Peonies forum: Overwinter peony in pots

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Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
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ol434445
Nov 14, 2017 7:45 PM CST
Should I keep them outside in a sheltered place or in a un heated shed
[Last edited by ol434445 - Nov 14, 2017 7:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
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anyagoro
Nov 14, 2017 11:51 PM CST
I cannot advise anything because my experience is so different from all what I read about overwintering peonies in pots. After a big disaster last winter I come back to my original method - no freezing at all, just cold room with temperatures slightly above freezing. Once I see pips which are about to open (sometime in March) I place the peonies in a sunny place indoors. Not ideal since they get confused when I place them outside in May where the temperatures are lower than indoors but at least peonies can survive and even grow.

In much warmer climate like zone 6a people can have very different method.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Nov 15, 2017 7:47 AM CST
My experience is trying to winter peonies in 1.5 gallon size nursery pots. A tarp was used to cover them over winter. But then you are a zone warmer than I. All mine died, except one that struggled in the spring and then never made it. But I only tried once, and if I recall correctly, we had a very cold winter.

My suggestion would be to bury the pot in dirt to its rim if you have a spot you could do that. Otherwise, the unheated garage may be your best bet, or as Anya mentioned above if you have good indoor lighting.

Hope they survive for you!
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
[Last edited by TsFlowers - Nov 15, 2017 7:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
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TsFlowers
Nov 15, 2017 7:54 AM CST
oops, I now see you said 'shed' and not 'garage'. There can be a difference because a garage can be attached to the house which shelters the garage and based on slight heat transference can cause the garage to be warmer than the shed.

I don't have experience with this with peonies, but other plants. I decided to try using my unheated greenhouse to store some potted plants. I thought this would be better. Wrong! What happened in several of those situations is that the plants actually dried out and died. [I just couldn't force myself to go out and monitor them in winter, and carry jugs of water to give them a drink.]

But peonies, if they have enough of a chunk of root (for lack of a better term), then they might survive the winter dried out.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
Photo Contest Winner: 2017
ol434445
Nov 15, 2017 12:57 PM CST
Thank you all ,l will leave them out but cover them
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Nov 15, 2017 3:20 PM CST
I put lily bulbs in boxes with peat or soil and snug them up against the garage footing on the north side of the house. Then I throw a quilt over them, then poly to keep the quilt from getting totally sodden. All the lilies survived and grew last spring. I am a zone 4 micro-climate in Alaska in the middle of a lot of zone 3's. I agree that the best bet if the peony roots are in pots is to bury the pot to the rim. Then the sides are not exposed to freezing weather. 1.5 gal pots aren't really very big. I would use at least 2-3 gallon if you have them.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 17, 2017 4:48 PM CST
Hi Teresa, just wanted to say the iris I got from you this summer took very well! Looking forward to blooms (hopefully Crossing Fingers! ) next spring!
LizB
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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Jasmin
Dec 3, 2017 10:54 AM CST
A couple of times I bought plants on those last sales in November. I completely covered them with a pile of leaves, and they survive till spring. Even better, since I have a cold compost pile made of leaves and kitchen scraps, I just put them there and cover by leaves. The plants survive without any issues.

I might need to do the same with my potted chrysanthemums this year. I don't think I will have enough space in the enclosed porch for all of them. I am thinking of making a shelter in a narrow space between the fence and the house, perhaps with Styrofoam and leaves.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Dec 3, 2017 11:22 AM CST
Not a bad idea. I really need to do something with the two peonies in the garage (in pots in soil). They could survive there but would not get the cold snap they need. So out to the same place by the garage I guess covered with a quilt.
Name: Tiffany Wreathfreshâ„¢
Puget Sound, WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums
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LivingWreaths
Dec 3, 2017 11:49 AM CST
My weather is coastal so a bit warmer than most...
HOWEVER, In coastal weather, temp fluxuates from below freezing, to 50+ n sunny, then torential downpoor then back to below freezing, all within a week! Perennials get VERY CONFUSED!

