The Q&A Archives: Peony: When To Plant?

Question: I just received the peony starters. It is now mid-February in western Washinton. Is it too late to plant them outdoors? I thought you needed to plant them in the fall. If this is true can they be force started indoors and then transplanted in the spring?

Answer: Peonies are generally planted in the fall, when they're dormant. They dislike begin disturbed and may refuse to bloom if you transplant at other times. However, since yours is probably still dormant, go ahead and plant it now. It may or may not bloom this summer, but it surely will bloom next year. Here are some general guidelines:
Peonies should be planted in the early fall, in deep, rich, moist soil. Dig a hole at least 1 1/2 feet deep (roots go this far down!) and amend the soil with lots of organic matter to help loosen the soil and to retain moisture. Then backfill, planting the dormant root clump so that the eyes are no deeper than about 2 inches under the surface of the soil. If you plant deeper, the buds will die before the sprouts reach the sunlight in the spring.

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