How to Prune Peony Bushes

Written by chasity goddard
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How to Prune Peony Bushes
Prune peony bushes in late fall after the blooms have faded. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Plant a peony bush in a sunny area of the garden to enjoy low-maintenance blooms from mid-spring to midsummer. In warmer climates, peonies need afternoon shade to recover from the heat of the summer day. Use a monthly liquid fertiliser to encourage growth and promote the health of your bush during the growing season or bury a slow-release fertiliser in the soil around your bush in the spring. Peony bushes are hardy perennials that can live up to 100 years with little human interaction or care.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Pull dead flower heads from the bush as needed during the blooming season by hand or cut the flowers from the stem with pruning shears. Open blooms can be cut at any time for flower arrangements, but a cut flower bud may never open.

  2. 2

    Cut the peony bush down to just a few inches above the ground in late fall after the foliage has fallen from the stems.

  3. 3

    Remove wayward stems as needed to reduce the peony's size or alter its shape during the growing season. Pruning during the growth cycle will reduce the number of blooms for that season, so only prune when absolutely necessary. If the bush is too large, move the bush or split it into several smaller bushes in the fall to avoid the necessity of frequent pruning.

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