Stop Peonies From Flopping Over With an Upcycled Chair & Peony Support Leave a comment

If you don’t have a peony support yet for your peonies, it’s never too late. Since peony blooms get so big, they often weigh down the plant—especially after a rainstorm. Today, I’m sharing some of the best ways to support peonies and my favourite peony chairs. They play double duty as garden art and support!

Peony Garden Chair Support

Vancouver is a very rainy place. I live in a lush green environment pretty well year-round, but I do get lots of gloomy skies to compensate for it.

In late spring, peonies erupt all over the city. It seems that every second house has one in the garden, and it’s no wonder; their blooms are one of the biggest and most stunning to arrive in the spring.

However, when the rain comes down, peonies all across the city start flopping down. They just can’t handle the weight of the water.

Peonies tend to be dramatic, flopping over just as they reach their peak blooms. To stop this from happening, you need to place peony supports before they get too big.

I’ll share with you what peony supports are popular with gardeners and, my personal favourite, peony chairs!

This post will cover…

peonies wet from a storm but still upright
These peonies are wet from the rain but have stayed upright due to a peony chair.

How to Keep Peonies From Flopping Over

The downside of having such huge, showy blooms is the massive strength you need to keep them up. It’s no wonder that peonies eventually flop over as the blooms get bigger.

Prevention is always best rather than dealing with a floppy peony. Add a peony support cage or stake right when the peony is just starting to poke through the ground. This allows the peony to grow in the middle naturally, and you won’t have to wrangle them when they’re already large.

Of course, you can add support after the peonies are established, but it’s a little more work. At this point, it’s easier to use plastic ties, stakes, and twine to tie them up.

Peonies Flopped Over
After a rainstorm, the peonies aren’t quite so perky.

Peony Care

How you care for your peonies will also help them from flopping over, primarily how you water them. Avoid watering them overhead, as the water will further weigh down the blooms. Instead, aim at the base of the plant and practice deep watering.

After it rains, you will also want to give your peonies a hand when the blooms are out. Shake the peony head gently to release the water.

Cut any peonies that have snapped and bring them inside. They’re wonderful cut flowers.

Red and light pink peony bouquet
Even when they don’t fall, it’s great to clip some peonies to put in a vase inside.

The Best Way to Support a Peony

Some peony supports work better than others. Rather than using ties and stakes, I like full and total supports that completely encircle a peony clump. As I mentioned above, the earlier you place them, the better.

Some popular options are:

Tomato cages (you may have to DIY them so they’re not so tight)
Peony hoops
Standard plant support hoops

However, I want to introduce you to my personal favourite way to support peonies…peony chairs!

peonies before blooming supported by wicker chair
This peony chair is made from wicker, showing you can really repurpose all kinds of chairs for peony supports.

Make Your Own Peony Chair

My neighbourhood is eclectic, and I love that everyone has beautiful, unique gardens and homes. When walking through, peony chairs are quite a common sight to see.

People will take older chairs, whether patio chairs or indoor ones, and remove the center part. They’re left with just the chair frame they stick in the garden above where the peony will grow.

Then, the peony grows into the center of the chair, and it acts as a peony support. Instead of flopping over, it fills up the chair.

The chairs look nice in the garden and act as garden art rather than a drab cage. And when the peony grows and fills in, you barely see the chair anymore.

Here’s how you can make a peony chair support for yourself.

peonies after peak bloom supported by wooden green peony chair
Peony chairs work great for all different sizes of peonies.

Materials

Make It!

Look for a chair to suit this project. In my case, I used a vintage wooden kitchen chair, but any chair that can withstand the outdoors will do.

Remove the center from the chair. How best to do this really depends on the type of chair you have. It could be as simple as a utility knife and more complex as a saw.

vintage wooden kitchen chair
Thrift stores and alleyways are the best places to get old wooden chairs!

As with all older pieces, check the joints and screws for integrity. Tighten up loose screws or replace them. Fill holes with wood glue or wood filler and reinforce any weak joints.

applying wood glue to peony support chair
Even if your joints feel secure, popping a little bit of wood glue helps ensure it’s good to go for your garden.

I used a rachet strap to keep everything in place while my glue dried.

rachet straps securing peony support chair
Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours to completely cure before you begin painting.

To prepare your chair for painting, sand and wipe down all surfaces. Make sure the chair is completely clean and dry before you begin painting to ensure the paint sticks well.

Outdoor latex paint protects the wood, and using a paint and primer combination will save you the step of priming the wood first. I chose a sunny yellow colour for my garden!

painting peony support chair yellow with a paintbrush
Make sure the paint you use is designed for outdoor use so that it lasts and you aren’t repainting every year,

After 2-3 coats, let the chair dry completely in a covered area away from direct sunlight.

Place your peony chair over your peony clump while it’s still small. Leave the chair outside year-round for garden art when the peony is gone. And you won’t ever have to remember to place a peony support in the spring.

finished yellow peony support chair outside
Your chair can stay outside year-round if you use outdoor paint.

Frequently Asked Questions About Supporting Peonies

How tall should a peony support be?

Most peony support cages are about 25-35 inches tall. Younger peonies won’t need as tall supports, while older, more established peonies will need bigger supports.

Do all peonies need support?

All herbaceous peonies need support, which are the most common ones grown in gardens. Tree peonies usually don’t need support as they have shrub-like growth and woody stems. Itoh peonies are a hybrid of the two and usually don’t need support.

peonies before blooming supported by peony chair
When the peony gets big, you can barely see the peony chair anymore.

I hope you like this little garden hack. I love when garden art can play double duty in the garden. This project is so easy to make unique to you based on the chair you use and how you paint it.

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