Peonies Blooming Season and How To Extend it

Peonies are gorgeous perennial plants that gardeners in cool climates love to grow. If you’re interested in growing peonies, you might be wondering when they bloom and whether you can extend their blooming season.

Peonies will bloom in April, May, or June in most locations. Woodland peonies will usually bloom the last week of April and the first week of May, tree peonies the first three weeks of May, herbaceous peonies from mid-May to mid-June, and intersectional peonies the first two weeks of June.

It is possible to extend the blooming season by growing different varieties that will bloom at different times.

When Peonies Bloom

Peonies usually start to bloom in early spring once the weather warms up to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) during the day. Once the blooms open, they will only last for 7 to 10 days.

Peonies bloom from late spring through to early summer. Generally, peonies will bloom for around 6 to 8 weeks. However, each bloom only lasts for around 7 to 10 days. The peony blooming season also depends on the local climate and the varieties grown.

Peonies varietyWhen they bloom
Woodland peonies23rd of April to 8th of May
Tree peonies28th of April to 21st of May
Herbaceous peonies15th of May to 11th of June
Intersectional peonies29th of May to 15th of June

The timing of when peonies bloom is determined by several factors. Namely, your local climate and also the variety of peonies that you have growing in your garden. There are actually four different species of peonies that are commonly grown.

If you’re mainly growing herbaceous peonies, you’ll also find different varieties that bloom at different times. These are classified as early bloomers, midseason bloomers, and late-season bloomers.

You might also be interested to learn that peonies will only bloom once each year. That means that they will not give you a second flush even if you deadhead them. And, because their blooming season is relatively short, you won’t find any single variety that blooms all summer long.

The peony blooming season is also determined by where you live and how much chill time that your plants have had. You’ll also find that peonies will bloom for slightly longer when the daytime temperature is cooler. To give you an idea of the different blooming times for herbaceous peonies around the US, here’s a quick rundown:

  • In California – late spring to early summer,
  • In Texas – from mid-spring,
  • In Michigan – late spring to early summer,
  • In Massachusetts – late spring to early summer.

Will Peonies Bloom In The First Year?

According to many expert growers, most peonies do not bloom in their first year. In fact, it can sometimes take two to three years before you’ll see the first blooms on your newly planted peonies.

This is also the case if you move or transplant any peonies that you have already growing in your garden. You see after peonies are transplanted, they need to focus on root development.

However, there have been instances of bare-rooted peonies that are planted in the fall that have rewarded the gardener with one or two blooms in their first year.

The reason that most peonies don’t tend to bloom in their first year is that the plant is putting all its energy into strong root growth. During this time, the plant will also put on a nice amount of foliage, and this helps to “feed” the tubers so they’ll have plenty of “blooming energy” for the following year.

How To Extend The Peony Blooming Season

One of the easiest and only ways to extend the peony blooming season is to plant different varieties. Commercial peony growers conveniently label the different varieties as early season, early-mid season, midseason, and late season.

What this means is that you can select one or two plants from each of these categories when you’re planning out your flower garden. With all these different varieties, you can be assured of having at least one variety that is blooming over a general six-week period.

Here are some examples of the different peony varieties you can choose from:

  • Early season varieties include Coral Charm, Pink Hawaiian, Albert Niva, and Coral Sunset. These varieties are perfect for gardeners who experience mild winters and hot summers.
  • Early midseason varieties include Duchess de Nemours, Gardenia, Kansas, and Festiva Maxima.
  • Midseason varieties include Benjamin Franklin, Koppius, Big Ben, and Edulis Superba. Many of these peony varieties are classified as heirlooms.
  • Late season varieties include Bowl of Beauty, Karl Rosenfeld, Sara Bernhardt, and Felix Crousse. These are ideal for gardeners with cooler summers.

How Do You Get Peonies To Bloom Again?

In the garden, peonies only bloom once per season. Therefore, you cannot get a second flush of blooms even if you deadhead the spent flowers.

However, there is a little trick that allows you to cut the buds before they’ve fully opened and store them in the refrigerator until you want to enjoy the flowers later on in the season.

To do this, you want to cut the flowering stems just as the buds are starting to show some color and are soft to the touch. Once the stems are cut, bring them inside and strip off all the leaves.

Then, wrap the entire stems in clear plastic wrap. Make sure that you seal both ends of the wrap to keep the air out. Now, place the wrapped stems in the refrigerator and make sure they are laid flat.

You can keep your peony stems in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Then, when your peonies are finished blooming in the garden, and you’re missing their sweet fragrance, take some stems out of the refrigerator.

Unwrap them and cut off the bottom of each stem. Place these stems in lukewarm water and allow them to rehydrate. They should bloom happily in a vase for about a week.

Why Didn’t My Peonies Bloom This Year?

If your peonies fail to bloom, there could be several reasons. A lot of these reasons are cultural, but some may be related to your local weather conditions. Let’s look at the common reasons that your peonies might have failed to bloom.

  • Not enough sun – peonies need at least four to six hours of sunlight to bloom.
  • Transplanted – if you recently moved your peonies, they will generally not bloom until the following year.
  • Planted too deeply – the tubers or buds should be no more than one to two inches below the soil surface. They should also not be covered with mulch.
  • Too much fertilizer – if you’ve added too much nitrogen fertilizer, you’ll get plenty of green growth but no flowers.
  • Overgrown clumps – sometimes, if a clump gets too large, it will result in fewer blooms. The easy way to remedy this is to dig up the clump and divide it into smaller segments. Do this in late summer.
  • The foliage was removed too soon – the foliage should not be removed before the end of summer.
  • Extreme weather conditions – if your area experienced a late freeze, this can inhibit flowering.
  • Fungal diseases – these can inhibit flowering by destroying the delicate buds.
  • Insect pests – there are rare occasions when insects such as thrips will damage the flower buds, and they won’t open.

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