What I've learned is the importance of keeping them DORMANT until you are certain conditions will be CONSISTANTLY FAVORABLE. .(in the PNW, when the days start to get long enough to trigger plants to start growing again, we often get crazy/sudden COLD snaps-sometimes up thru MAY-that annihiliate perennials that became 'tricked' into thinking they had the 'all clear.')

DORMANCY will be a function of temperature, and more importantly, daylight hours - specifically NIGHT TIME HOURS.
Divide the peonies now and place them in 5+ gallon pots, with divisions close enough together that they help each other with heat, but not too close, as the tubers need room to grow and spread new roots while still potted (Cozy, not crowded).
If you have room in the ground, bury them in the pots. I dont have the room to bury in ground so i huddle them on side of house and surround them with stuff like bricks or plywood, patio furniture..anything to keep a consistant temp. They still get rained/snowed on, which is fine. But once the protective bud scales break open when the days get longer (BREAK DORMANCY-New growth begins), thats when I have to bring them into unheated garage on the cold snap days, or they risk death.
In other words, when daylight hours are long enough to trigger them to grow but you are not sure that the temp will stay consistantly COLD, then put them in the dark to keep them dormant.

If you opt for storing them in an unheated garage / shed, that's not a problem. But you will have to water them infrequently or they will dessicate and die. Remember, the roots are still respirating and need water, just a minimal amount.

Everyone's zone may be different, but we're all trying to 'trick' non-natives into performing in our climate. Hope this is helpful!
[Last edited by LivingWreaths - Dec 3, 2017 11:50 AM (+)]
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Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
Photo Contest Winner: 2017
ol434445
Dec 3, 2017 9:14 PM CST
Thank you Tiffany,
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Dec 4, 2017 10:46 AM CST
Fantastic advice Tiffany. I am holding two pots trying to decide what to do. You reminded me that they still need moisture. Tricky in pots. You lightly water the tops but it never gets to the roots.
Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
Photo Contest Winner: 2017
ol434445
Dec 5, 2017 10:51 AM CST
Covered my pots for the winter
Thumb of 2017-12-05/ol434445/a4e750

Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
Photo Contest Winner: 2017
ol434445
Dec 5, 2017 10:58 AM CST
Peony speed in zip lock bag rolled in newspapers.Grafts in millkjugs hoping for the best .
Thumb of 2017-12-05/ol434445/bcf01d
Thumb of 2017-12-05/ol434445/070dfd

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Dec 5, 2017 12:30 PM CST
Impressive. I am not nearly so meticulous. In a pot in the ground. lol
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
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CarolineScott
Dec 6, 2017 7:22 AM CST
You are doing seeds in zip locks ?
Name: oscar
beamsville Ontario canada (Zone 6a)
Photo Contest Winner: 2017
ol434445
Dec 6, 2017 4:31 PM CST
CarolineScott said:You are doing seeds in zip locks ?


Yes with some potting mix.I roll each bag in newspapers to keep them warm
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
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CarolineScott
Dec 7, 2017 8:28 AM CST
I have a bunch in zip locks too.
I use damp vermiculite with the seeds.
Two seedlings have come along so far.
One is a species : potanini
The other was labelled as May Lilac.
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
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anyagoro
Dec 7, 2017 1:09 PM CST
I am keeping the third batch of seeds in zip locks at +28C in damp perlite right now. Seedlings from the previous 2 batches grow unevenly and I move them between cold room and warmth+light depending on their stage. Most of the seedlings now are in the cold (+4C) and only four with 2-3 leaves are under light indoors. My plan is to plant them outdoors next summer. This is a picture from last mid July.
Thumb of 2017-12-07/anyagoro/b711cf

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Dec 7, 2017 3:53 PM CST
Nice Anya. I will be anxious to see how my little six seedlings from last summer do this spring. Hoping they grow a little more robustly as they only had two leaves on them last summer.

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