The Q&A Archives: Soil For Peonies

Question: My soil is almost all clay with lots of rocks. I recently bought some peonies and was wondering what kind of soil they like and what I would need to do to my soil so that they would grow well.

Answer: Peonies will grow in almost any kind of soil, but because they're long-lived, the soil should be well prepared before they're planted. Work organic matter into the soil to a depth of 1 1/2 feet before planting. The easiest way to do this is by spreading 4-5 inches of compost, aged manure or peat moss over the garden plot, and digging it in. Then plant your peonies, putting the tubers no deeper than two inches. Add support stakes near each tuber and fill in the hole. In the fall, when the foliage dies down, cut it off at soil level and remove it from the garden. Peonies will grow into 4-foot clumps and the flowers are very heavy, especially when wet, so remove the spent flowers regularly to help keep the plant upright.

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