The Q&A Archives: Peonies That Lean

Question: I planted several peonies about 3 years ago. This summer, the plants leaned almost to the ground under the weight of the buds. Should I brace them or remove some buds? Did I plant them deep enough?

Answer: Peonies naturally tend to sprawl outward when heavy with flowers and foliage, and especially in rain, regardless of planting depth. Most gardeners will use a peony ring (a wire support set in place before the plant grows for the season) or a staking system to keep them from toppling. A series of stakes around the perimeter with string threaded spiderweb style between them will hold the plants upright. Disbudding will not keep them from leaning. One other possible cause for leaning is planting them in excessive shade, in which case they will lean toward the light source, whether or not they are supported.

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