Peonies forum: How do I ship a peony?

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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Aug 23, 2015 4:37 PM CST
Hi! I'm new to peonies but I love them. I bought a new peony in the Spring but I'm really not fond of its scent. It smells like coffee to me! I'd like to donate it for an upcoming raffle but how do I ship it to the winner? It is still in its original container & still has leaves. Should I cut it back & just ship the roots? Should I try to ship it as is? Is the Fall even a good time to plant peonies? The sooner someone can answer my questions the sooner I can tell Dave to add it to the prize list!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 23, 2015 5:14 PM CST
Is it a herbaceous peony(soft green stems) or tree peony(hard woody stems)? If it is a herbaceous peony, you can cut back so that the stems are about 1-2 inches. If it is a tree peony, do NOT cut the stems or tips off. Just trim off the leaves. Take the plant off the pot and wash off the soil as completely as you can. Let the roots dry out for a day. If herbaceous peony, you can trim off the roots so that you have sufficient roots for the number of eyes that you have. Once the root is dry, pack it in moist peat moss in a plastic bag, box it up, and send it. If tree peony roots, it is best not to trim too much off and try to find a box that fits it. For tree peony, you don't have to dry the roots. You can just use damp paper towels or newspapers to wrap the roots portion of the plant, and stick the roots with the wrappings into a plastic bag. Use something to tie the plastic bag to the stem so that it is secure.

Here is a pic of a good herbaceous root:
Thumb of 2015-08-23/kousa/ee9729

I can't find a pic of a tree peony root at this time. When I find it, I will post it. If anyone has other ways of doing it, please feel free to share your method.
[Last edited by kousa - Aug 23, 2015 5:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Aug 23, 2015 8:00 PM CST
Thanks! It's a herbaceous peony. So I can cut the stems back to 1-2". But what are the eyes? And should there be 1 root per eye? Why are more roots bad? I really don't know anything about peonies so please enlighten me!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Aug 23, 2015 8:27 PM CST
Well, more roots are not bad. It is just that shipping it like that will be very heavy. If you don't mind the shipping cost and you have a proper box for it, by all means send it that way.

graycrna4u
Aug 23, 2015 9:08 PM CST
Kousa, I would not pack anything in plastic, especially cinched tight. Plastic doesn't breath. Just wrap them in damp peat moss, and wrap them in damp newspaper. They will be ok even if they are a little dry. Just soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to planting. bxncbx, the eyes will be light or pink outgrowths on the root.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Aug 24, 2015 5:36 PM CST
The advice to clean the soil from plant roots before shipping is practical from many aspects. First, why pay postage to ship dirt. Secondly, it helps to remove organisms which may be benign in your area but extremely invasive in another. I have seen with bulbs shipped from Holland, there is a mandatory certification of being soil free for that very reason. When I shipped iris rhizomes to many different states, I washed them in soapy water with a generous dose of bleach added. As far as packaging goes, damp peat moss or shredded paper works. Damp sawdust is not recommended now due to serious infestations of a beetle which destroys ash trees.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Aug 24, 2015 7:19 PM CST
Almost all of the big peony sellers send their peonies in plastic bags as Karen suggested. Not wrapped tight but tied to keep the moist in. Plus the post office might balk at a soggy box.....
Liz
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Aug 25, 2015 8:19 AM CST
Thanks for the advice! I may have to resort to damp newspaper if I can't find any peat moss. I'll be sure to wash all the soil off before I ship it. I'd hate to send the winner a harmful pest!

I'll let Dave know to include it in the next raffle!

Thank You! everyone for the help!

graycrna4u
Aug 25, 2015 7:50 PM CST
Any big box store like Lowes or Home Depot will have peat moss. Soak the peat moss in water, wring it out, and wrap around the roots. Then, wrap with newspaper and pack in a box with excess newspaper. Good luck.

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