How to Deadhead Peonies: A Step-by-Step Guide

Peonies are gorgeous, but they aren’t exactly low-maintenance flowers. These delicate beauties require some tender, loving care if you want to keep them around for more than just one season. Deadheading peonies is one crucial step in their upkeep that many people overlook. But this seemingly small task goes a long way in keeping your peonies thriving.

If you’re thinking about growing peony bulbs in your home garden, or maybe you already have some growing there and wonder how to deadhead them to give them an extended lifespan… Keep reading for everything you need to know about deadheading peonies!

What is a deadheading?

Deadheading, or the process of removing faded flowers from a plant, is a common gardening practice that is used with many different types of plants. Each bloom has a certain lifespan. Once the flower dies, it’s best to remove it when the plant is still in its prime.

Should you deadhead peonies?

Deadheading peonies is an essential step in keeping your peonies beautiful and healthy. By removing faded blooms, you can promote new growth, keep the plant from becoming too heavy and prevent disease and rot from setting in. The more often you deadhead, the more flowers you’ll get from your peony. If you wait too long, the flower will stop producing seeds needed for next year’s growth.

When to deadhead peonies?

If you want to keep your peonies in the ground, then you should deadhead your peonies every three weeks to encourage more flowering. If you want to keep them in pots instead, you should deadhead every two weeks. If your peony plants have multiple flowers, they will start to fade after a couple of weeks. Once one or two flowers on your plant start to fade, it’s time to deadhead the plant. Too much flower growth on a plant can actually cause the stalk to rot. That’s why it’s so important to keep the flowers pruned off. Peonies are spring-blooming flowers, so you should start deadheading right after they finish blooming.

How to deadhead peonies

Deadheading peonies is a simple process, but it must be done with care. Ensure you use sharp pruning shears or scissors when cutting off the faded blooms. You don’t want to leave any stems behind because that could cause disease or rot to set in on the plant. Make sure to remove all the faded blooms, including the ones on the lower branches. The more you prune your plants, the more flowers they will produce. Over time, the flowers will die naturally, especially if you don’t deadhead them.

How to care for peony roots after deadheading

Peonies are a very hardy and resilient plant, but you should still care for the roots after you’ve deadheaded them. If you want to keep your peonies in pots, then you should mix some compost or fertilizer into the potting soil after you’ve removed the old flowers. You can also add a bit of water-retaining gel to the soil to help the plant retain water. If you want to keep your peonies in the ground, then you should replenish the soil with compost or fertilizer after you’ve deadheaded them.


You should also ensure you water your peonies after you’ve deadheaded them to help them retain water and nutrients in the soil. Deadheading isn’t the only thing you should be doing to care for peonies. You should also water them regularly during the growing season, about once a week, or when the soil feels dry. Ensure you water the peonies deeply so the roots get plenty of water.

Ways to celebrate peony blooming

There are so many great ways to celebrate the blooming of peonies:


  • You can plant them in pots to display in your home or garden. You can also use them as edible plants — make homemade peony tea or syrup.
  • You can find many different varieties of peonies at nurseries, or you can even grow them from seeds if you have the right climate.
  • You can also take pictures of the blooming peonies in your garden and share them with your loved ones.

Bottom line

If you want your peonies to live for more than one season, then you should deadhead peonies after flowering. Deadheading will help prevent disease, promote new growth and keep your peonies from becoming too heavy. When you’re deadheading, ensure to cut below the first flower so that the stalk is left with a clean, healthy nub. Also, don’t forget to care for the roots when you’re deadheading — rotten roots are just as bad as rotten flowers!