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A quick guide to Peonies

Peonies are slow growing but are very rewarding and impressive perennials that put on an impressive show from late spring to early summer. The flowers are bowl-shaped, and come in whites, creams, pinks, yellows and reds. They are scented, and are either loosely crammed with petals or more open.

Sold at Plant a Border plant sales in Frome
Pink Peonies

Peonies are long lived and look great in borders - particularly a cottage-style garden. The flowers can also be cut and displayed indoors. Ideally they need plenty of space and do well in full sun.

They're relatively easy to care for - just cut back dead stems in the autumn and divide established plants then to make new ones, and then mulch and fertilise in the spring.

Here's one - Coral Sunset - that was planted up recently. It'll look great by the front door!

Peony sold at Plant a Border plant sale in Frome
Peony Coral Sunset

Planting and care:

Try to plant peonies in full sun and a fertile soil, which has been improved by digging in garden compost or well-rotted manure. They will grow well in a range of soils, including clay, as long as it does not get water logged over the winter or too dry in the summer The good news is that although they die back over the winter, they are fully hardy so don’t need any winter protection. Peonies are large plants and need about a square metre of space without competition from other garden plants in order to thrive. It's also important not too plant them too deeply as this may decrease flowering. Now is a great time to plant them:

  1. Space your plants about 1m apart.

  2. Dig a planting hole the same depth as the root ball and twice as wide.

  3. Add back the soil and firm gently heal it in around the plant.

  4. Ensure that any bright red buds are covered with no more than 2.5cm of soil. Deep planting reduces flowering.

  5. Water in to settle the soil and continue watering regularly, especially in dry weather. During the first summer mulch them with well-rotted organic matter to conserve moisture.

Ongoing care


Water regularly in dry spells during the first year to help them get established, especially if planted in spring or summer. Established peonies have deep roots and after the first year should not need routine watering.


To promote growth and flowers, apply a general-purpose fertiliser each year in the spring at about 70gm per sq m. Then mulch with a layer of garden compost or well-rotted manure to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Avoid covering the centre of the plant as this could damage the buds.


Many peonies have very large flower heads so it’s useful to support the stems by adding a stake.


Peonies are fully hardy. The foliage dies back in late autumn and the plants remain dormant until spring.

Where can I buy them?

I’m so glad you asked that. We've been selling them at The Station Approach in Frome over the past few years and you can now, of course, buy them through Plant a Border.

We're planning to be at The Station Approach every first Saturday of the month from 8am until 1pm.

Use the Contact page to get in touch and we'll be happy to let you know what we're upto.

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