One of the things that make peony flowers very popular is the big, beautiful blossoms that they produce each year. However, these blossoms come at a price. Peony stems are long, slender, and fairly delicate, which makes it harder for them to support the weight of a full blossom. Consequently, it is very easy for them to be blown down by a stiff wind, or even to be snapped in a moderate rainfall, thus ruining all of your hard work. Therefore, it is important to maintain your peony stems by properly staking in the spring.
Step 1 – Placement
Before actually staking, or even planting, it is important to try choosing a location (if possible) where there is some degree of protection from at least the wind. For example, if you typically have winds that come out of the west, plant your peonies on the eastern side of your house or other structure, or you can build a short, decorative fence that lines the western side of your peony garden.
Step 2 – When to Stake
It is important to stake your peonies as early as possible. By staking in the spring, before any buds form, not only will you have a support structure in place before the stems become heavy, but the foliage will grow up and around your stakes to conceal them.
Step 3 – Staking a Few Stems
You can purchase circular metal supports, sometimes called peony rings, that come in half circles that you can snap together around the stem of your peony. They come in various sizes and heights, either as single or double peony rings. These are best suited for a small number of stems, as using these on a whole garden full of peonies can be costly and time consuming to set up.
Step 4 – Staking Several Peonies
For a larger number of peonies, it is best to stake them in a more traditional method. Any stakes can be used, provided you are careful not to harm the fleshy roots, but bamboo makes for a more pleasant appearance next to the blossoms. Stake them at regular intervals around a bush, tying green yarn or twin around the stakes at 1/3 and 2/3 the height of your stems, forming a circle around the entire bush. For added support, you can tie off more twine across the bush from stake to stake (forming a sort of pinwheel pattern).
Step 5 – Staking Many Peonies
If you have a large number of peony bushes, you can save yourself a bit of time from having to stake every single bush. Instead, try driving in stakes all around the perimeter of your peony garden, having at least 1 stake every 2 feet or so (or 1 stake per peony bush), and tie off your yarn or twine from stake to stake. From there, you can add stakes and twine between bushes for those peony bushes with a gap between them. Otherwise, the bushes should help to support each other.
Follow these instructions and you can easily stake all of your peonies, no matter the size of your peony garden.