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Growing Guide: How to Grow Peonies

Growing Guide: How to Grow Peonies

Have you ever witnessed the splendid sight of peonies in full bloom? If you have, it's an experience that leaves a lasting impression. So why are we discussing peonies now, when spring has already passed and fall is approaching? Well, the reason is that the autumn is actually the ideal time for planting peonies in the UK.

At DutchGrown, we ship Peony Roots for SPRING and for AUTUMN planting!

Contrary to their seemingly delicate appearance, peonies are surprisingly easy to grow. They are a perfect choice for both novice and seasoned flower gardeners, as these resilient plants require minimal care and can thrive for up to a century once they are planted.

We are proud to offer the largest online peony root collection offered in the UK! 25+ unique varieties! We supply Peony roots with 3-5 eyes! It is important to start off with the best.

If you've been longing to have your own flourishing peonies, why not seize the opportunity to plant them this autumn? Are you ready to get started? Let's dive into the details!

How to Plant Peony Bare Roots:


  • Select an area that receives a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, although more sunlight is even better. It's important to keep them away from other trees and shrubs to avoid root competition. When planting individual peonies, ensure they are at least 1 meter apart, allowing ample space for growth and promoting good air circulation.

Preparing the Soil

  • Peonies thrive in well-drained and fertile soil, so it's crucial to avoid soggy conditions. Prior to planting, dig a hole that is approximately 50 cm deep and wide. Improve the soil's drainage and enrich it with compost, which will provide essential nutrients and microorganisms. A general rule is to mix equal parts of compost and existing soil. For optimal results, consider adding phosphorus or a granular all-purpose fertiliser to the compost/soil mixture. After thoroughly mixing the compost, fertiliser, and existing soil, refill the hole and compact it to eliminate any air pockets.


  1. Begin by soaking the roots in lukewarm water (for up to 4 hours) as it will give them a hydrating boost which is essential in helping them establish in the soil.
  2. Dig wide but shallow holes for each peony root. The holes should be approximately double the width of the peony root length. If you are planting multiple roots, then we recommend spacing the holes 1 meter apart.
  3. Place the roots in the whole with the crown and eyes at the top. Although the shape of some roots might make this difficult, aim to align all the eyes on the same level at approximately 1-2 cm below the soil surface.

How to grow bare root peonies in the UK

Top Tips!

  • When it comes to flamboyant flowers, few plants can rival the hardy, deciduous peony. Their giant blooms often reach the size of dinner plates. Peonies come in three types: herbaceous, which die back to ground level every winter; tree peonies, which are taller and more woody, maintaining their structure throughout winter (despite their name, they are small shrubs rather than trees); and intersectional hybrids, which are a cross between tree and herbaceous peonies.
  • Growing peonies successfully requires a moist, yet well-drained soil and abundant sunlight. Provide support for varieties with large flowers.
  • Herbaceous peonies can be propagated by division in autumn, while tree peonies are better propagated through layering.
  • When planting peonies, ensure they are in a rich, well-drained soil under full sun exposure. Avoid planting these often costly plants in waterlogged soil. Most herbaceous peonies prefer a neutral or slightly alkaline soil, while tree peonies prefer a sheltered position and can tolerate acidic soils. Bare-root peony plants should be planted promptly upon arrival. It's best to plant peonies in autumn or spring, taking care not to plant them too deeply, as this can yield poor results. Prior to planting, incorporate generous amounts of well-rotted organic matter into the soil. In spring, apply a balanced fertiliser.
  • Overwatering newly planted peonies should be avoided, as it is a common cause of plant failure.
  • Although peonies are very low maintenance they do need to be watered once a week or twice a week during hot/dry periods. This maintenance should continue for the first year or two until the plants have fully established and then after this, they will bloom each year of their own accord.
  • In autumn, herbaceous peonies should be pruned back to ground level, while tree peonies do not require pruning. Simply remove faded seed heads in autumn and allow the foliage to naturally fall off—resist the temptation to remove it prematurely. Avoid pruning tree peonies severely, as they are often grafted onto herbaceous peonies.

Below you can see an example of our 3-5 Eyes Peony Root!

Bare Root Peonies

Meet Ben, our Flower Bulb Specialist
Meet Ben, our Flower Bulb Specialist

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