When will I receive my roots?
For 2021, all roots will be exported from our main location in Hensbroek, in the Netherlands, to Virginia. As soon as the roots arrive, they will be promptly delivered via FedEx to your house, farm, garden center, etc. This will happen around early October, leaving you plenty of time to prepare the area where you would like to plant.
Where should I plant my roots?
Select a sunny, well-drained location for your peonies. They will tolerate some shade; however, they should have at least a half-day of sunshine. The best blooms are usually found on plants growing in full sunlight. Do not plant near large trees or heavy shrubs that will suck up all the nutrients and water. Plants may be spaced from two to four feet apart according to desired effect in the landscape. Some landscaping ideas include borders, group plantings, mass plantings, plant with other shrubs, perennials, bulbs or (gasp!) annuals, to provide color and texture when peonies are done blooming. Who has time for annuals??
Okay, so I prepped my soil, planted my wonderful roots, I should have gorgeous peonies in about 6 months, right?
Well, not so fast, eager beaver…The first spring after planting, a top-quality peony root will make a little plant. It may bloom and it may not. Do not worry if it does not. First year peony blooms rarely give a true picture of the variety. The second year, the number of stems has usually doubled, and the growth is taller. Some varieties can take several years to produce normal flowers. By the third year, you should be off to the races, with enough flowers to keep your house looking cheerful and smelling delightful all spring. Or, if you are a commercial grower, you probably know already to start looking for help to harvest your stems to sell.
When do peonies bloom?
Through the Peony USA website, you can choose very-early through very-late bloomers. Based on where you live, “early” and “late” will depend on your planting zone; however, the peony is a “Spring” flower. In our Virginia location (Zone 7b) peonies can bloom from late April through early June. In Alaska, their ground is still frozen in May, so they would plan to see the early bloomers a solid month or more later.
Let’s talk about these Planting Zones.
Herbaceous peonies do best in USDA zones 2-8. However, if you live in a warmer climate and would like to grow peonies, here are a few suggestions.
- Choose earlier blooming types that blossom before the heat of summer.
- Single and semi double forms also fare better than the double or bomb types.
- Plant the roots no deeper than 2-3 inches below the soil surface, watering only as needed.
- After their spectacular blooming season, the peonies will begin to die back in preparation for a period of needed dormancy.
- Remove and burn any foliage to avoid disease problems.
- Some proven warmer climate varieties include Kansas, Angel Cheek, Coral Sunset, Kelway’s Glorious, and Paul M Wild.
Why are my peonies not blooming??
The most common causes:
-Plants are too young and immature. Let them develop. (Peonies are for the patient and planners)
- Plants are planted too deep. Plant top root eyes at no more than 2-3 inches below soil level.
- Plants have too much competition from surrounding trees and shrubs.
- Plants have too much shade that encourages tall leafy plants and no blooms. Peonies need full sun or at least 6 hours of sun a day.
- Too much nitrogen was applied which encourages foliage not flowers. Phosphorous or potassium will strengthen roots.
- Plants are undernourished. Buds show, but do not develop. Add a little fertilizer or compost to the soil for strength.
- Buds killed by late frost.
- Excessively hot weather. Late, full double varieties often fail from this cause.
- Buds attacked by pests. Spray to prevent this.
- Buds that become water-logged will turn brown and refuse to open.
- Ground is too dry. Water down to the bottom of roots.
- Roots infected with nematodes or fungus. Destroy them!!
Believe it or not…Peonies are surprisingly easy to grow and require truly little maintenance. Really the perfect perennial! Peonies are extremely long-lived plants; they can frequently outlive their gardener! Thorough initial soil preparation will ensure success growing your new peonies.
Remember: the ideal recommended transplant time for peonies is anytime during the fall season when the ground is not frozen. We have also had great luck planting in VA in March if it’s been a relatively warm winter and the ground is not frozen. Peonies MUST have a cold dormancy period every year to bloom again and thrive in the spring.