“What is the best way to care for peonies in the spring? How do you keep the foliage from falling over when it rains?” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Double-flowered peony (Paeonia lactiflora) blooms are so heavy that even the smallest rain can weigh them down to the ground. Thankfully, this problem is easily fixed. General spring care is simple, too.
Start by completely cutting back the old, brown stalks from last year. Then weed around the crown of the plant, work in an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer, lightly mulch or add a 2-inch layer of Black Gold Garden Compost Blend, and then place a perennial cage around the crown. Caging peonies bolsters large, heavy flower heads when rains fall.
Seek out a cage that’s wide enough to accommodate the clump. Perennial cages are sometimes sold at garden centers or online (click here for one source). You can also make your own. I like to make my own cages for perennials, dahlias, and tomatoes using rolled, galvanized steel fencing (look for a product with open squares), wire cutters, and plastic zip ties (protective gloves are also needed). Just cut the fencing to size, and zip tie it into a circle. When cutting the fence, I also cut the base of the cage so that it has prongs to secure into the ground (click here to watch a video where I make a similar (but larger) cage for sweet potatoes).
I hope that this helps!
Happy peony growing,
Black Gold Horticulturist
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
This site may contain content (including images and articles) as well as advice, opinions and statements presented by third parties. Sun Gro does not review these materials for accuracy or reliability and does not endorse the advice, opinions, or statements that may be contained in them. Sun Gro also does not review the materials to determine if they infringe the copyright or other rights of others. These materials are available only for informational purposes and are presented “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement or other information is at your own risk. In no event shall Sun Gro Horticulture Distribution, Inc. or any of its affiliates be liable to you for any inaccuracy, error, omission, fact, infringement and the like, resulting from your use of these materials, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting there from.