When the peonies have faded, the big question is whether to clean out only the flowers, cut back the plant more or leave it alone. There are solutions.
By the end of June at the latest, with a bit of luck not until July, the time has come: the flowers of the peonies (Paeonia) wither. From then on, there is often some uncertainty as to how to proceed with the shrubs. And a little caution is also advised, because when pruning the plants, you have to distinguish between perennial and shrub peonies, otherwise flowering will not take place next year in the worst case. But the following applies to both species: the flowers have to come off.
Pruning measures of peonies are useful, but depend on the species
Peonies (Paeonia officinalis) are relatively easy to care for, as they should usually be left alone. © Westend61/Imago
When the flowers of the peonies have withered, the large flowers can rot and give a breeding ground to diseases that have been triggered, for example, by fungi. For this reason, you should cut off the withered parts of the plant with clean scissors. Here, the cut is generously placed just above the first green leaf. This also prevents the plant from forming energy-sapping seed heads.
In the case of the perennial peony, the further measures are then quite simple: Since the shoots of the plant die in autumn and the plant retreats into its tuberous root, the old shoots are cut off at ground level in late winter or early spring. In late spring, the peony sprouts again.
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Shrub peonies tolerate rejuvenating pruning
Shrub peonies lignify and persist as a shrub all year round. You only cut them back, if at all, if they are bald and you want to rejuvenate them, or if they are damaged. This may be the case, for example, if the branches are bent due to the flower load. In late winter, these dead or dried plant parts are removed before the buds emerge.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
If you like to bring peonies into your vase as cut flowers, you can extend the flowering period here with the right container and the right location.