Shrub peonies can reach heights of 150 to 300 cm and a width of 80-150 cm. The shoot is reddish and then changes to different shades of green. The single or double large flowers appear between April and June, depending on the species. The flower colors also depend on the respective species or the wild or cultivated form. These can be white, pink, red, purple, or purple.


Shrub or tree peonies should never be planted in a location where peonies have previously stood, as this could lead to so-called stunted growth. If no other location is available, the soil must be generously replaced before planting. The Lutea and Rockii hybrids are particularly resistant.

The best time to plant is from August to October, although planting in August or September is more advisable as this is the time when the roots grow. This gives the plants enough time to grow well before the first frosts. Planting in pots is possible from March to November.

Planting in the vicinity of strongly growing grasses or woody plants such as bamboo, spruce, forsythia or yew should be avoided, as bush peonies usually cannot prevail against plants with such pronounced roots. Accordingly, one should ensure that there is sufficient distance to such plants. You should also keep a distance of at least 70-100 cm between several bush peonies. An area of ​​approx. 1.50-2.0 square meters is calculated per plant.

For the planting, a 30-50 cm deep and wide planting hole is dug. For larger plants, the planting hole must be correspondingly larger, around a third larger than the root diameter. Then the soil in the planting area is loosened well and the plant is used. It is important to ensure that the refining point is at least 10 cm below the surface of the earth. Then fill up with excavated earth and water the whole thing well.

Location and soil requirements

  • Tree or bush peonies love warmth.
  • They prefer sunny to partially shaded and protected locations.
  • Preferably on a house wall or a wall.
  • Once planted, they should stay in the same location permanently.
  • Relocation is not good for this plant at all.
  • Deep, sandy loam soils or heavier loess soils are very suitable.
  • As a rule, however, any normal garden soil is suitable.
  • This should have humic proportions and good water drainage.
  • It should be nutritious, moist, and chalky.
  • A pH of 6-8 is optimal.


This plant prefers moist soils. Accordingly, loess soils, as well as loamy sand soils and sandy loam soils need less pouring, as they hold the water longer. In contrast, particularly light soils have to be watered more often due to their poor water retention capacity, especially in summer.

The soil should never dry out completely, but waterlogging should definitely be avoided. The tree peony is not so well suited for locations with particularly high levels of precipitation. When watering you should be careful not to pour over the leaves or flowers. Otherwise this could favor the formation of gray mold.


Tree peonies should be fertilized moderately for the first time in the second year at the earliest, both in spring when budding begins and immediately after flowering. The best way to do this is to use an organic fertilizer or fully matured compost. Fertilizers with a high nitrogen content should be avoided as far as possible. The respective fertilizer is easily worked into the soil, but not directly on the plants.

To cut

Shrub peonies do not necessarily have to be cut. If, however, no pruning is done at all, significantly less flowering can be expected in the following year. Since the development of the seeds demands a lot of strength from the plants, you should remove withered inflorescences immediately after flowering.

Dead plant parts can be removed in spring. For rejuvenation, these plants can also be cut back more vigorously, down to about 30-40 cm. If possible, you should always cut over an outside bud.

Propagate by sowing

Tree peonies can be propagated by sowing or dividing them. However, sowing is very tedious. In addition, it takes several years for plants obtained by sowing to flower for the first time. Furthermore, these plants do not have the same characteristics as the mother plant, e.g. B. in the color of the flowers. Wild species are best suited for sowing.

It is particularly important for a successful sowing that the seeds are fresh. Accordingly, ideally one should sow in the summer immediately before the seeds ripen, ie as soon as the pods or the so-called follicle fruits can be easily opened. The right time is a bit difficult to find out because the seeds should only be minimally immature, but not too immature, despite everything. This point in time is ideal because the dormancy has not yet set in.

If the seeds are fully ripe or if dormancy has already started, the seeds must be stratified, ie subjected to cold and heat treatment. To do this, put moist sand in a plastic bag or a small plastic flower pot and put the seeds in there. When using a flower pot, this is then covered with a translucent film. Now the whole thing is placed or put in the refrigerator at temperatures of 4-5 degrees for about two months.

