Peonies For Pots: Growing Peonies In A Container

If you don’t have a lot of garden space, consider growing peonies in a container. Potted peonies are just as beautiful as garden peonies and are easy to grow.

Pink Peonies in Container
(Image credit: Getty Images / AI Generator)

Thinking of growing peonies in a container? Most gardeners love peonies for their abundant bloom and dependable seasonal beauty. Though established plants can flourish for decades receiving only minimal care, not all gardens may be well-suited to their growth. If you aren’t able to plant them directly into the garden or are hoping to raise peonies in pots or raised beds, you may be especially interested in learning more about this flower’s specific needs. Can peonies grow in containers? Read on.

How to Grow Peonies in Containers

The answer to this question will depend greatly upon a variety of factors. First and foremost, gardeners will need to ensure that the basic peony care requirements have been met. This includes the need for adequate light, moisture, and even dormancy. This guide will help peony growers gain a better understanding of how to grow peonies in containers successfully and help you make certain that potted specimens return season after season.


Though the light needs of peony plants can vary depending on the species, most herbaceous types will require at least 6-8 hours of sun each day. Containers kept in the garden may benefit from some shade throughout the hottest portions of the afternoon, allowing some brief relief from summer heat. Peonies grown indoors should also be allowed ample sun, with plants being situated where they can receive bright, indirect light throughout the day.

Temperature & Humidity

Though peonies are considered quite hardy to cold, those grown in outdoor containers may require protection throughout winter. This is especially true where temperatures are extreme, or dip below approximately 20F (-6C). While potted peonies that have been grown indoors are less likely to be harmed by sudden changes in weather, it is important to note that a certain amount of peony chill hours are needed for plants to initiate dormancy and complete their natural growth cycle.

Water & Fertilizer

Potted peonies appreciate consistent moisture. Weekly watering is likely needed throughout periods of active growth, with reduced frequency as the weather begins to cool in late summer. Routine watering is also needed for those kept as houseplants. Though plants should not be allowed to dry between waterings, use care to avoid overwatering. If you know how to fertilize peonies in the ground, feeding potted plants is pretty much the same. The only difference is the frequency. Annual fertilization in spring will help boost the overall growth of plants and encourage bloom.

Soil & Compost

Container-grown peonies perform best in rich, well-amended soils. Using a quality, finished compost at planting time can also aid in the maintenance of healthy potted plants. The growing medium should drain well, so that water flows freely from the containers. This helps to avoid over-saturation or prolonged exposure to waterlogged soils.

Problems Growing Peonies in Pots

Selecting an adequate pot is an important part of growing peonies in containers. Your pot size should allow ample room for the development of roots and account for each plant’s overall size at maturity. Select a container that measures at least 20 inches (50 cm) in both width and depth.

Most problems related to growing peonies in a container occur when the plant’s needs have not been met. This means you need to routinely monitoring plants for signs of stress related to temperature, water, disease, and/or the presence of insects.

Best Peonies To Grow In Pots

Most growers find herbaceous types to be among the best peonies for pots. This is due to their ease of growth and adaptability. As the plants are available in a wide range of colors and flower forms, you should be able to find a cultivar that is suited to your preferred aesthetic. You may also want to consider other species for container growing, such as intersectional and tree peonies. Especially popular varieties include 'Coral Charm,' 'Duchesse de Nemours' and 'Sarah Bernhardt.'

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Plant Potted Peonies In Summer?

Though it is possible to plant in summer, peonies are best planted in fall. Planting while temperatures are cool will aid in the production of roots and the establishment of new plants. Shrubs may also be potted in early spring before growth resumes for the season.

How Long Do Potted Peonies Last?

Depending upon the type, you can expect your plants to bloom over the course of several weeks, from late spring to early summer. Continued care throughout the season and into winter is essential in making certain that shrubs will return. This includes a brief period of dormancy throughout winter in which the plants are exposed to prolonged cooler temperatures.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel