Peonies forum: Peony plants vs roots

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Mar 8, 2015 3:22 PM CST
Most vendors sell peony roots for Fall planting. I have purchased most of my peonies bare root. The size of the roots vary per vendor.

Most of the peony vendors (that I have done business with) have not updated their catalogs for the 2015 season... Makes sense, shipping is over 6 months away.

However, some are now selling potted plants that you can plant anytime.

And, some of the potted plants are tissue culture. For example, I purchased 'First Arrival' 3 years ago and it has yet to produce a bloom. Plant looks 24 inch good, just no blooms.

Pot vs root! Any opinions? Any first hand experiences? Any advice?

As a side note, on the deals thread, Longfield Gardens has 20% off of their peony bulbs. Interesting that any peony vendor would sell peony BULBS Rolling on the floor laughing

I am glad Winter is almost over...




springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 8, 2015 3:38 PM CST
I have only bought one potted peony and that was 2 yrs ago and it is smaller than it was when I planted it, no bloom yet. But that is only 1, so not much experience there.
I have purchased the bare roots through mail order from Homestead Farms Nursery and was VERY pleased. They were bigger than what I expected and they bloomed that next spring, even though the blooms were little and not 8" off the ground lol They did awesome the next year and I was really impressed with them.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Mar 8, 2015 4:26 PM CST
You brought up a very interesting point, Frank. I think that you are right in your observation about the tissue culture plants and the divisions of a peony plant. I bought a bareroot of Cora Louise at Lowe's in 2013 and planted it that spring. I am sure this bareroot plant is from tissue culture as I did not see any division marks. It looked like a whole root from a small plant. Also the company that sells it to Lowes is involved with growing plants from tissue culture. The plant grew really well that summer with 4 stems. I thought for sure that I would get flowers in 2014. Spring 2014 came and this time there were 10 stems! As they grew, there were no flower buds formed. Otherwise the bush was extremely healthy. Anyway, I hope that I will get at least a flower this year. I will watch this plant to see what happens.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Mar 8, 2015 6:24 PM CST
I have pretty much always gotten bare root. A little spendy to send pots up here, and pay for shipping dirt also. Thumbs down

I have gotten various sized roots and even a clump or three from Reath's in Michigan. His plants are spendy, but generally bloom well the next spring,. Adelman's also has been good. I think the only ones that didn't do well were 'operator error.' Planted in the wrong spots, moved too often in search of the right spot, etc. I got Cora Louise from Adelman's and the first year it was puny - no flowers, but each year it has gotten bigger and bigger with many blooms. Julia Rose was almost 60" tall before a really wet cold spring set it (and several others) back badly. I now remember that I bought two in pots from Lowe's last year. One did very well and bloomed well the first year; the other was slow but finally put out two blooms. I just don't know. Seems that it's a bit of a crap shoot as to what will do well immediately and what needs time. I waited three summers for Bride's Dream to finally bloom.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 8, 2015 9:33 PM CST
well if it matters the one I bought potted was from Lowes. I have always had good luck w their plants. But I don't think I will buy peonies anymore there. I just slipped it out of the pot and planted it, did not shake the dirt off and investigate details.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
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Cem9165
Mar 9, 2015 5:46 AM CST
I have many potted peony plants that I have planted here. Gardenia came from Home Depot, and it's has bloomed every years since I planted it.

Wladislawa, Sorbet and Immaculee came from Lowes, and they have also increased in size and bloomed every year. Rosabel, that was planted 2 years ago, has not yet bloomed, but puts up stem.

My favorite local nursery for potted peonies is Pikes. I have Itohs Yumi, Misaka, and Keiko that came in 3 gallon pots (talk about instant gratification with the blooms) and they have bloomed and increased in size every year. Takara has not yet bloomed.

Also from Pikes were Blaze, Bowl of Cream, Buckeye Belle, Do Tell, Festiva Maxima, Lady Orchid, Sea Shell, Kansas, Karl Rosenfeld, Inspecteur Lavergne, Nancy Nora, Pink Parfait, Jan Van Leeuwen, and Scarlet Ohara. Most of these plants have bloomed since they were planted.


I also like getting tubers from the various mail order vendors, and a few of them will bloom the first year after they have been planted. Tubers bought locally tend to be puny, so I pot them up, baby them, and may keep them in pots for 6 months to a year before planting them in the ground.

I don't plant the potted plants in the ground until in the fall, when the ground starts to cool down.
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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 9, 2015 6:14 AM CST
I only started buying some named Peonies a couple of years ago, with an order from Klehm's, Flame, Coral Charm, and Do Tell, and the same year picked up potted Bartzella and Pink Hawaiian Coral from 2 different Lowe's stores. Of the 3 bare root plants, only Flame bloomed the first year, and was a bit stunted. Both potted plants bloomed nicely, PHC was short, but the bloom quality was good, and Bartzella reached full height with 2 well formed blooms.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Mar 9, 2015 12:09 PM CST
Looking at my records, I ordered 'First Arrival" from Park seeds in 2009 for $40.

In 2011 my first bloom turned out to be Bartzilla, not First Arrival. Great plant btw!

