Peonies forum: Newbie Bone meal question?

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Northeast (Zone 6a)
Sep 12, 2012 6:28 AM CST
Hi Everybody,
I am new to this forum. We have just bought a farm house in central NY state and it has an old peony bed at least 70 years old, with many of the peonies missing in areas. I have purchased new bare root peonies to fill in these bare spots when they arrive in the fall. I am new at all this so any help would be very much appreciated. I have raked in top soil and composted manure in an attempt to revitilize the soil of the old bed for now and will fertilize in the spring when the new growth comes up
My question is if it would help or hinder the new peonie roots, if I mixed in a cup of bone meal directly with the soil that will fill in around the new peony root. I also plan on mixing bone meal and composted manure in the bottom of the planting hole as well.

Thank in advance, Bob...
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Sep 12, 2012 8:16 AM CST
Will begin the replies to let you know we are not all asleep until planting time. Bone meal is a very slowly released organic nutrient which needs to be tilled into the soil since it does not leach as well as chemical fertilizers. Your idea of adding some to the bottom of planting holes is ideal. Dig the hole deeper than required, add the bone meal, and cover with an inch or so of soil before placing the plant into the hole. I have read where the bone meal requires bacterial functions in order to be disolved into useful plant nutrients. Very poor or dead soil may not work at all. I have kicked around the idea of adding something like cesspool bacteria, Rid-X possibly, to help enrich the soil.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
Sep 12, 2012 8:26 AM CST


I simply mix compost in with my peonies to enrich the soil when planting or transplanting. If I am looking to enrich the soil in existing peonies, I will mix compost in with the top soil in an inch or two, whatever is safely workable. Haven't ever used bone meal with peonies so I honestly can say I am not sure.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Sep 13, 2012 5:36 AM CST
Bone meal in the hole is a good idea.
Bone meal is a slow release plant food.

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