Peonies bloom best in well-drained soils in full sun but tolerant some shade as long as they have at least a half-day of sunshine. Good air circulation around the plant is important. Space 2-4 feet apart depending on desired effect. Never plant peonies back in the same location until you have removed soil that was around the original plant and replaced with new soil. We suggest that you work the soil 18 inches deep, into a good loose condition. Incorporate into the hole a mixture of good garden soil and compost. In zones 3-4, place eyes 2 inches deep. In zones 5-6, place eyes 1 inch deep. In zone 7, place eyes just below surface of soil. Work the soil around the roots as you cover the plant. Be sure to pack the soil well. Water well at the time of planting. During the spring months there is usually enough moisture in the ground, but if several weeks pass without rain, give them a good watering once every two weeks. This should also be done during the dry summer months after the peonies have bloomed, to insure a good crop of flowers the following year.
Remove spent flowers after bloom. Cut foliage to the ground and remove from the garden in fall after frost. Plants are long-lived, do not need to be divided and can be left undisturbed for years. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless. If plants do not flower, possible causes include: (1) planted too deep or too shallow, (2) planted in too much shade, (3) late frost killed flower buds (4) plant is too young or has been recently moved or disturbed or (5) the main reason a peony does not bloom is not sufficient cold to initiate bloom.
Newly planted peonies need a protection for the first winter after planting. After the ground has frozen in the fall give them a covering of straw or marsh hay about 3 inches deep. Remove this covering very early spring. Establish plants need no winter protection.