Home generalCut peonies (peonies) - this is how it works!

Cut peonies (peonies) - this is how it works!

  • Cut: perennial peonies
  • Cut shrub peonies
  • Vases cut
  • Tips for quick readers

Where lavish flowering peonies in the bed and bucket keep yard, sooner or later the question arises of the professional pruning. Since the fascinating genus of plants gives us both bush-like perennials and shrub peonies, this aspect of care requires a special degree of attention. Read all important information about the proper cutting of peonies here - how it works!

It requires a balanced care program so that peonies will stay with the gardener for many years. The annual flower festival will only take place if sufficient attention is paid to the professional editing in the course of the measures. The successful course depends crucially on whether it is a bushy-herbaceous perennial or a woody shrub peony. Based on this insight, the actual cut is based, which is rewarded with proper use with an opulent blooming peony. Here we provide you with the horticultural equipment to skilfully master this key function for the successful cultivation of this magnificent blossom beauty. That's right!

Cut: perennial peonies

They dominate in our lush discounts, romantic cottage gardens and creatively designed tubs. Busy peonies have conquered the hearts of hobby gardeners, not least because of their uncomplicated claims to care. Since the herbaceous beauties of the flowers absorb their aboveground plant parts completely after the first frost, the right cut does not pose a horticultural challenge.


To cut a bushy peony perfectly, you need the following materials:

  • Hand-Pruning Shear (in brand quality from 10 Euro available from specialized dealers)
  • Gardening gloves (Robust quality from 3 Euro in the garden center in stock)
  • High percentage alcohol or spirit and cloths for disinfecting

Do not underestimate the risk of infection for a perennial peony. The tool should be meticulously disinfected before and after use so that no germs or pests can penetrate into the root area via the cuts.

Time and expiry

The choice of the appropriate date for the cut of a perennial peony is more important than the cut itself. Here, a distinction is made after pruning the flower heads and the leaves. How to do it right:

  • Cut off withered flower heads immediately to prevent the formation of seed stems
  • Make the cut over the first healthy leaf pair below the flower
  • Alternatively, leave the flowers on the perennial to allow self-seeding
  • From mid-September cut off the peony to 5 or 10 cm above the ground

The time required for each plant and season is between 10 and 20 minutes, including the disposal of the cuttings on the compost.

Tip: The rejuvenation of perennial peonies succeeds by dividing the rootstock. Cut the root strands down to 10 to 15 cm, the segments grow faster.

Cut shrub peonies

As a subshrub or shrub, peonies are less common in the private ornamental garden than the bushy shrubs. Nevertheless, some of the most magnificent varieties thrive on woody shoots. So that the beauty of the flowers lingers in the garden for many years, the skilful cut becomes the focus. Since the cut is different in shape to the stubby peony, it requires the following, more detailed explanations.


  • Rose scissors or vine scissors for young plants (brand quality from 20 euros available from specialist retailers)
  • Fine hand saw for older shrubs with stronger branches (Stable Japan saw from 25 Euro in the garden center or hardware store)
  • Accessories: whetstone, disinfectant, gloves

Time and expiry

The pruning of shrub peonies is considered sensitive because these plants create their buds in the previous year. A shape and maintenance cut, as we know it from classical flowering shrubs, could thus destroy this year's flowering. Cut peonies only when needed. That's right:

  • Clean up withered flowers to the first leaf to prevent the exhausting formation of seeds
  • In November / December if necessary shorten too long shoots to the first bud
  • At the same time remove the remaining leaves preventively
  • Thoroughly clear the entire shrub by cutting off dead branches near the ground
  • At the end of March / beginning of April, cut off any frozen shoot tips into healthy wood

When cutting, apply the scissors 2-3 mm above a resting bud - also known as the sleeping eye. A sleeping eye can be recognized as a slight thickening under the bark. In this way, a woody plant creates reserve buds that are viable for years to replace lost plant parts in an emergency. Cut the peony shoots at this point, the dormant bud is activated and expels. This cut is also to be considered if a frost damage is corrected in the spring. The frozen branch tips are brown on the inside. Cut them back until green plant tissue is visible again in the shoot. The precise cut also sets in this case a few millimeters above an outward, sleeping eye. A slight inclination of the scissors makes rainwater and irrigation water run better, which also serves to prevent disease.

The time required to cut a shrub peony, including a thorough removal of foliage and deadwood, is between 60 and 120 minutes per season. This estimate is based on the fact that in this work each individual branch is to be inspected, so as not to accidentally remove an active bud that will shortly bloom. Depending on the extent of the cutting work, the tool should be sharpened in the meantime again. Any bruising of a shoot opens the door to sly pests, fungal spores and other pathogens.

Tip: If you plant a root-bare peony in the fall, it will receive a planting cut immediately afterwards. For this purpose, all shoots are shortened by a third, in order to compensate for the root volume lost during the harvest.

Vases cut

Peonies attract attention with their lavish flowering as a vase jewelry. Both the perennials and the shrubs are capable of this masterpiece. To enjoy the paradisiacal splendor for as long as possible, cut it like this:

  • As a tool, the scissors are ideal for pruning
  • The ideal time is early morning when the dew has dried
  • Select flowering shoots whose buds are near the opening
  • Just cut off to the desired length on perennial peonies
  • On shrubby peonies apply the cut just above a sleeping eye

Pay attention to the vase cut to maximum cleanliness. In the midst of flowering, the risk of infection for the magnificent plants is explicitly high. The time required to cut a single flower stem is limited to a few seconds. Of course, it pays to spend a few minutes in advance to sharpen and disinfect the scissors.

Tips for quick readers

  • Regularly clean perennial peonies
  • Ground pruning from mid-September
  • Cut shrub peonies only when needed
  • Shorten to the first bud in November / December
  • Remove dead leaves and deadwood
  • In March, cut off frozen tips into healthy wood
  • Cut 2-3 mm above a sleeping eye
  • Avoid bruises at all costs
  • Planting of rootstock by 30 percent
  • Vase cut in the early morning
  • Stems cut with half-opened buds
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