Peonies in Central Valley?

NewGirlinNorCal(9b)March 27, 2012

I'm trying really hard to be a Good Gardener and plant water-wise plants that provide for my local animals but I made the mistake of finding out that Lowe's has peony nubs (not a technical term) for less than $10 and I'm filled with longing.

But is it irresponsible of me to plant them here in Sacramento? Can they be happy here? Do they contribute anything to the local ecology? And are there native plants that might not be lovely in the same way, but are pleasing to a peony/rose lover?

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Why should you feel guilty for planting something just because it looks beautiful? I grew up during the depression of the 1930s when we only grew what we needed to eat. For most of us today our real problem is we eat too much. We need more beauty in our lives, more than we need more food. Peonies will grow and bloom beautifully in the Sacramento area, just as good as roses. They won't bloom for as long a season as the roses of today, but the deer will not eat them. Al

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 4:49PM
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I have some peonies I have had going for about 8 years now. They are in pots so I can put them in the sun until the heat hits, and then I move them in the shade for the summer. They are very happy (except they need to be repotted, LOL)

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:33PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Carla, eight years in pots, the pots must be VERY tight on the roots. Two years ago I bought one blooming from Costco in a five gallon nursery pot. When I went to plant it, I had to cut the pot off. The roots were such a mess, I could not free them up without doing real damage. I planted as is and waited til the plant died down for the winter before digging it and cutting it up into four divisions. Last year all divisions survived, but sulked with little growth and no blooms. This year two of the four look really good, the others only fair. Here the peonies will take full sun as long as they remain well irrigated just like the roses. Al

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Well, they are plastic pots which are falling apart from sun damage, so getting the pot off won't be a problem LOL
I have been adding a couple of inches of potting soil for nourishment every year, but again, I get 10-20 peonies every year from each of the 6 pots, so they can't be that unhappy. The plan is to buy 3 whole wine barrels for repotting my 3 persimmons, cutting off the top 1/4 to put the peonies in, with the bottom 3/4 for the trees. But I really need to do it within the next couple of weeks, so we will see if this plan gets done.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:10PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I start all my peonies the first year in containers, and rarely the second year, when growth was minimal. I have no other experience with container growing peonies, but can see how they would not take full sun if in a container. Good luck with your experiment in half barrels. Al

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:44AM
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I just bought some peonies from Costco. I live here in Sac in Citrus Heights actually. I was reading that peonies don't like heat and need a hard freeze. These were listed for zone 14, which I am, and from what I have been reading here it sounds as though they will do well. They are still in their nursery pots and blooming. Should I plant them in the ground now? I read somewhere that they don't like to have their roots disturbed until they are dormant.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:46PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Dee it would be better if you can leave them in the pot until the foliage yellows in the fall. Keep the container in mostly shade until then, or you may have a sunburn problem, as it is very difficult to keep a root bound pot sufficiently watered in your hot summer. Al

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:48AM
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