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Providing timely energy to your peony bush will also play an important role in keeping it blooming. But the key word here is timely!
Peony bushes should be fertilized two times each year, first in early spring before they begin to grow from the ground, and a second time, just after their buds form and before they flower. When fertilizing, apply around the edges of the plant and not on the rootstock as this can burn and injure roots and stems.
As for what fertilizer is best, select one that is more balanced and not higher on the nitrogen side. Too much nitrogen will cause peony bushes to grow big but produce little blooms. Look for N-P-K ratios in your fertilizer in the range of 5-10-10.
Bulb fertilizers work well for peonies. Fertilizers designed to help plants bud and bloom are also good choices. Even a 10-10-10 N-P-K basic fertilizer will work well but stay away from fertilizers that have any type of higher Nitrogen compilation compared to the Potassium and Phosphorous. Affiliate Product Link: Dr Earth Bud & Bloom Fertilizer
We have saved the most important secret for last! To keep blooms coming back in full force each spring, it is vital to cut back the foliage in the fall. Cutting back allows the peony bush to concentrate its energy on the following year’s blooms.
If you allow the foliage and stems to remain, the plant simply can’t and won’t generate the power to create a big spring show of flowers. As the plant dies off in the fall, take a sharp, clean pair of pruners and cut the plant back all the way to the ground.
Fall is also the time to divide and split if you are looking to create more plants. When digging up, split apart the root ball into sections with at least three or four roots for each transplant. Simply replant with the roots in the top level of the soil. Again, be careful not to plant too deep as it will keep it from blooming.
One of the best features of a peony bush is that once established, it requires little care to continue flowering. It can take up to 3 years of growth to reach full blooming potential. Beyond that, there is no need for digging or dividing to keep it blooming. Here is to getting your peonies to bloom big this year!