Peonies forum: Planting peonies in the spring?

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Feb 7, 2018 11:22 AM CST
I have always planted my peonies in the fall.

I see some sites have them available for spring planting.

Anyone have experience planting peonies in the spring?

Pros and cons?
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Feb 7, 2018 11:40 AM CST
My experience, which includes only herbaceous peonies, is that spring planting has resulted in delayed development that seems to linger for several years. Peonies planted in the fall have always done much better for me. However, I know it is hard to wait when the catalogs and websites are showing such gorgeous blooms, and your are not sure that the particular cultivars available now will also be available in the fall.
Carol H. Sandt

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.'' -- Allen Saunders
[Last edited by csandt - Feb 7, 2018 4:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Feb 7, 2018 1:24 PM CST
I order from Gilbert Wild pretty much every spring, have never seen a difference in how they grow. Also planted a few itohs last spring that were sorta potted (mailed not quite bareroot from that PA nursery that a few of us got those Plantek ones from) and they did fine, just like transplanting any other perennial. Is it my preferred time to plant? No, they will need more water and care than those last planted in fall, but I won't pass up a root that I really want because it's available in spring rather than fall.
LizB
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Feb 7, 2018 4:11 PM CST
Before I planted peonies only in spring. They were potted peonies in a local nursery where they received roots in March and sold growing plants in May. The peonies have been very slow in developing but it could be due to the quality of roots. Once I ordered roots from ponynursery in spring and the roots were bad. Eventually half of the peonies did not survive. And I heard they could be mis-ID so I don't know what kind of blooms I will get Hilarious!

I learned from a lecture on growing peonies here that if you plant in spring you don't count the current year as a growing year for the peonies, the first year will be the next one.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Feb 7, 2018 8:53 PM CST
That sounds right, Anya. If you do plant in the spring they'll require more TLC that spring/summer than those planted the prior fall. I've had a couple from GW bloom same spring as planted but most have a pretty poor showing that first season.
LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Feb 9, 2018 7:17 PM CST
I don't see any problems with planting potted peonies in the spring. Spring planting is not ideal for bareroots. In my experience, it takes longer for the peonies to bloom. But if you can get the roots and plant them early like March and April before it gets too hot, then it may not be too bad.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Feb 9, 2018 8:34 PM CST
As for bareroots the only ones I've had much success with in the spring were those from Gilbert Wild. Tried some Itohs from Vermont Wildflower Farm one spring, not a single one survived--no clue if it was me or the roots to blame. I certainly agree that it doesn't give any sort of headstart, they're typically on par with those planted the following fall from what I can tell, and they suffer much more than fall planted roots in the dry summer here. I've actually lost a few planted in the spring because I didn't get them on the drip lines and they dried up during that first summer, a root planted the previous fall probably would've been fine.
I'll probably always plant a peony or 2 in the spring, just because it's so darned NICE to be able to get out and dig in the ground and plant after the long winter! The peonies from GW are inexpensive and the ones they send in the spring seem to be just as fresh as those sent in the fall.
Did anyone else here do the Cubit's thing several years ago where they ordered from one of the big growers, can't remember which one, in the spring? Those were certainly stored in a cooler over the winter, arrived pretty dry and withered looking. Those took much longer to rebound than the ones from GW typically do. The varieties were not as common and the prices were great, I'd do it again in a heartbeat so don't think I'm complaining, just voicing what I thought about the roots. They were still a great deal for the price so if you get the opportunity go for it.
LizB
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Feb 9, 2018 9:14 PM CST
Liz, I did the Cubit's order in 2011, the roots were from Hollingsworth, but mine came in the fall.

I have planted peonies in the spring, mostly 1 and 3 gallon potted plants with well established roots, and they've done fine, and continued to bloom normally.

The bare roots that I've planted in the spring took a while to establish, especially with our very dry summers. I had to give them special attention, ensuring they were watered.

