Droopy Peonies? Here’s How To Fix The Issue

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Droopy Peonies? Here's How To Fix The Issue

Droopy Peonies? Here’s How To Fix The Issue

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Unless your peonies are not flowering because they’re planted too deep, in maturity, most of them grow lusciously oversized white, magenta, ballet slipper pink, red, orange, or yellow blossoms. Peony stems are weak relative to the weight of the flowers, and they bend easily. And because of the heaviness of the blooms, a typical problem that both home and professional gardeners must deal with is their constant drooping. Add a spring rainstorm, and your blossoms could sink to the ground because of the sheer amount of water the flowers can hold. Luckily, there’s a way to fix the issue — adding support. 

There are different supplies you can use to achieve this, though they’re all based on the same principle: stakes in the ground high enough to surround the flowers and prevent flopping. You may already have the perfect household items available to bolster your peonies — things like clothes hangers can be the perfect way to DIY a support system. Or you might stop by your favorite garden supply shop to grab a few purchases that fit in better with your aesthetic.

How to stop peonies from drooping

woman making peony support from hanger

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The least expensive and most readily available fix you might already have to help your peonies stay upright is a plain wire clothes hanger. Use a pair of pliers to unravel the hanger completely into one long wire. Fashion both ends of the wire into hooks. Midway up the height of the plants, you’ll then wrap it around a bunch of peonies and hook the ends together to secure the wire.

Or you could get bamboo poles from your plant store and place three or four in the ground surrounding a gathering of flowers. If you have green garden tape (some use it to train their flowers) or regular string or twine, cut off a piece, wrap that around the plants, and secure it in a double bow. Don’t tie it too tightly to ensure the plant has room to breathe and grow. This method is the least obtrusive because the bamboo poles are greenish.

More ways to support peonies

man securing plant with stakes

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If you grow hydrangeas somewhere in your garden and you happen to have an unexpected cold snap that killed some of the stems (but not the plant itself, hopefully), you can easily prune dead stalks and use them as poles around your peonies. Place the thickest ends securely in the earth. As in the other examples, you’ll then wrap twine or garden tape high enough to prevent the blooms from flopping over. Of course, the caveat here is to only trim these thick hydrangea stalks if they’re white on top — if there’s any green left, they’re still alive, and in that case, leave them be.

Another option is to purchase a pre-made peony support system online or at your gardening supply center. You can use this or a similarly designed grid system even when the plants are babies and guide the stems through. And finally, the best spot in your garden for planting peonies is in full sun. Peonies planted in partial sun may develop stronger stalks if they’re replanted in a sunnier place. Dig up their root ball in the autumn and replant no deeper than 3 inches down from the topsoil in the new spot. One caution: only try this if you’re an expert gardener since they’re not too keen to be moved.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.