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The delicately scented flowers of the peony (peonies) appear in white, pink and red tones from May to June. Every year, these hardy perennials and shrubs produce many flowers again and again, slowly announcing summer. Peonies are also popular as cut flowers. These plants are usually quite easy to care for. However, one should never fail to cut off faded flowers immediately after flowering. You can find out below why this measure is necessary.

Remove faded peonies

At the end of June/beginning of July, depending on the variety, the beautiful blooms of the peonies are already a thing of the past. It is then time to remove faded peonies. Otherwise, seed formation can occur very quickly, which is not really desired, only if propagation is to take place by means of seeds. More on that later. But why is it important to cut off the withered parts of the plant?

  • Prevention of seed formation
  • this process takes a lot of energy
  • Energy can be used better in the roots (rhizomes).
  • in summer planting takes place for flowering next year
  • no pruning, then low willingness to bloom in the following garden season
  • withered flowers pose a risk of infection

Withered flowers rot on the bush in a very short time. There is then an increased risk of disease. For example, mushrooms find excellent living conditions in withered flowers. Here they are protected and find moisture for their development.

tip: Fresh petals are ideal for making tea, syrup or liqueur.

summer cut

Withered flowers should be removed as soon as possible after flowering. However, you should not just cut loose on it, but there are a few things to consider:

  • Always cut wilted shoots above a well-developed leaf
  • Make the cut at an angle
  • The part you cut off should still have a leaf or two
  • Using sharp, clean rose scissors
  • Do not crush plant stems
  • mainly cut on dry days
  • thereby preventing the ingress of germs or dirt into the interface
  • Avoid cutting in bright sunshine
  • Otherwise the interface may burn

tip: If the dead flowers are not removed regularly, it is easy to stop flowering after a few years.

fertilizer application

After the faded peonies have been removed, a light fertilizer should be applied. It is best suited for this

  • compost
  • alternatively organic fertilizers such as horn shavings
  • finely ground horn meal is even better, faster decomposition by soil organisms

When the organic fertilizer has been converted into mineral parts by the living beings in the soil, it is then completely available to the plants. This supports new growth and of course the formation of flowers in the coming spring. The fertilizer should be worked lightly into the soil. But beware, the peony root tuber is only a few centimeters below the top layer of soil. The fertilizer must not be raked in too deeply to avoid injury.

cutting cut flowers

The fragrant peonies are also very popular as cut flowers, either alone or in combination with other flowers in a bouquet. With proper care, they can be kept in the vase for up to ten days. Incidentally, increased pruning stimulates flowering for the following year. Proper treatment is necessary to ensure that the peonies in the vase can be enjoyed for a long time:

  • Cut early in the morning
  • Buds should not be too small, but should be plump and the color of the petals discernible
  • Cut off the flower stalks and remove the leaves
  • Make the cut at an angle
  • Cut cleanly without crushing the stem
  • Cut the stems diagonally and place in lukewarm water
  • Water changes every two to three days
  • Then cut the flowers again
  • choose a draught-free location

tip: The flowers are often attacked by ants. Control is therefore important.

Seed ripening in autumn

If the peonies are to be propagated by seeds, not all withered flowers should be cut off after the flowering period. One or two flowers should then remain. These are perfectly adequate for one sowing. In the case of young plants, it is advisable to leave only a faded flower on the bush, otherwise the seed formation takes up too much of the plant's energy. So-called follicles containing seeds are formed here by autumn. The seed is

  • plump, shiny, dark brown to black
  • round to angular in shape
  • ripe when foliage has turned reddish, usually in late summer

The ripe follicles burst open and the seed appears. It quickly loses germination power and should therefore be sown immediately. Storage is recommended until spring at the latest.


Peonies belong to the cold germs. You need to germinate

  • a cold spell lasting several weeks
  • this without storage in the refrigerator possible
  • Sow immediately after harvest in autumn

tip: Patience is required when propagating by seed. Sometimes it can take two years until germination and even five to ten years until the first flowering.

Sowing should be done in shallow seed trays with loose, sandy soil. become

  • several seeds flat sown
  • bowls placed outside
  • kept moderately moist
  • transplanted into deep pots in spring after germination
  • Seedlings placed in partially shaded place
  • light fertilization in August
  • Plant out in the autumn of the following year on the spot

The leaves appear first. It is usually assumed here that these are cotyledons. However, it is already the real foliage of the plant. The cotyledons are underground.

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