Growing Peonies in the UK – Tips for Planting and Gardening

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Only a few plants can match the beauty of the deciduous peony. The giant blooms can sometimes be as large as dinner plates. Growing peonies is a great experience and also brings beautiful colours to your ornamental garden. This post will give you all the necessary tips and tricks on growing peonies in the UK.

Popular Types of Peonies in the UK

The three types of Peonies are the following: 

  • Herbaceous types – dies back to ground level every winter 
  • Tree Peonies – taller and woodier shrubs, they keep their frame overwinter
  • Intersectional Hybrids – a cross between the two mentioned types


How to Grow Peonies in the UK

Peonies need well-drained, moist soil that is in full sunlight. Support should be there for large flowering varieties. You can divide herbaceous peonies in autumn. Tree peonies, however, are more easily propagated through layering.

Best Place for Growing Peonies

Peonies should be planted in rich, well-drained soil that is in full sun. Avoid planting them in waterlogged soil. Most herbaceous peonies prefer neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Tree peonies prefer a protected position, and are more sensitive to acid soils.

Planting Peonies

Bare-root peonies should be planted as soon after they arrive, they are best planted in spring or autumn. You should not plant them too deep as this can lead to poor results. Before planting, mix in lots of well-rotted organic material. In spring, apply a balanced fertilizer. Overwatering peonies that have just been planted is a common cause for plant failure. Peony flowers are heavy so you will need to support them.

Taking Care of Peony Flowers

In autumn, herbaceous peonies should always be cut to ground level. Tree peonies don’t need to be pruned, instead, simply remove the seed heads that have become brittle in autumn. Do not try to pull off the autumn foliage and let it fall naturally. Do not prune tree peonies too hard as they can be grafted onto herbaceous plants.

Make sure you avoid stepping on newly formed buds when weeding borders.

Propagating After Growing Peonies in the UK

Once you have followed the steps of growing peonies it is time to propagate them. Divide your autumn-blooming herbaceous peonies to make them more productive. Using a garden fork, remove the damaged foliage and lift the plant. Take out as much garden soil as you can and use a knife to cut sections of the crown. Each section should contain at least three buds, and plenty of roots. Replant immediately in the garden.

Do not attempt to divide tree peonies. You might be able to layer a flexible stem or sow seed.


Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.