Peonies are perennial plants that produce large, lavish blooms in a variety of reds, pinks, creams and yellows. The large flowers grow on delicate stems, however, making it difficult to hold up the heavy blooms, particularly when heavy rains pour down on the bushes. Staking plants will keep the blooms from being spoiled by being dragged on the ground. There are a number of ways to stake the plants, depending on their size and location.
New Peony Plants
Newly-set plants may require careful staking for the first few years until the plant is well established. Individual stakes may be the best method until the plant fills in. Green yarn, garden twine, or other tying material found in the garden department of any home improvement store will work well. Use a figure eight pattern to carefully tie the stem to the stake, looping the tie around the stem, then around the stake, and tying it off.
When the peony plant becomes more established, you may wish to set stakes around the perimeter of the plant, and then set a circle of twine around the plant to hold up the blooms. This method will work well to hold flowers off the ground in heavy rains. You may need to adjust the circle of twine as the plants grow.
When a peony plant reaches a medium size, you may have to use more elaborate methods to keep the larger amount of blossoms from bending to the ground during heavy downpours. This may require a grid pattern of stakes set carefully at the edge and in the middle of the plants, being careful not to destroy the rhizomes of the plant that rest underground. Then, attach twine or yarn in a grid pattern so that the plant can grow up between the grid rows. This must be begun while the plants are still small so that the plants will cover up the grid system as the bush fills out.
Very Large Bushes
Very large peony bushes will do best with a peony ring, a specially designed metal ring that you set around the plant when it is just beginning to grow in the spring. The plant will fill out and cover the ring, while the ring holds the blooms upright. These work well when they are made out of sturdy material.
Adapting Tomato Stakes for Peonies
Some growers find the most cost effective way to stake peony plants is to adapt tomato stakes that they may already have or that are available in most discount stores and garden centers. These can be cut apart or joined together in any pattern you need for your particular plant needs.