Park replaced the plant with a 2nd try 'First Arrival' in 2011. I noted that the plant was then selling for $20.

So, 3 growing seasons without a bloom.

Both of these plants were the tiny pot tissue culture specimens. One is producing great flowers!

The suspense is killing me! Will the other bloom this year?
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Mar 9, 2015 12:29 PM CST
I can't remember all the details but I have read where tissure cultured plants can be unpredictable much more than division plants. They just do not have that natural environment which normal plants would have.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Mar 10, 2015 6:46 AM CST
It took my tissue culture plants longer to mature and give me blooms. Last year I also bought Lollipop peony from Michigan Bulb. Their plant was definitely tissue culture too. I wonder if I will get a flower from that plant this year. I doubt it but I will have to see.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias Roses
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Cem9165
Mar 10, 2015 6:53 AM CST
How can you tell if you have a tissue cultured plant? I had not heard of this until recently.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Mar 10, 2015 7:35 AM CST
The label should say, but they don't always.
I think that they sell these too early---they should grow them out for another year before selling them.
A two year old plant from a divided root is not the same as a two year old plant from tissue culture.
I like the idea of keeping potted plants until fall, and then planting them into the ground. They then have the cool temperatures of Fall and early Spring to form the feeder roots.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 10, 2015 8:15 AM CST
I've never purchased a tissue cultured Peony, but other tissue cultured plants I've gotten were in tiny pots like Frank mentioned. They will typically be potted, as they're not big enough to have much stored energy in the roots yet- almost like a little seedling. The first time I received a tissue cultured Elephant Ear, I was so disappointed- it was hard to believe that tiny thing in a 2" pot would ever be the gigantic plant I was hoping for. But tropicals often mature quickly once growing conditions are right, and it did get big. Peonies already require some patience, so its surprising to me that vendors are selling them that way.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Mar 10, 2015 8:16 AM CST
So perhaps I should just pot up the new peony I just received in a semi-permanent pot, and do the same with the small roots I put in one 3 gallon bucket last fall? Then plant them out this fall? Makes sense I guess. Either way they will be in pots til the ground thaws and truthfully I have no idea where I can put them for now anyway. They are all herbaceous. My understanding is that tree peonies have smaller root systems and do better in pots than the herbys. Over longer hauls.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Mar 10, 2015 5:52 PM CST
Mary, I also read that tree peonies do better in pots than herbaceous peonies. Evidently, the herbaceous peonies roots can get tangled and choke the plant to decline or death.

Here is a pic of the Lollipop itoh peony that I got from Michigan Bulb. Look at the small root system, perhaps grown in a 2.5 inch pot. Like Neal said, it is like a young seedling which probably requires a few years to mature enough to produce flowers.



Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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LizinElizabeth
Mar 10, 2015 8:23 PM CST
My first experience with tissue culture peonies was 7 years ago from Peonies Plus. I had no clue what I was ordering and was aghast when I saw the tiny roots. Also made the mistake of getting them in the spring and didn't baby them along, half didn't survive the transplant. It took 4 years or so for the first blooms, just divided the 3 that made it last fall for the first time, just split them in half to make a trade for a couple of Itohs that I didn't have yet. Can tell you from that experience that those tissue culture roots do eventually grow into the woody monstrosity that you see with any other Itoh division!
Ordered what was clearly marked on their site as bareroot divisions from Peonies Plus last fall, those were pretty massive roots. Definitely pays to actually read the info provided about the roots offered!
Liz
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Mar 13, 2015 11:20 AM CST
Here's something new, at least for me. Usually G.H.Wild does not list peonies on their web site until later in the year, because they usually ship peonies in the fall.

Currently they have many peonies listed on line, so I called to ask if these were potted and would ship in the spring.

to my surprise, they said they dug these roots last fall and they have been in their coolers. And, would be shipping these "cooler" roots in the spring. They explained that you can only dig peonies in the fall, but you can plant them anytime...

anyone planted roots in the spring? results?
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
Mar 13, 2015 12:18 PM CST
Hi Frank, I order from G.H. Wild every spring. Normally the spring offerings are different from the prior fall and those same ones aren't offered the following fall, guess they dig some that they don't have enough of for the fall offering or something. The quality of the roots isn't noticeably different between spring and fall offerings. They send them late enough so our ground isn't frozen here in CO and I've actually had a few put out a single bloom same spring. Different varieties react differently though--I've had a few barely put out new growth the same spring and die back earlier than normal. Most put up slightly less growth than those planted the prior fall, catch up by the following spring. So I'd say if they have some you're interested in go for it!
Liz
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs Region: Georgia
Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias Roses
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Cem9165
Mar 14, 2015 6:09 PM CST
Frank, I've also ordered from GH Wild in the fall and the spring. I find I have to keep an eye on the spring planted peonies, to make sure they don't get too dry, before they have a chance to develop some roots. They have all done fine.

Here are is Vanilla Raspberry Swirl, a recent purchase from a co-op where the plants were dug last fall and kept in a cooler, that I planted this week. It already seems to be increasing in size. Our weather has been cool and rainy.



"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

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