The 6 Best Fertilizers for Peonies

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Not all fertilizers are created equal. The difference between the best ones out there and an average one is drastic. It can mean the difference between having a vibrant, healthy peony versus a dull, lifeless peony.

The fertilizer you use plays a vital role in the development of your peonies. Using the improper product or one with lower quality ingredients can lead to serious problems. Spending the extra time to find high quality products can make all the difference in preventing issues down the road. I have put in some hard work to compile a list of the products that use quality and ingredients with the ideal N-P-K ratios.

Comparing Our Top 3 Recommendations

At A Glance

These receive our highest recommendations. They use quality ingredients and are much better than the other products on the market. Please keep reading below to learn more about each one. 

Best Fertilizers for Peonies

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable

This is a coated granular foods that is specially patented by Osmocote and is also GreenPinky’s top recommendation. Mix it into the top layer of soil near roots. Nutrients are slowly release over time after repeated exposure to water. Also, the patented technology makes allows for the nutrients to be released more readily during warm weather, which means that the plant gets more food during the season of growth. Since over fertilization can result in issues for your plants, this smart release formula helps to minimize this risk. You may see parts of the empty shells remaining in the area.

EarthPods Premium Bloom Flowering Plant Food – Easy Organic Spikes

Earthpods  Premium Bloom Flowering Plant Food is a fertilizer spike that comes in a capsule form. Its organic, high quality ingredients promotes flower production and will lead to healthy peonies. The spikes contain not only the necessary nutrients, but also beneficial microbes, humic acid and amino acids. Furthermore, the company strives to help promote eco-friendly products and as such, these capsules are made from all-natural sustainable resources. The capsules are easy to use – push the Earthpod all the way into the soil near the stem of your plant once every 14 days…that’s all!

Lilly Miller All Purpose Planting And Growing Food

This is a great choice when planting new tubers. It includes balanced nutrients encouraging steady and lush growth from all your plants. This all-purpose product feeds the root system while spurring new growth on top. It also contains essential minerals to keep peonies and other plants growing optimally. It is a slow-release, long-lasting food that is recommended by gardeners for fruit trees and even for houseplants. Apply this product evenly in the top layer of soil outside of the root system when feeding existing plants.

Espoma Flower Tone

Epsoma flower tone is a premium flower food that is lower in nitrogen than many products and higher in phosphorus and potassium. Phosphorous is necessary for the development of a healthy root system, especially important for peonies as they live so long. As mentioned above, phosphorous also works to make blooms bigger, with brighter colors and makes flowers last longer. The product calls it enhancing growth, as it contains biotone, which has beneficial microorganisms that work symbiotically with the

Miracle Gro Garden Pro Bloom Booster

Miracle Gro’s bloom buster product contains phosphorous, which encourages bigger, more long-lasting blooms. Use as directed in spring and remember to not over-fertilize. This product tends to work well for all flowering plants in the garden, preferably used before blooms open. Apply following rain or water first for the better results. Don’t apply to dry ground in the flowerbed. It does not burn when used in this manner. Mix with water according to directions on the packaging. It is rated 4.8 on Amazon for value and easy use.

Jobe’s Organics Annuals & Perennials Granular Plant Food

Jobe’s Organic Plant food is a granular product offered in a resealable, water-proof bag. It is fast-acting, allowing nutrient absorption to begin quickly after watering. This is an all-natural product that helps build your soil to become healthier over the years. And it contains phosphorous, resulting in bigger and brighter flowers. It contains no synthetic ingredients making it safer for people and pets. You can use it on your peonies and it also works well on most other flowering plants. Mix into the soil with new tubers, but make sure to use as instructed and not to over fertilize the soil. For already established plants, mix in the granules into the soil surrounding the base of your plant.

Growing Guide

Peonies are one of the most sought after perennials. They have vibrant colors and an intoxicating fragrance. Added onto this, they can thrive almost anywhere and some varieties can even survive in extreme winter conditions. If it is well taken care of with the proper nutrients, peonies can survive and continue to bloom every year for a hundred years or more

Ideal N-P-K Ratio

Peonies are heavy feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. 10-20-20 and 10-10-10 nutrient ratios are good options. You want to avoid fertilizers with too much nutrients as these may cause dense foliage rather than promoting the beautiful blooms that you want.

Appropriate Timing

Fertilize first thing in the spring. You’ll want to spread the fertilizer around the perimeter of the plant, but avoid the crown of the peony as this can cause damage.

Ideal Growing Environment

Peonies thrive in environments where they are receiving lots of sun (which encourages blooms) as well as good air circulation. You want to plant it in soil that drains easily. These conditions will help prevent the most troublesome disease that they face – Botrytis. Botrytis, or gray mold, is a fungal disease that thrives in moist conditions. The primary way to control this disease is to prevent this disease by controlling the environment. You’ll also want to shelter it from strong winds and plant it away from other trees or shrubbery so that your peonies are not competing for nutrients and moisture.  

Bottom Line

Again, I recommend buying the Osmocote’s fertilizer. Don’t make the mistake of buying any average product at your local gardening store. Many of them will simply not produce the same results. You cannot go wrong with any of the choices above. 

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About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.

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