Step-by-Step Guide For Growing Beautiful Peonies In Pots

Are you considering cultivating peonies in containers or pots? These well-liked flowers are excellent container plants, although they can be a little particular about the conditions in which they develop. Certified master gardener Laura Elsner offers her best advice for gorgeous peony blooms in your container garden this season in this post!

One of the largest and most striking flowers in any garden are peonies. Although their many hues and ruffled petals soften the scenery, I adore them in gardens. Why not make them more intimate so you can appreciate them? You can arrange peonies in seating spaces like decks, patios, and verandas by growing them in containers.

If you reside in a region prone to bad weather or in a cooler hardiness zone, container gardening may also be simpler to maintain. However, what are the keys to growing peonies in pots that match their performance in garden beds?

Step-by-Step Guide For Growing Beautiful Peonies In Pots

Image Credit / Pinterest

Growing peonies in pots is a very easy task, regardless of whether you want to bring this lovely flower closer to home or have a limited garden area. For our best advice on making sure your peonies bloom as much in containers as they do in your garden, keep reading!

Know Your Hardiness Zone

This is something I wanted to address right at the top of the list. Any gardener can grow a peony in a container, although overwintering will be more challenging in a lower zone. However, it is not unfeasible.

Peonies are classified into zones ranging from zone 3 to zone 8. Planting perennials in containers generally follows the planting rule of the two zones above. Peonies will therefore survive the winter well in pots if you are in zones 7-8.

You will need to take certain actions in zones 3–4 to guarantee your peony’s survival during the winter. You will need to offer some security for zones 5 and 6. These zones are not all-inclusive regulations. A few things will determine it, such as how chilly the winters are where you live. or the amount of freezing and thawing that occurs in your area.

Your container peony’ success will also depend on factors like pot size. In zones 7-8, peonies are generally simpler to maintain in containers.

Pick a Proper Container

Image Credit / Pinterest

Peonies don’t fit in every container. Its enormous tap root will require a large container with significant depth in order to support it. I suggest using a pot that is at least two feet broad and deep. Later on, this will also help with overwintering.

Ensure that the pot you select has adequate drainage. If a peony is left in standing water, it will rot. The pot’s bottom needs to be allowed to let excess water escape without restriction. It is insufficient to have just rocks or pebbles in a container’s bottom. The container needs one or more bottom drainage holes.

I advise against using clay pots if you reside in an area where winter temperatures drop below freezing. The pot may shatter when it freezes solid because it will expand. Large plastic planters, ones made of fiberglass, or planters half-baked like a whiskey barrel are my favorites.

Use of the Right Type of Soil

Image Credit / Pinterest

Although peony can withstand less fertile soil in the garden, light potting soil works best for container gardening.

Peonies prefer well-draining, light-free soil. By starting them in potting soil, water can be allowed to run off the peony’s roots. I would cover the peony with a layer of compost in the fall so that when the snowmelts and spring rains come the following year, all the nutrients will flow into the pot.

Water Equitably, but not Excessively

Image Credit / Pinterest

While they require regular irrigation, peonies cannot withstand standing water. Watering will be simpler if you select a container with enough drainage holes and be sure to use a light potting soil blend.

Keep the peony in your container from drying out. A garden peony’s broad, deep tap root makes it far more drought tolerant. This enables the peony to look for water beneath. The contents of the container are all that a container peony can find. If you don’t water it for an extended period, the leaves will get crispy and brown.

The precise amount of water will vary depending on a number of factors, including location, rainfall, weather, and container size. In extremely hot weather, I would check every few days or perhaps every day. Check to check if the soil is dry by sticking your finger in it. Use good water if it is. You’ll soon understand your peony’s water requirements.

You will need to conduct more than your usual watering regimen if the peony is really dry and the water just pours out the bottom practically instantly when you water it. Water the soil gradually by setting the hose to a gentle trickle and letting the water seep into the ground. or subterranean water. To allow the container to absorb the water from the bottom, use a tray or tub that has been filled with water.

Overwatering your peony may cause the leaves to become yellow and possibly rot at the stems. Ensure that your peony can release its water. Verify that the soil is uniformly moist but not drenched.

Choose The Right Location

Image Credit / Pinterest

For peonies to reach their peak of bloom, they need full sun. In partial sun, they will blossom less, and in shadow, they will not bloom at all. Pick a spot that will get six hours of sunlight. The blooms will last longer if there is some afternoon shade to shield them from the strongest sun rays.

If at all possible, pick a spot that is shielded from the wind and the rain. Because peony blossoms are fragile, the season’s blooms could be ruined by a strong windstorm or heavy rain.

One of the best things about container peonies is that they provide shade from the midday sun, wind, and rain where you want to sit outside. So that you can appreciate the flowers and they can enjoy protected positions, arrange your containers on decks, patios, and lounging areas.