After this time, small radicles should have formed first. A heat treatment now follows. To do this, put the pot in a warm place at temperatures of around 20 degrees. Even now, the substrate must always be kept moist, but not too wet. The seedlings should have formed in the following spring. If possible, these should be pre-cultivated in pots for the first two years and overwintered frost-free. Under less optimal conditions, the seedlings may not appear until the second spring after the time of sowing.

Increase by division

The shrub peony can be divided both in spring and autumn, although division in autumn is more recommended. For this purpose, the plant in question is carefully dug up and divided accordingly with a sharp knife or, depending on the size, a spade. The individual sections are then immediately planted in their final location, exactly as deep as they were previously in the ground. Finally, the whole thing is cast on.


Tree peonies should not be replanted if possible, because these plants become all the more splendid the longer they are left in the same location. After transplanting, it can take up to two years for the plants to bloom again. At best, transplanting should always be combined with division.

The best time to do this is from late summer to autumn, as the plants are then dormant. It is best to replant at a time when it is raining more often and is already a bit cooler, this promotes growth at the new location.

The plant in question should be dug up widely with a digging fork and then divided and planted. Part of the old soil should remain on the plant, this makes it easier to grow. Depending on the weather, the next time has to be watered regularly.


  • Shrub peonies do not completely retreat into the ground in autumn.
  • They survive in the form of woody shoots.
  • They then drive out of them again in the spring.
  • They are very hardy and can withstand cold winters without any problems.
  • Despite everything, young plants should be covered with spruce twigs or straw in winter.
  • To protect against late frosts, it makes sense to cover older specimens as well.
  • Snow breakage should be prevented as far as possible.
  • To do this, the branches are loosely tied with a rope at the onset of winter.
  • This way, too much snow does not collect on the plant and the snow load does not become too great.


Gray mold (Botrytis)
The most dangerous for peonies is the so-called gray mold. This fungal infection occurs mainly in spring due to the warm, humid weather. An infestation can be seen on wilting shoots, dried up buds and rotting stems. Infestation is favored by the application of unripe compost as well as by over-fertilization. Accordingly, only fully ripe compost should be used and only occasionally and not before the third year of standing.

In the case of an obvious infestation, the affected parts of the plant should be removed as soon as possible and disposed of in the household waste. Under no circumstances should it be disposed of on the compost heap, because the fungus can then spread to other plants with the compost soil. Then you should spray the affected plants with an appropriate fungicide, which can also be used preventively.

Particularly beautiful varieties

  • Paeonia Lutea-Hyride ‘High Noon’ – This beautiful, bushy growing variety is between 120 and 150 cm high. The medium-sized, semi-double flowers are light yellow in color with an orange to red heart.
  • Paeonia Lutea-Hybr. ‘Gauguin’ – Paeonia Lutea-Hybr. ‘Gauguin’ BES captivates with red and yellow flamed flowers, which can be admired in May. It reaches heights of growth of up to 120 cm.
  • Paeonia Lutea hybrid ‘Vesuvian’ – This particularly attractive shrub peony shines with its beautifully pinnate foliage, but above all the chestnut-brown, double flowers that resemble rose petals. These appear from April to May. The maximum height is about 180 cm.
  • Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Renkaku’ – The ‘Renkaku’ variety produces large, snow-white, semi-double flowers from May to June and also impresses with its blue-green foliage. They become about 150 cm high.
  • Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Shima Nishiki’ – This particularly beautiful variety ‘Shima Nishiki’ has two-tone, purple-pink and white-striped flowers, the two-tone being most pronounced in older plants. Younger specimens are often pink or purple-red. It can also happen that both single-colored and striped flowers can be admired on the same plant.

Shrub peonies are very easy to care for and particularly noble plants that impress with their large, brightly colored flowers, which form an attractive contrast to their dark green or blue-green foliage. Pests are not a problem for this plant. The only thing that could be their undoing is an infestation with gray mold. And if you leave them in the same place permanently, you will enjoy this beautiful plant for many years to come.

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