Peonies forum→Potted VS Bare Root

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Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Mar 16, 2021 5:01 AM CST
Can anyone explain me the pros and cons of pre-potted peonies and bare root. I planted many bare root peonies last fall but I'm now seeing vendors offer some potted peonies. Will potted peonies flower the first spring after planting? Anyone have any experience with each. I'm fairly new to the peony topic and purchased the peonies last year on a whim for fall planting. I've become obsessed and I would love to know the benefits/drawbacks of each. Are potted even worth the time? I know peonies need a length of chilling time. Thank you.
Ruthanna R

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ElPolloDiablo
Mar 16, 2021 6:53 AM CST
Basically potted peonies have the advantage they can be sold while in bloom, and hence you can see exactly what you are buying. Out of my peonies all the Japanese tree ones and the Mackinac Grand were bought potted and the rest bare root. Zero problems.

Blooming is influenced by how old a division is: the larger and older (and more expensive) the sooner it will start blooming. Usually all nurseries with a decent peony lineup have a few older "ready to go" potted divisions that will start blooming right away. Again, it's all a matter of money and finding what you are looking for.
The Saviour.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
Region: Canadian Seller of Garden Stuff Peonies Hybridizer Irises Daylilies
Plant and/or Seed Trader
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Vals_Garden
Mar 16, 2021 9:04 AM CST
I must add a note here on the potting material used. Decades ago when I bought a few potted peonies ( I found these were usually tissue cultured & therefore not necessarily the variety tagged) those in mostly peat moss should have been bare rooted when planted as the mix did not absorb water and the root ball just dried out - and the peony would have died if I hadn't dug them up and cleaned off the peat moss. I now buy only from peony specialists/hybridizers who ship newly dug/bare rooted peonies that are in their right cycle to be 'disturbed' and replanted Thumbs up
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Mar 16, 2021 11:47 AM CST
Some of the potted peony roots are rather small and you could wait 3 or more years to see the bloom. In one case it took me 2 years to see that peony was a wrong cultivar and I managed to get a credit in the nursery. Sometimes it is not so easy.

Most of the potted peonies are common varieties and some roots are simply too big to fit in the pot. I would certainly not buy Henry Bockstoce or Old Faithful potted as it will take them ages to bloom. They need huge root mass to be able to.

Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Mar 16, 2021 12:40 PM CST
I agree with everything above. It all depend on the root planted or bagged. If you buy bagged or potted peonies from a respectable nursery chances are good that the peonies will bloom the first year.
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Mar 16, 2021 2:20 PM CST
I also want to add that buying potted roots will eventually lead you to appreciating the peonies more and save in the process as some of them can be bought for 10 dollars or cheaper and can be bought on a whim.

But some of us get hooked and want different/rare/more beautiful or fancy varieties and start on the path of ordering rare or more eye-pleasing bare roots from reputable growers. Still I could not resist when I saw potted Madame Calot for 1 dollar on sale and after 2 years of growing there is no bloom. I really hope it could be the right ID or at least the one I would like.


Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Mar 21, 2021 6:56 AM CST
Thank you all for your responses. I ended up purchasing a potted itoh peony because I liked it. lol. It's planted so just to wait and see what happens.
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
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SoCalGardenNut
Mar 21, 2021 5:49 PM CST
That's how I started, potted plants, one Itoh and 6 herbaceous peonies, but only one survived.
2022 wishlist: Blonde Vision.
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Mar 22, 2021 11:09 AM CST
Been working in the garden Ruthanna, but here is what I found out last year. I bought 5 Itohs in pots at a good discount because they had no labels and no blooms. I waited until fall to plant (but only watered them when dry and kept them out of the rain) all of them had root rot and some very badly...I had to cut out quite a bit of it (someone said I should have soaked them in 10% bleach) So far all have shoots coming up. I have several bare rooted ones that have not come up.

All in all, if the price was right, I would still buy the potted, but they were lots more care than the bare root..

I have planted some of the spring walmart cheapies in grow bags, but don't know if they will bloom.
Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Mar 22, 2021 6:36 PM CST
Thank you @sandsock how long do you think it took for the foliage to grow. Not the blooms necessarily. But I'm just wondering how long for the greenery to grow. On any of the peony plants for that matter.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Mar 22, 2021 8:46 PM CST

Moderator

Peonies should be poking their noses out in your zone soon, I normally see mine in 4b sometime in mid April. Most of the time you'll see species herbaceous first then hybrid herbaceous, some late blooming lactifloras won't show up until a month or more after the early risers so really depends on what varieties you planted as to when you'll see them.
LizB
Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Mar 23, 2021 6:14 AM CST
Thank you, I do see some of mine starting to grow. I read somewhere that peonies have fast growing foliage so I was wondering what other peoples experience was with that, since they die to the ground each year.
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Mar 29, 2021 10:50 PM CST
I am finding that when I originally planted the roots makes a difference, so does the amount of sun and so does if it is am early mid or late. My first one planted, an early is well up and going to bloom before the end of the month is not sooner. Some of my other plants are just barely poking up and others in between. Late April is when my Corals start blooming.
Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Apr 7, 2021 5:45 AM CST
@vals_garden how often should I be watering my peonies? They are growing, im just unsure if I should be watering daily, weekly or when I notice soil is dry. I somehow can't find a solid answer on this. Tia. @alexunder @solcalgardennut can anyone advise?
[Last edited by RizzoR - Apr 8, 2021 5:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Apr 8, 2021 10:17 PM CST

Moderator

Once they start growing in the spring I'd water when the soil is dry an inch or so down. We're super dry here late spring all the way through summer so I end up putting down a couple of gallons twice a week via drip lines for each peony and that only wets the soil out 10" or so from the emitter on all sides. Make sure you don't let them dry out too much after blooming either—late summer and into fall is when the eyes form for next year and you don't want to set that back.
LizB
Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Apr 9, 2021 5:02 AM CST
@lizinelizabeth thank you. I did not know that about the eyes forming so I appreciate the response.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
Region: Canadian Seller of Garden Stuff Peonies Hybridizer Irises Daylilies
Plant and/or Seed Trader
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Vals_Garden
Apr 11, 2021 11:52 AM CST
Ruthanna - sorry I didn't see your question - I've been in the garden for three weeks Rolling on the floor laughing Seriously, the weather has been so spectacular here I just can't stay out of it! As for your peony in the pot, if it doesn't have foliage then it doesn't have the capacity to use the (extra) moisture. Providing the "soil" (is it peat moss?) is not powdery dry it's OK but if it is peat moss you will have to use quite warm water to re-hydrate it so I would advise keeping it damp.
Name: Ruthanna Rizzo
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
RizzoR
Apr 12, 2021 5:29 AM CST
Vals_Garden said:Ruthanna - sorry I didn't see your question - I've been in the garden for three weeks Rolling on the floor laughing Seriously, the weather has been so spectacular here I just can't stay out of it! As for your peony in the pot, if it doesn't have foliage then it doesn't have the capacity to use the (extra) moisture. Providing the "soil" (is it peat moss?) is not powdery dry it's OK but if it is peat moss you will have to use quite warm water to re-hydrate it so I would advise keeping it damp.


Thank you Valerie. It has foliage and is in a mixture of soil and a rocky substance. I've been keeping it damp. I'm just worried about root rot. I think the rocks in the mix help the drain so it should be ok. Thank you.

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