"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Feb 9, 2018 9:35 PM CST
I went back and found the Cubits offer that I took advantage of, it was in 2015 and in the spring, through Klehm's. I got Cactus Jack and Vanilla Raspberry Swirl for only $7.50 each!!!! Sure would be nice if they organized another, wouldn't it?
LizB
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Feb 9, 2018 9:42 PM CST
Ohhh, yes, I did that one as well! I got both of those, and Rubyette. Only Vanilla Raspberry Swirl has bloomed so far. Both of my Cactus Jacks died, and Rubyette has only grown a small plant, that showed up finally last year, but it's never bloomed.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Feb 9, 2018 10:25 PM CST
Peony farmer here in Interior Alaska always plant bare roots in spring/beginning of summer. That's why I was so scared to plant my first roots in the fall Hilarious! It worked! Our climate is very different from all others so I guess one need a special care for freshly planted bare roots in hot summers in much warmer climates.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Feb 10, 2018 12:40 AM CST
I'm sorry your Cactus Jack didn't make it, it's one of my favorites, Annette. I didn't get Rubyette because I thought I already had it, bloomed last year and it wasn't correct.
Anya, you're right, they do require extra care here when spring planted but certainly doable.
LizB
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Feb 10, 2018 12:14 PM CST
How about buying bare roots in the spring and potting them for a fall plant?
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3b)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Feb 10, 2018 1:05 PM CST
In a hot weather it could be worse than planting in the ground, I guess. Pots get hotter than the ground. Unless you keep them in a cool (shaded?) place.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Feb 10, 2018 1:11 PM CST
I agree that pots are worse than in the ground. Best place to plant peony bareroots in late spring is in full shade. Then you will have to move them to permanent locations in late August or Sept. Come to think of it, the only place that can plant in spring without much issue is probably cold zones like Alaska or Siberia as they do have shorter and cooler summers.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Feb 10, 2018 5:26 PM CST
I have potted bare roots in the spring, and planted them in the fall after 1-2 seasons of being potted. They did better for me than the spring planted bare roots in the ground. They were kept on my back deck that got afternoon sun, and I was better able to control the amount of water that they were given.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Feb 10, 2018 6:04 PM CST
Here is the one bloom from a 2015 spring planted in the ground Vanilla Raspberry Swirl, that finally bloomed in 2017.

Thumb of 2018-02-10/Cem9165/295408

"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017
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fwmosher
Feb 10, 2018 6:48 PM CST
I only plant Peonies, including Japanese Tree Peonies in the Spring. If I do divisions, I do it in the Fall, and I plant those in the Fall. Zone 6a (Can.) As we all know, Peonies have "a mind of their own"! Hmmm. I, however, think the most pressing issue in planting Peonies, as we all know, is the depth under the soil of the crown. Too deep, and it will never bloom! Certainly, err on the shallow planting side. I have three yellow Japanese tree peonies, which are extremely attractive, and other colors. One is about six years old, and in the last year or two, it has grown to a height of three feet, with three side shoots with gorgeous yellow blossoms. Just beautiful! I bought it at wallymart for $19.95. They still sell them up here, as does Costco, the latter source even cheaper and delivered right to your door. Canadian grown by Panamnurseries in British Columbia and Ontario who sell primarily through box stores in Canada and the US. and also to Garden Centers. I'm not pushing boxstores, just trying to spread the news about good price availibility. I give tons of support, too much sometimes, to local Garden Centers and local Growers. It is difficult to find a place in my beds where there are not Peonies! Happy growing!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Feb 10, 2018 7:14 PM CST
Frank from CAN, for some reason the Costco in the US does not sell the tree peonies that you are talking about. I remember last year someone said that they were offered in CAN and I checked for them but found that the offer was not available in the US.

First of all, I would like to clarify about the bareroot peonies planting in the spring. I am assuming that Frank (US) is referring to bareroot peonies purchased from vendors and planted in spring. THese roots are most likely dug in the fall, stored in a cool area, and then shipped in spring for planting. Most of these vendors such as Gilbert Wild will only ship them in late April or early May (at least for my zone). By the time I receive these roots, my peonies in my garden have already grown pips and stems. These roots if planted will not grow any feeder or tuberous roots during the summer eventhough some of them may send up stems and leaves. They won't grow any new roots until late summer or fall when their upper parts begin to go dormant.

In the case of moving a peony plant, I guess you can do it anytime but the earlier you do in their growth cycle, the more disrupted and shocked they will be. I try not to move any peonies in early spring while they are actively growing. The earliest I ever move a peony is right after its blooming.
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
Apr 13, 2018 8:00 AM CST
Costco Canada has the Japanese Tree peony offer again this year. And two collections of older herbaceous peonies.
The tree peonies last year were more like rooted cuttings.
I don't know how they fared over the winter as there is no growth on any peonies here yet.

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