Peony Growth Stages in Detail

Raul is an Editor at BalconyGardenWeb and an expert in flower and herb cultivation based in Phoenix, Arizona. A frequent speaker at horticultural events, he is also an active contributor to Facebook flower groups. Holding an MBA degree, Raul blends his gardening skills with strong leadership and analytical abilities.
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Understanding Peony Growth Stages can be beneficial in growing and maintaining these flowers.

Peonies are a genus of approximately 30 flowering plants in the Paeoniaceae family. They are popular for their large, colorful blooms, which look much like roses! Peonies are grouped into herbaceous Eurasian, Asian tree or mountain, and North American peonies. Let’s have a look at their development in detail.

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Peony Growth Stages

Stage 1: Seed

The life cycle of a plant begins with a seed, which contains an embryo that will germinate and develop into a mature plant. Peony seeds are classified as dicots.

Stage 2: Sprouting

Peony Growth Stages 2

After planting the seeds, it will take 3-5 weeks for the root development, which is generally a single one – at this stage, after a white, red, or green shoot emerges from the soil.

Remember that the plant’s growth stage is slow this time, and it may grow only 2-4 leaves in the first year.

Stage 3: Development of Stems and Leaves (Year 2 Onwards)

Peony Growth Stages Shoot Appearance

Peony Growth Stages 3

Over time, the plant will start to develop more robust stems and leaves, which may be red or green, depending on the type of plant.

Stage 4: Emergence of Flower Buds

Peony Growth Stages 5

At this stage, tiny flowering buds appear at the top of the plant. This is the time when exposure to sunlight (4-5 hours, minimum) is crucial. You must also start feeding the plant once every 3-4 weeks using a diluted fertilizer.

Once the bud reaches this size, it will take approximately 5 to 10 days to transition to the next growth stage.

Stage 5: Flowers

Peony Growth Stages 6

The plant typically flowers in late Spring or early Summer. By this time, the buds will open fully to reveal large and fragrant flowers in pink, red, white, and yellow colors.

The blooming usually lasts for 7-10 days – after which you must take out the spent blooms to encourage more flowers.


Peonies typically go into dormancy in late autumn. In colder regions of America, these plants may go dormant in the first hard frost of the season.

During this time, the leaves turn yellow and fade away. This helps the plant conserve energy and prepare for the subsequent growth and flowering cycle.

The plant will remain dormant and store energy in its roots. Mulching would be a good idea to keep peony safe from extreme cold, especially if you have planted it in the garden. Dormancy concludes with the onset of spring.

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