Southern Sassyfrass

    Oh my gosh peonies are my favorite flower I would love to be able to grown my own, this post is amazing and such a a wonderful addition to your line of gardening tips. Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  11. You have a beautiful garden! I love the arrangement with the white and purple as well! We are just starting to grow some things and hope we can be as blessed as you are!

  12. These look so pretty! All the shades are awesome. Great tips! Thanks

  13. Peonies are SO beautiful! I think they bring so much life to a room when in a vase. Growing up, my neighbor had the most beautiful flower garden, including peonies…I so enjoyed helping her with them. I hope to grow them at my home someday (right now, I don’t have the space!).

  14. Wow! Your peonies are just beautiful. I used to have a bush, but it died. You’ve inspired me to replace it (with several actually).

  15. My gosh, Jennifer …your flowers are so gorgeous. My home is surrounded by many mature trees. We love the shade they provide in the hot summer months but I do wish we had at least a few sunny areas for planting flowers!

  16. Wow, the Peony flower is very beautiful, I have a thing for horticulture, when I get a home of mine, I will definitely look out for flowers. Thanks for this

  17. Peonies are my favourite flowers. I’ve never tried to grow them because I’m terrible with plants but I’d love to

  18. And they are absolutely perfect! Love those pink peonies on my backyard!

  19. Tisha

    These are so gorgeous I was just talking about adding more flowers!

  20. I’ve never had luck with peonies, so I’m so glad I came across this post to help. Such useful tips!

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