Growing peonies in pots screams “an old-fashioned cottage garden.” Peonies add drama and beauty to your landscape by providing color.
While most individuals choose to grow peonies in the ground, you shouldn’t be restricted due to a lack of growing space; peonies may also be grown in containers.
Peonies are available in most parts of the country since they thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3-8.
You’ll need a location to overwinter them inside since growing peonies in pots make them more susceptible to frost and freezing temperatures. In other words, they will be destroyed by the winter temperatures. Pots are used to grow peonies.
Peonies need specific conditions in order to flourish.
When growing peony in a container, keep the following points in mind:
- Peony needs a large container; 5 gallons is usually adequate for the purpose.
- Pick a location in your garden that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight each day for plant containers peonies to thrive in.
- Peonies like to grow in soilless potting soil, which may be purchased at the store or made at home.
- Peonies prefer a combination of soilless potting soil, compost, and granular fertilizer.
- Each season, you must move the plants inside to overwinter and trim them as needed.
- Remember to give the plant one inch of water each week throughout the summer, and fertilize it.
Peony plants are a perennial, so they may last for decades in your garden.
Plants may be divided into even more as they grow if they are properly maintained.
Peony plants can be grown and maintained in containers, so let’s look at how to do it. It isn’t as difficult as you might imagine!
Growing Peonies In Pots: How To Get Started
Peonies are a lovely addition to your container garden, and growing them in pots is simple. Make sure that your area is suitable for growing peonies. They like to reside in climates with 500-1,000 hours of winter chill. That puts the temperature range between 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a result, peonies in USDA zones 8-9 may struggle to flower if you attempt to cultivate them. They may not get enough chill hours.
If you want to grow peonies in pots, here are the procedures that you must follow.
1. Find The Right Spot For The Container
Before you fill the container, it’s a good idea to position it. Since they need large containers, peonies are difficult to move once they’re full.
- If the area receives a lot of afternoon sun in the summer, peonies thrive best in full sunlight or partly shaded areas.
- Try putting the pot on a board with wheels if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll want to relocate it.
- Peonies may be grown indoors, however the greatest development occurs outdoors. Peony plants should be put in front of a south or west-facing window with plenty of sunlight every day if you want to grow them indoors.
- In addition to natural light, indoor grown peony plants will need a grow light. You may utilize a multi-fluorescent light fixture with numerous bulbs, or you may opt for a grow light.
2. Choose A Container
Peonies are huge plants that need a lot of room to thrive. Choosing a pot that is too tiny is the most common error made by gardeners. At least 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide, or larger, is required for each container.
It’s likely that you’ll have to move it to a bigger pot. The root system is considerable because they grow to be 4 feet tall. If the plant appears root-bound, you’ll need to monitor its development and transfer.
There should be a large number of drainage holes in the container. Peony tubers may develop tuber rot if they sit in too much water, causing your plants to die.
- Look for frost-proof containers, such as those made of clay or plastic.
- To keep it from blowing over in strong winds, the container should be heavy. Peonies can be up to a few feet tall when mature.
3. Fill The Container With Proper Soil
You’ll have to be careful when growing peonies since they are picky about the soil. The soil should be fertile and rich, but it must also be loose and well-draining.
- A mix of 50% topsoil, 25% compost, and 25% perlite is an option. Drainage is promoted by perlite.
- For growing peonies, you want a combination of soilless potting soil and garden compost. Commercial soilless potting soil is available for purchase at the store.
- A 50/50 combination is another option for creating a nutrient-rich environment.
- When you plant the peonies, apply some time-release granular fertilizer.
- You must remove some of the peony potting soil from the surface each spring as the peonies begin to develop, and replace it with new.
4. Plant Peonies In The Pot
You can plant peonies in the spring or autumn, depending on when they are growing. Others believe that since the earth will freeze before the plants can grow, autumn is ideal.
If you plant in the spring, remember that peonies need chilly hours to bloom. They won’t get them if you do.
- In the spring or autumn, plant a firm, healthy tuber. Plant six weeks before the typical first frost date in the area if you plan to plant in the fall.
- Make sure to almost fill the container. You shouldn’t expect to increase the height by much more than an inch or two.
- With the “eyes” or growth buds facing upward, put the tubers into the ground. Over the top, put 1.5 to 2 inches of soil.
- These are tubers, so depth is critical. Thus, make sure not to plant too deeply if you want flowers. Peony tubers that are deeply planted often fail to produce blossoms.
- Pour enough water into the bottom holes until it runs out.
Caring For Peonies In Containers
Most of the emphasis needs to be on the plants’ proper care since peonies are perennial. Peonies may last for years if they are given the best care practices, but decades if they are planned!
1. Keep Them Wet
The soil should be moist but not soggy at all times. Overwatering peonies is an easy way to cause root rot.
- Dry spells may be handled by the plants when they have grown up, but you must wait until they are fully developed.
- You’ll need to check regularly because peonies grown in containers dry out faster than those grown in the ground.
- Put your finger into the dirt. It’s time to water if it’s dry 2-3 inches down.
- Watering peonies correctly is simple. Fill a pot with water until the drainage holes at the bottom allow it to run out. The soil needs time to absorb the water, so don’t pour it quickly.
