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Cutting Peonies: What To Know Before Making Any Cuts

Cutting Peonies: What To Know Before Making Any Cuts

Peonies typically have a predetermined amount of blooms that emerge per plant per season. Trimming the flowers will not result in the growth of new buds.

However, peonies make up for it by giving the flowers the power to bloom even when they’re cut prematurely.

Will peonies bloom after being cut? Peonies will continue to bloom even if you cut the buds. However, the bud needs to be fully developed for it to open after cutting. For most peonies, wait for the bud to be the size of a golf ball with a soft but firm texture. It should open between 4 and 6 days after being cut.

If you want to send peonies as a gift to someone, then cutting them before they bloom can give you a few extra days to ship them.

By the time they arrive at their destination, they should be ready to open up, but you have to time the cutting right. Read more to find out when and how to cut peonies.

Peony Bloom Season – What To Know

Like all other flowering plants, peonies have a bloom season.

Although the flowers don’t all open at the same time on the same plant, as long as you cut them during the bloom season, the buds will continue to open up a few days after cutting. 

When Do Peonies Bloom?

Most peonies bloom during the month of May. However, some varieties can bloom as early as late April while others might keep blooming until early June. 

How Long Do Peonies Bloom?

Peonies have a short bloom time that doesn’t last beyond 4 weeks. In a vase, this bloom time is even shorter as the flowers tend to wilt a few days after full bloom.

Do Peonies Bloom More Than Once a Year?

Peonies only bloom once a year. Even if you cut and deadhead the flowers, the plant will not replace them with new buds. Each peony has a set number of flowers every season.

What To Do With Peonies After They Bloom

Once the peonies start to fade on the plant, you should remove them to help the plant store energy and prepare for the winter.

As for the blooms themselves, you can cut them and make floral arrangements. The plant will not replace any cut flowers, however.

Can I Cut My Peonies Back in August?

Cutting peonies back as early as August might have a drastic impact on the number of blooms on the plant the following season.

August is the height of summer in most Grow Zones, and the foliage on the plant will continue to produce energy that the plant will store.

Depriving the peony of its leaves means that it will have less energy for the next season.

How To Deadhead Peonies

Deadheading peonies refers to removing the spent flowers to save the plant’s energy.

To cut peonies, cup the spent flower in your hand and use sterilized scissors to cut the stem above the first set of leaves.

That way you won’t have a bare stem sticking out of the foliage. Do the same for all the spent flowers.

When To Cut Back Peonies

The best time to cut back peonies is in the fall. Delay this task until right before the first frost to allow the peonies time to generate and store energies that will keep them alive throughout the winter.

Without this stored energy, the plant will have fewer blooms the next season.

How To Care for Peonies in the Fall

In the fall, you need to cut back your peonies to protect them against the cold conditions in the winter.

Start by removing the leaves and stems and cutting down the stalks to the ground. Then cover the plants with a thick layer of mulch to protect the roots from freezing over.

If the leaves had a disease, dispose of them along with all the debris produced when cutting back by burning. Otherwise, you can use the leaves and stems in your compost or even as mulch.

What To Do With Peony Seed Pods?

If you want the peonies to produce seed pods, don’t deadhead the spent flowers. Once the seed pods are developed, you can harvest the seeds.

Fresh peony seeds have a high success rate of germination, so plant the seeds in a tray like this one, and then transport each seedling to its own pot later. By the spring, they will be ready to flower.

Do Peonies Spread?

It’s a common misconception that peonies are self-seeding plants that spread out and make new plants wherever there’s available space.

Even if the peonies produce seeds, the seeds remain in pods and will not crack open and spread on the ground on their own.

You’ll need to harvest the seeds and plant them yourself to have new peonies. If you plant one peony in your garden, you’ll always have one peony for as long as the plant is alive.

Related Questions:

Do Peonies Do Well in Containers?

Peonies don’t require a lot of space even if they’re bushy plants. You can grow your peonies in containers as long as the container is large and deep enough.

Plant each peony in an 18-inch wide pot with an equal depth. Deadhead the peonies to conserve the plant’s energy.

With proper care, you’ll have a vigorous plant with colorful blooms year after year.

Can You Cut Back Peonies After They Bloom?

The early cutting back of peonies is not recommended. After they bloom, continue to deadhead the flowers, but leave the foliage intact.

The plant needs the leaves to photosynthesize sunlight and produce plant energy that gets stored for the long winter months.

The best time to cut back peonies is in the fall between September and November.


Peonies have a tendency to bloom even when cut prematurely. Cut the buds when they reach the size of a golf ball, and they will open up 4 to 6 days later.

Peonies bloom in May, so that’s the best time to cut the unopened buds.