The Q&A Archives: How deep to plant tree peonies?

Question: The instructions on the label say to plant tree peony deeply, but the nursery staff say to plant it shallowly. Please advise.

Answer: Would it make more sense to say dig a deep hole, but plant shallowly? Here's why:

Peonies need 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 plant your tree peony so that it will be at the same soil level as it was growing in the nursery pot. Backfill, then water in well. If you were planting dormant root clumps, you'd still dig a deep hole, amend the soil with lots of organic matter, then backfill, and plant 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. Hope this clarifies things for you!

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