Select The Right Variety

Image Credit / Pinterest

Most of this comes down to personal taste. “Sarah Bernhardt” peonies are exquisite if you’re looking for large, pink double peony flowers. For striking and somber blossoms, consider ‘Karl Rosenfield’. ‘Bowl of Beauty’ is a stunning option if you’re looking for a frilly, exotic variation.

The only suggestion I have for choosing a peony variety is that you might want to go with one that doesn’t require stakes. It’s good to have a strong cultivar like Buckeye Belle because it eliminates the need for cages and stakes.

The hue of the flowers may also restrict your choice of variety. Popular peony types come in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, red, pink, and purple. While color shouldn’t be your only consideration, it can restrict the options you have.

Bloom time is an additional factor to take into account. Peony blooms in our gardens don’t last very long. If you are looking for a peony that will give you a burst of flowers in the early spring, I suggest a Fern Leaf peony. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a late summer bloom, an Itoh peony like “Bartzella” might be a nice option.

After Choosing The Variety Plant Them Correctly

Planting peonies is an artistic endeavor. They won’t blossom if they aren’t put precisely at the plant’s crown. Once established, they also don’t care to be moved.

You have the option of buying a peony plant or a root.

To begin planting a plant, start by making a sizable hole in the middle (or, if you want to put anything in front, slightly to the back of the pot). Take the peony out of the nursery pot and shake off any dirt or roots.

Insert into the opening. Plant it only as far down as the plant’s crown. Avoid planting further up the stem. Make sure the peony’s crown line is only somewhat below the container.

Make sure the crown stays below the line of the container. Water will just run off the plant if it is mounded above the pot. On the other side, if it sinks too deep below the pot, the plant becomes vulnerable to crown and root rot. Give the newly planted peony plenty of water.

To plant bare roots, prepare a hole and plant the root in the ground. Just one inch of dirt should be placed over the peony root’s “eyes.” Once more, confirm that the peony covered is level with the container. neither mounded over the container nor sank. It is better to buy and plant these bare roots in the fall. Give the root plenty of water.

Follow Your Regular Maintenance Schedule

The low upkeep required by container peonies is their beauty.

The requirement to stake or cage them will depend on the variety. The two hoop cages seem to be the most effective for container peony. They keep the plant upright so that the cage is hidden from view by the foliage.

It is ideal to not see a lot of pegs and thread because your container peony will likely be near a sitting area. Early in the spring, place the cage on the peony so that it can grow through, around, and over the cage.

Cut off the wasted blooms from the peony when it has done blooming. By doing this, the plant will guarantee that the energy it would have used to produce seeds will return to the plant, enabling it to grow and improve the following year.

Address Pests & Diseases Quickly

Peonies are comparatively pest- and disease-free. Maintaining optimal growing conditions for your peony is the best defense against pests. This entails planting them in full sun, light, nutrient-rich soil, at the proper depth, and with regular moisture. Your peony are significantly less vulnerable to disease and pests if you can accomplish these goals.

Reading that, though, won’t do much good if you already have bugs. Aphids and spider mites are two insect-related pests that can be managed by washing the peony leaves or giving them a strong hose-down (avoid spraying the fragile blossoms). Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap, being careful to spray the leaf undersides.

Ants are one insect that doesn’t bother flowers. In a symbiotic relationship, peony and ants support one another. In exchange for consuming the sticky sap that peony blossoms secrete, ants shield the flowers from other pests that prey on flowers. But contrary to popular belief, peonies do not need ants to bloom.

Your container peony can also have a problem with powdery mildew. This chalky coating covers plant leaves, stunting and maybe killing your peony in the process. Use a fungicide designed specifically for powdery mildew; the container will specify this.

Apply the Appropriate Fertilizer Type

Image Credit / Pinterest

I don’t usually fertilize my perennial plants. Rather, I use compost as a top dressing to my soil every autumn. Compost, marine dirt, worm castings, or aged manure are all acceptable options. In my garden, I would incorporate this into the container peony in the same manner. putting on a lovely top dressing in the spring that will allow it to penetrate down to the roots. Don’t worry if you neglected to apply the top dressing in the fall; just do it in the spring.

If your peonies are in mixed containers with other annuals, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) to keep them healthy. Annual flowers grow large and quickly, which means they require a lot of resources.

Final Thoughts

Classic garden flowers are peonies. More options arise when they can be placed inside containers. Container peonies are an excellent option if you have limited garden space or wish to appreciate the beauty (and occasionally smell) up close. You should have lovely peonies growing in containers for years if you follow these guidelines.


Also Read: Yellow Hibiscus Botanical Characteristics, Growing and Caring Tips

Leave a Comment