Where do you cut deadheading peonies?

Answered by Robert Dupre

When it comes to deadheading peonies, it’s important to make sure you cut them back in the right place to maintain their overall appearance and health. Many gardeners simply snip off the flower head itself, but this can leave a long stem sticking out above the leaves, which doesn’t look very attractive. To avoid this, it’s best to follow the flower stem down into the plant and make your cut about half an inch above the leaves.

By cutting back peonies in this way, you not only remove the spent flower, but also a portion of the stem. This helps to maintain a more uniform appearance in the plant’s overall height and prevents any awkward tall stems from sticking out above the rest. Additionally, cutting back to just above the leaves allows the plant to put its energy into new growth rather than wasting it on producing seeds.

Now, let me guide you through the process of cutting back peonies step by step:

1. Start by inspecting the peony plant and identifying the spent flowers that need to be deadheaded. Look for flowers that have wilted or turned brown.

2. Follow the stem of the spent flower down into the plant until you reach a point where you can see a cluster of leaves. This is where you will make your cut.

3. Take a sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors and position them about half an inch above the cluster of leaves. Make a clean, angled cut, ensuring that you don’t damage any other parts of the plant.

4. Continue this process for each spent flower, working your way around the plant. If there are multiple flower stems on a single plant, repeat the process for each one.

5. As you cut back the spent flowers, you may notice that some stems have multiple flower buds or smaller side branches. In these cases, you can choose to selectively remove only the spent flowers, leaving the other buds or branches intact. This can help encourage more blooms and create a fuller appearance.

6. Once you have finished deadheading all the peonies, it’s a good idea to clean up any fallen petals or debris around the plant. This helps to maintain a tidy and healthy growing environment.

Remember, deadheading peonies should be done once a year, typically after the blooming period is over. This allows the plant to focus its energy on developing strong roots and preparing for the next growing season. By following the proper deadheading technique and cutting back peonies just above the leaves, you can help keep your plants looking their best and promote their overall health and vitality.

I hope this detailed explanation helps you feel confident in cutting back your peonies. Happy gardening!