Cutting back peonies

Cleveland Heights, OH

I forgot to cut back my peony in the fall. It is now drooping over to the ground. Should I just leave it and see what happens in the spring or should I cut it back now (February)? I live near Cleveland where it is quite cold in the winter and snows a lot. Thanks for any advice you can give.

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

You can cut them back now, they're sleeping. Corrections welcomed!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Linz, I never cut back my Peony's till early spring as I use the dying / dead foliage to give the large Tuber some protection from cold or frost as the dead stuff lays over it.
If end of summer the foliage is damaged (deer running through the garden) so If I have to cut back end of summer, I throw a good 2-3 inch compost over the tuber area BUT not covering the crown as I dont want rot to set in the still green stem area.

Now when you cut back your dried out stems (they sometimes just tug away from the tuber) but if more than a tug is required, I'd cut it as you dont want to damage the tuber. At this time I also gently hand fork around the inch or so top soil, then I add a handful of chicken pellets or other multi purpose plant feed to this top dressing and leave this on the top soil or fork it into the soil, but be careful NOT to damage the large spread out tuber as these plant tubers are or should be JUST under the soil where it can enjoy being baked in the sunshine, the top dressing will give some moisture retention to the soil and also well needed feed as these plants are greedy feeders and like a good drink to give out lovely lush foliage and those beautiful large flowers.

Good luck. Weenel.

Cleveland Heights, OH

Thank you!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Very welcome and good luck. WeeNel.

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