Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through some links found in the post.
Anyone with flowering plants is always antsy about when they will flower. Questions like “when will they flower?”, “how many flowers will they produce?” and “how long will the blooms last?” are common on online question boards.
People ask and ask as they cross their fingers and hover over the plants. And if this describes your situation with your peonies or comes close to replicating what’s in your head, I’ve got you!
Peonies will only bloom once a year but depending on the category of peony they can bloom for up to 3 weeks and deadheading can help to extend this.
I cover how long your peonies bloom, when, and how. So, you can finally know what to expect of this amazing species. How does that sound?
Do Peonies Bloom More Than Once?
Peonies will only bloom once a year. So, you must make each blooming season count because you must wait another year before you can land your eyes on these beautiful flowers. How do you go about this?
1) Cut the plant in the fall
Pruning your plant enables you to get rid of all affected plant parts and give it a new lease on life. However, the timing matters.
You want to do it at the start of the fall season to give it enough time to heal before frost starts.
Moreover, you also want to cut the plant using a sharp and sterilized knife that will not injure it or introduce any infections. When cutting the plant, do so close to the ground and cut the big buds at the tip of the stem.
2) Support the plant early in the season
Now that you have paved the way for more growth in the spring, you will need to ensure that the plant can support the weight of its foliage and flowers.
And the best way to do this is to use a cage or a stake around the plant. Do not wait until flowering starts for you to support the plant.
Peonies do not enjoy disturbance when flowering. Besides, you might be too late, and your peonies can fall over before you’ve had the chance to stake them.
3) Feed the plant in the fall using a fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-5
Peonies enjoy fertilizers low in nitrogen. Those high in nitrogen encourage leaf production, which supersedes flower production.
Thus, you end up with a peony with beautiful flowers and no or few leaves. To avoid this, use a low nitrogen feed diluted to half its strength.
4) Keep the plant watered
In the winter, you must cut back on watering to avoid waterlogging the plant’s soil.
But in the other months, you must water the plant regularly to enable it to keep up with processes like photosynthesis which are integral to flower production.
Please note that lack of water halts bud and flower formation. So, ensure the plant is not underwatered or overwatered (root rot is even worse).
5) Please wait for the peony to bloom
Then prune the older flowers to ensure the plant does not waste its energy creating seed pods.
These precautions will allow you to enjoy full blooms during the spring and summer seasons.
However, you cannot prolong the length of the blooming period, i.e., if a peony blooms for 7 days on average, that will remain the case.
The precautions above will help you ensure that you enjoy the 7 days rather than have the blooms fall off or die before their time.
You may also like: What are the common peony problems
How Many Times Can Peonies Bloom?
Generally, peonies do not bloom in their first year. Instead, they take about two to three years to mature enough to bloom. In some cases, they can even take a decade!
Once your plant starts blooming and is in the right growing conditions, it can keep doing so for a century! Most of these plants outlive their owners.
And in all these years, they can bloom once each year. Thus, the limit as to how many times they can bloom in a lifetime comes down to the care they receive.
What Time of Year Do Peonies Bloom?
Peonies bloom starting from the end of spring and last till the start of summer. However, the timing of the bloom depends on factors such as:
The climate in your area
Climate affects the chilling hours to which peonies are subject. People living in cooler regions get to enjoy faster and longer blooming periods than those in hotter regions.
And since peonies do well in hardiness zones 3 to 9, that would mean that people living in zones 3 to 6 would enjoy longer blooms.
The peony species
Peonies come in three categories. These are the tree/ shrub peonies, herbaceous/ perennial peonies, and the intersectional/ Itoh peonies.
The latter is a hybrid between the tree and perennial peonies. While these peonies are similar in many ways, they differ in their blooming periods, as I will later detail.
The specific species cultivars
There are more distinct species under the categories stated above. Some bloom early in the season, others bloom in the middle, while others do so late in the season.
Thus, it would help if you considered these factors when considering the bloom time of your specific peony cultivar and species.
You may also like: 6 reasons why your peony is curling
How Long Do Peonies Bloom For?
Peony blossoms, while strikingly alluring, only last seven to ten days on average. They bloom in the following order:
Shrub peonies/ tree peonies
These peonies are the first to bloom and do so at the start of spring. Their blooms last a week on average before falling off.
Please note that the blooms can last an even shorter period if you leave the peonies exposed to full sun.
While the plants enjoy bright and direct light, their flowers burn under such exposure. Thus, to ensure you enjoy the week’s exposure, you should use a shade cloth to protect the flowers from the harsh sun.
Perennial/ herbaceous peonies
These peonies also last about seven to ten days. However, their bloom time varies based on the specific cultivar you choose.
Some show up early in spring, others bloom in the middle of spring, while others do so towards the end of spring.
Their flowers are not affected by full sun exposure, and you can leave the plant in such light without damaging it.
Itoh/ intersectional peonies
These hybrids have the edge over the perennial and tree peonies. Their blooms do not open at the same time. Thus, you enjoy continuous blooms for two to three weeks on average.
If seven to ten days of peony flowers are not enough for you, the best way to go about this is to plant different cultivars.
That way, as soon as the first one’s flowers die off, the second cultivar starts blooming. And you get to enjoy flowers throughout spring and the start of summer.
You may also like: 5 reasons why your peony is drooping
How Do You Get Peonies to Bloom Again?
Mature peonies will bloom each year if they have access to the right growing conditions. But what are these right growing conditions?
Ensure your plant has adequate air circulation
Peonies are highly susceptible to fungal diseases which thrive in humid environments. To protect them, ensure the plant has enough airflow, well-draining, and well-aerated soil and follow a strict watering schedule.
Leave the plant in a spot with access to bright and direct light
Peonies need adequate sun exposure to produce food that gives them the energy to bloom. Thus, you must leave them in direct sunlight or supplement natural light with suitable artificial lighting.
Leaving them in poor lighting keeps them from photosynthesizing and halts the bud production processes.
For more on the light requirements, check out our article on the light requirements for a peony.
Please do not disturb the plant
Moving your peony can set you back a few years before you can watch them bloom again. Thus, only shift them if you have no other choice but to do so.
Also, do not plant the peonies too deeply in the soil as they have shallow roots. Ensure the roots are at most 1.5 inches inside the ground.
The closer they are to the ground surface, the better for your peony. Else, it will grow beautiful leaves but will not develop flowers.
You may also like: 8 reasons your peony plant is turning brown
Will Peonies Rebloom If Deadheaded?
Interestingly, deadheading a peony encourages it to bloom for twice as long as it would have under normal circumstances.
That’s because it forces the plant to focus on maintaining healthy blooms rather than supporting spent flowers.
Besides, deadheading your peony also paves the way for the growth of a healthier plant by halting the production of seed pods.
The energy that would have gone into seed production then goes into aiding the plant to grow more and prepare for the next season’s flowering.
Oh, and it also aids in the prevention of fungal diseases that take advantage of the wilting and rotting processes that occur towards the end of fall.
So, if you act and get rid of the spent plant parts, you can make it harder for the diseases to make a home in your peony.
Also, deadheading your peony makes it look better. Rather than having wilting flowers adorning your plant, you can get rid of the unsightly flowers and focus on the healthy ones.
So, yes, by all means, deadhead your peony – you will be doing it a favor. Please follow the instructions I covered in the earlier section to deadhead your plant.
The good news is that your peony will keep blooming for decades to come! So, even if you only get to see its blooms for a week or two, you have many good years ahead.
If you want to extend their blooming time, consider adding more cultivars to your garden.