Unlike annuals, peonies take 3 - 4 years to become a fully established blooming plant. The first year of growth is focused on root production and becoming established in the garden. If blooms occur the first year, they may be smaller and not of the typical form or color of a mature planting. In fact, some peonies may not even bloom the first year or second year. Patience will be greatly rewarded with an abundance of flowers by the third year. The old adage for peonies is "The First Year They Sleep, The Second Year They Creep and the Third Year They Leap."