Upside-down peony

kitsvalla(8)April 4, 2014

I planted a peony division last November and just realized that those are tubers that I left above ground...oops. (and yes, I also now know that all should have been below ground to begin with. Sigh) I assume the plant is not completely upside down since I do have at least one sprout. I am wondering now whether to leave it alone for the season, break off the tubers that are above ground, or ignore the new growth and dig it up/replant. I don't mind losing the season, just what would be best for the plant in the long term. It's from a 100+ year old peony planted by my partner's great grandmother so rather sentimental. Thanks for any advice for fixing my stupid mistake.

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Wow! Are the tubers mushy? If not, I think I'd dig it up and try to replant it. You could probably position the new growth so that it is parallel to the ground and it might straighten itself out but you're certainly going to lose a lot of root if they're left exposed. I'd be concerned that any other eyes are going to be too deep to ever come up, too. I think that'd give it the best chance of surviving, hopefully some more experienced peony growers will chime in with more advice. Hope it works out well for you, especially since it's a sentimental plant.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:14PM
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I agree with Liz. You should replant it. You can cut off the two inch sprout so that it is easier to replant. Don't worry about this because the eyes will generate new growth.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Liz and Kousa, thanks for your advice! The tubers are not mushy at all so I'll go ahead and replant today.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:00AM
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I dug up the peony and found it oriented as shown in the first photo below. (The drier parts of the tubers that were left out of the ground show up lighter). I flipped it 90 degrees so that the side showing in the photo was planted facing down. The second photo below shows the top view (sort of) of how it was oriented for planting. If it looks like I still have it wrong, please let me know! Thanks. (Actually, I'm not sure how to post two photos in one message so I'll post in a following message.)

Original orientation.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:47PM
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This is how I oriented for replanting (though tilted down about more on right side). There were about four sprouts trying to grow sidewise. Tubers completely underground now. Hope I didn't make another dumb mistake.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:32AM
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It is perfectly fine to plant peonies on their side. Basically what you want to strive for is to have as many eyes near the surface as possible and as much roots in the soil regardless of orientation (except upside down). So it can be on its side or on a slope. Sometimes there maybe a piece of root sticking up near the surface or out of the soil. You can leave it there or just cut off the part that sticks out of the soil. In your original picture, it would appear that you have too many roots sticking our of the ground as it is upside down.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:59AM
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