How do I store bare roots?

BombeniMay 15, 2014

Hello Peony People! I love love love peonies. I have four nice bushes I planted five years ago and they are blooming beautifully now.
I came across some packages of bare root Sorbet Peonies the other day and about flipped! I have never seen these tri-color peonies. I am so excited and anxious to get these babies in the ground and wait for the first blooming season.

So here's my problem. I bought them in a local hardware store. Got home and looked on Internet, found out bare roots should be planted in late fall after dormancy begins. So I'm wondering why they'd be for sale now. How can I store these until the fall? They are very dry. Packed in a loose dirt and sawdust or something.

I appreciate any guidance you all can offer.

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You do not indicate your zone, but where ever you are I would pot them up in at least one gallon size containers right away and keep them hydrated until the fall when they can best be added to your garden. For this summer I would keep them out of the full sun. Al

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Al, thanks for the reply. So, do you mean I should plant them in containers with soil? And water them like I would any potted plant? Should I fertilize? I bought a big bag of miracle gro soil which says it feeds up to six months (I have several annuals I'm putting out). Or should I use a cheapie bag of potting dirt with no fertilizer?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 2:07PM
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It is only going to be in the container for a few months. Use what ever you like, but I would not add fertilizer until the plant is growing. Al

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:38PM
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Thank you. One other question. There aren't any eyes, does it matter then which side I plant up?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:02PM
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Yes, please plant right side up. You don't need buds to tell where the growing stem was, or where the roots are, look more closely. Al

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 9:45AM
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They are probably left over from last fall so that is why they are so dry. So, putting them in a pot in the shade with VERY minimal watering should make them happy until you plant them out.

I did the same thing a couple of years ago when I bought bags of 5 peonies each that were marked down to $1 per bag because they were old. I planted them immediately in the soil and some came up but not most that first year. I thought they were dead but for $2 for 10 plants, that was OK. This year they are all up and growing but no buds. All 10 plants look very healthy though. Patience!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Thanks all I'm going to give them my best. Now if someone could cultivate a peony that bloomed all summer they'd deserve a Pulitzer.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 2:12PM
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If they bloomed all summer would anyone ever plant any other flowers???!!! They'd be beyond perfect!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:14PM
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No I am sure peonies would take over. :)

I found a prize today, a hibiscus that survives cold winters. My grandma gave me one decades ago from her garden, I later moved and failed to dig it up and take it with me. Haven't seen one for sale before today. All they have are those tropical kind. I planted it as soon as I got home. Can hardly wait to watch it grow up. Bye and thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:42PM
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