The Q&A Archives: planting peonies and roses in my zone

Question: can you tell me if and how to go about planting roses and peonies in my zone and when is a good time

Answer: Both of these should grow well for you. You can plant container grown plants any time the ground is not frozen, but early spring and early fall are best. Bare root roses should be planted as soon as they are available in the spring.

Both of these do best in a full sun location with evenly moist yet well drained soil. Avoid locations where the soil is extra wet after rainstorms or where there are tree roots. Allow space for the plant to grow and mature to its full size without crowding nearby plants.

Prepare a planting hole that is several feet across and about 18 inches deep, both of these are long lived plants with extensive root systems. Plant at the same depth as it grew in the container, then water thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.

After planting spread a layer of mulch over the root area. It should be in a flat layer about three inches thick. This will help keep down weeds, help keep the soil evenly moist, and help feed the soil as it breaks down over time.

After planting the most important thing is to water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist, meaning damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out.

To know how much to fertilize it is a good idea to run some basic soil tests and fertilize according to the results. However as a general guide topdress annually with a good quality compost and use a general purpose granular or slow release granular fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 or similar. Read and follow the label directions for how much to use.

In addition to testing fertility you should test the pH and see if needs to be adjusted by adding lime, or not. Your local county extension can help you with the soil testing and interpreting the results.

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