please help! baby peony questions

No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)March 21, 2014

Good morning!

So I recently purchased a tiny baby Majorcan peony that arrived in a 4 inch pot. After letting it slowly adjusting to some sun I planted it in the ground. My reasoning at the time was that anything I grow in pots besides my plumerias just died! So this might have a better chance of surviving if planted in the ground. But the poor thing is sooo tiny, about 3-4 inches from the soil line. It's in an area w/ full sun but for now I have a taller plumeria sheltering it so it only get filtered sun. Also I wasn't sure if I was supposed to press the soil down because after a week some of the compost/soil has washed away and now part of the roots are showing? Should I bury the thing more?

I have really awful clay soil so I dug up a small hole and added 50% compost before I planted it. Of course now I'm second guessing myself. Maybe I should have dug a bigger and deeper hole? Maybe I should have planted it in a 5 gal for the first few years? Then I read that Peonies don't like to be disturbed so I'm all freaked out that I will kill it if I leave it in the ground and I will kill it if I pull it out and put it in a pot!

So what should I do now? Leave it in the ground or repot it in a 5 Gal??? If so what soil should I use? Also can I fertilize it yet or no? I'm losing sleep over this stinker! Sigh...

Thank you so much!!


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Since it is already planted, leave it there for this year. Protect it best you can. If it grows well you can move it for next year to a better location. You will probably find you will need to adjust for planting depth anyway. Here in warm winter California many peony fail to bloom because of not enough winter chilling, usually because of being too deep in the ground. Al

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:04PM
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This one probably will never get taller than about 14 inches. I am assuming you found it at Annie's Annuals. I too purchased it for testing. It is a specie plant and should be a pink single although the shade of pink differs between plants. Enjoy you new plant. Do not plant deeply as although it is a Mediterranean peony it still needs chilling but not heavy freezes.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Hey No Clue are you the same No Clue from the plumeria forum here? My 2 addictions plumeria & peonies. My climate is better suited for the peonies.
Wait until peony has lost all foliage in fall to move it.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:02AM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Thank you Al! I'm leaving it a lone for now. But here is how much the roots are sticking up. Should I add a little more soil or no?

Is this not the tiniest thing you have ever seen? It's only about 3 inches tall and maybe 4 inches wide. So fragile!

Maifleur - I did buy it from Annie's. This is my first Peony so I don't know what the heck I'm doing! How is yours doing? Did you leave it in the pot or planted in the ground??

Kathy89 - Hi there!! Yep it's me. Gosh I feel like I'm cheating on my plumerias! LOL. I'm new to Peonies, but I also visit the Fragrant Forum as well. I love exotic flowers with a nice fragrance! But my climate is best suited for Plumerias that's why I'm having a hard time finding and trying to see what Peonies will grow here. Unfortunately, like Plumerias these Itohs are just as pricey if not more! I sure hope I don't kill them all.

How are your plumerias doing?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Put some more soil around it up to the base of the plant. I would carefully dig it up and plant it deeper.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:05PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)


WHERE is the base?? Do I cover all the way up to where brown part ends and the red part begins?

Oh dear... how do I carefully do this?? I'm going to kill it aren't i? Can't I just cover it w/ more dirt and not dig?? I'm so scared to kill my first Peony!

I can't even tell if it's growing or not either. From now on I will only buy fully grown plants! Baby plants scare me.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:15PM
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The red stems should be above ground, the rest below. I use a pitchfork and loosen the soil at the same level as the leaf growth out from the plant. Then, bring the plant up out of the soil. Dig the hole deeper and replant to the level of the red stems. Peonies are difficult to kill if they are thriving in the spot you planted it. And it looks like it is.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Another option is to pile soil onto the exposed root up to where Gray said, like having the peony grown on a mound. I do not believe that you have to dig it up and replant it. In fact, having the peony grown on a mound is better because this reduces the possibility of the plant sitting in water during wet periods.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Go ahead and dig up and replant. If you look at the picture there is a white spot at the bottom of the stem. That white spot should be just below the soil surface. The soil will settle and it should be fine.

I received mine Saturday and we had snow and cold since then so not planted. I do have one that I purchased about 10 years ago but planted too deep. I started to dig last fall and discovered the roots had spread sideways over a foot. Was very dry and as I was scraping the dirt away I decided to leave until later. Has never bloomed but is very healthy. My friends thought it would die the first year. It could be that by planting that deep nutrient's went to root growth rather than flowers.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Brought plumeria up from basement a few weeks ago. They are in window with southern exposure on heat pads. Waking up from winter, leaves are starting.
The peonies that started peaking through soil are under 2" of snow this morning. Ugh come on Spring!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 6:57AM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Sounds great Kathy!! I can't wait to see all of your Peonies blooming! I think it will a while yet before I see this tiny baby bloom.

I did the mound thing and hid the roots a little better. She looks about the same but at least not dead. Hard to see if she's growing though b/c she's so tiny! LOL I'm just happy she's still hanging in there with me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:27PM
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