- You may need to water more than once per day when it’s hot outside.
2. Fertilize Once A Year
If you want to keep your peonies growing, filling is a must-do activity. Throughout the spring, just before the main growing season starts, is typically when you should feed.
- During the blooming season, fertilize once a month when the plants are in bloom.
- Fertilize with a gallon of water using 15-20-15 liquid fertilizer. Next, pour the liquid onto the potting soil.
3. Overwinter Inside
Because peonies need to be brought inside to overwinter, fertilizing temperatures and frost kills tubers. When growing peonies in pots, this is one of the advantages; you can simply relocate them inside without fear of frost harming your plants.
Peonies need a 2-3 month period of rest, so dormancy isn’t as much fun for them.
- Late in the summer and early in the fall, preparation for dormancy begins. You should reduce the frequency with which you water your plants, allowing the soil to dry between watering.
- Dormancy is required for indoor peony plants as well. To correspond with the shorter days of the autumn months, these plants reduce the amount of hours of additional light.
- It’s time to bring the plant inside for overwintering when it dies down and loses some leaves. adequate protection from the cold weather is provided by an unheated garage or basement.
- Overwintering peonies need to be watered, but it should only be done once a week or so. For dormant peonies, watering once a week is usually adequate. Watering too much may result in soggy potting soil.
- It’s time to bring the containers outside again for a new growing season when spring arrives and new growth emerges.
4. Prune When Needed
Peonies are typically considered low-maintenance, but you may need to trim your plants in the fall or winter. Pruning is an important aspect of plant health maintenance.
- Cutting a peony stem above a healthy bud is the best location. It is vital to know where to cut when pruning.
- Cut all the way back to healthy wood if you have a diseased stem. Also, cut the branches off and toss them away. Never put diseased or bug-infested cuttings in your compost; they’ll spread disease and contaminate your batch.
- Look for rubbing between two branches that have crossed each other. That may harm the plant, so cut off the lowest-quality limb. Open wounds are undesirable because they provide insect and disease access points.
- Disbudding is the process of removing selected buds to regulate your flower’s growth. Largeer blossoms will result by removing side buds and leaving the buds at the top of the stalk exposed.
5. Divide Infrequently
Every 5-10 years or so, you should consider dividing your property. You should not attempt to do this task too often, or you will harm your plant.
The next blooming period will be delayed by dividing, but it is necessary for your plant’s health.
Propagating and dividing the root clump is the best option. After that, you should plant the damaged portions immediately. They can’t spend too much time above ground.
- Autumn is the ideal season for dividing.
- You’ll need to chop the peony plant’s leaves back to the ground level before dividing it. That might be upsetting if your plant is big and lovely!
- Remove as much soil as possible from the container before removing the entire plant. You can gently rock, massage, or spray the root ball with a hose to loosen up the soil.
- Spread the roots out with your hands, dividing them into bite-sized pieces. Three to five eyes should be present in each portion. Next, slice the root cluster into pieces with a sharp knife.
- Now, all of the tiny roots will be cut away, leaving the big meaty ones in each division.
- Make sure you replant your original peony plant in the same manner as soon as possible.
Pests & Diseases That Bug Peonies
Peonies are resistant to a lot of pests, which is fortunate. Many fungus enjoy destroying plants, so peony plants have a serious issue with them. It’s difficult to grow during the wet seasons.
Here are some possible issues you might encounter.
1. Botrytis Blight
During the wet growing season, this fungus develops. Black or brown patches on the leaves, as well as cankers on the stems, are common signs of illness. The stems might turn black and fall off. Brown flower buds are also possible.
You’ll have to delete the infected leaves as soon as you notice them if your peony plants develop botrytis blight. You should also clean up any plant debris in the fall, and deadheading is also beneficial.
2. Powdery Mildew
Hundreds of lants, including peony, are afflicted by this prevalent ailment. It’ll give your plant a white powdery coating over its leaves.
Powdery mildew is generally harmless to the plant’s long-term survival, although it may cause development delays in some cases. In the autumn, you should trim back and destroy the afflicted sections of the plant.
3. Peony Wilt
Another fungus-induced illness. Peony wilt can affect the plant and cause it to wilt if it affects the soil. To determine if the stems are infected with peony wilt, contact your local extension office.
You must destroy the whole plant if you discover peony wilt. It’s preferable to never plant peonies in the same location, so don’t use the same soil. Next year, you’ll have to start from scratch.
Varieties Of Peonies To Grow In Pots
You’ll want to choose a peony cultivar that thrives in containers since most are grown in the ground. Choices that stay tiny or grow to be as tall as standard peonies are the best options. Here are a few instances to consider.
This cultivar grows to heights of 3-6 feet and has a width of 2-4 feet, often known as Zhao’s Pink. That seems like a lot, but it’s not as much as other kinds you might cultivate in your garden.
CinnabarRed is a good option if you want something smaller, with a height and width of roughly 2 feet.
Fern Leaf Peony
Fern Leaf only grows to be 1-2 feet tall and 16 inches broad, making it an even more compact plant.
Peonies, a perennial plant, may provide months of beauty to your garden. When properly maintained each year, they may last for decades. Remember to water and fertilize frequently to ensure optimal growth. Make sure you pick the right container for your plans.