How Long Do Potted Peonies Last?

Peonies are one of the classics of the spring perennial garden. Their gorgeous, big blooms are one of the stars of late spring. However, did you know that you can also grow peonies in containers?

Potted peonies can last for many years when given the right growing conditions. A peony grown from seed will take 5 to 7 years to bloom, while one grow from division will take at least a year. The blooms appear in late spring and last 7 to 10 days.

How to Care for Potted Peonies?

  1. Plant peony roots in large, deep containers, in well-draining but rich soil.
  2. Water deeply and keep the soil consistently moist but never sopping wet.
  3. Feed once a year in spring with slow-release fertilizer granules or by spreading a layer of well-rotted compost over the surface of the soil.
  4. Place the potted peony in full sun or semi-shade.
  5. After it has bloomed, cut off the spent flowers.
  6. Peonies must have 500 hours at a maximum of 40°F (4°C) to ensure blooming the following spring.

Can Peonies Survive the Winter in Pots?

Peonies are hardy perennials that actually require a chilling period of at least 500 hours during their dormant phase in winter. That being said, you may need to provide container-grown peonies with some protection in really cold climates, as they will not have as much soil to insulate their roots as they would when planted in a garden bed.

You can easily accomplish this by moving them into an unheated garage or cold cellar where they will remain below 40°F (4°C) for the winter.

Potted Peonies Temperature Tolerance?

Peonies are very hardy, surviving winters as far north as zone 3. While a freeze will damage blossoms, the plants themselves can withstand temperatures well below freezing.

In fact, peonies will not do well in warmer climates, with zone 8 being the usual cut-off, as they need 500 chill hours a year to ensure flowering.  

Do Potted Peonies Come Back Each Year?

Peonies are one of the longest-lived of garden perennials, with plants easily lasting 100 years under good conditions.

Your potted peonies can be expected to live for many years, as long as they have some protection from really cold temperatures.

When Should You Plant Peonies in a Pot?

How Long Do Potted Peonies Take to Grow

The best time to plant peonies in a pot is in the fall. Use a container with a minimum size of 5 gallons, and 10 gallons is not too big. These long-lived perennials can grow quite large, and their roots need lots of room.

You may need to repot them every 3 or 4 years as they expand in size.

Use a rich, well-draining soil mixture with plenty of rotted organic material. Peonies are heavy feeders and appreciate consistently moist soil.

It’s very important to plant your peony roots shallowly. Only cover the eyes with 1.5 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) of soil. Peonies that are planted too deeply will not bloom.

How Long Do Potted Peonies Take to Grow?

Potted peonies will take a minimum of 1 year to bloom after transplanting. However, once these hardy perennials have become established, you will find that they can last for many years.

How Long Will Potted Peonies Last Inside?

A potted peony plant will bloom for a week or two at most, whether indoors or outside. While it does have attractive foliage for the remainder of the growing season, you may prefer to move the plant outdoors for the summer months. Find it a sheltered location in full sun or partial shade.

In the winter, you really do have to find a cold spot to let it get its chilling hours; the foliage will die back to the soil surface as it enters its dormant phase, so you’re not going to miss out on anything during the winter, anyway.

Final Thoughts

While most people grow peonies as hardy, reliable spring bloomers in their garden beds, you can also cultivate these classic flowering plants in containers, either indoors or outside. Just make sure that you give them a good long spell of cold weather to ensure a magnificent show of spring blooms!

See how long other potted plants last: