Help for my new peonies

Asked November 8, 2018, 9:01 AM EST

Just received several peony plants that I had ordered online. I mistakenly assumed when I ordered them that they would be sent in the spring. Now with these fledgling plants on my doorstep, I am confused as to what to do. If I plant them now, is there enough grow time to allow them to establish roots before the snow flies? Or, is storage a better idea? Thank you for any help you can give me. Natalie Olsen

Macomb County Michigan

1 Response

It is getting a bit late, but I think planting them now is still the best option. Peonies begin growing pretty early in the spring and their new shoots are quite brittle and easily damaged or broken off. So, if you wait, you might not be able to get them planted in the spring early enough before those new shoots start to grow. Also, these hardy perennials need to go through the winter or at least a cold treatment, like being stored in a refrigerator, in order for the rather large buds you should see attached to the plants to sprout next spring and grow into new shoots.

Find a sunny location to plant your peonies. Dig a large enough hole to easily accommodate the roots when you spread them out. Make the hole deep enough so that the buds will be about 1 to 2” below the soil surface when you fill in the hole with the soil you removed. Gently firm the soil over the plants, being careful not to push down too hard and break off the buds. Give each plant a thorough watering to settle the soil around each plant. Then, when the ground freezes, put a few inches of mulch over the top. Shredded leaves or straw would work well