Overwintering Peonies

weeder_tooSeptember 17, 2007

Related to kimbelry's question below, I'm helping friends move some plants...from zone 7 to zone 6. Moving mid-October. Reading through the forums, I gather that we should dig up the peonies, with as large a rootball as possible, and pot them for the move.

They would prefer not to re-plant them right away, as garden plans have yet to be done. What's the best way to overwinter the peonies? Bury pots outdoors? Store in basement? Prepare a temporary garden for the moved plants?

Thanks for your help.

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I asked a local nurseryman that question as I wasn't sure I'd get all my planting holes dug in time. He suggested burying the pots; he had done that successfully with peonies in our zone 6/7.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 1:12PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I've had success with planting pots with other types of plants. I would add extra holes to the bottom of the pot for extra drainage. The only time I lost anything I think it was because the holes were tiny.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 1:02AM
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I disagree, I say put those plants into the ground ....and as soon as possible after lifting them.

If there is a problem of retaining the root ball during any move, then wash the soil from the tubers and carefully wrap in newspaper surrounded by damp peat moss after cutting the foliage to the ground.

Its at this time, with the roots visible the plant is best divided.
If the clump is a large one, it would be better to think dividing before re-planting.

At this time...September, cut the stems near ground level and dig the roots carefully with a spading fork. Shake the roots to remove loose soil and then wash off most of the soil. Washing the soil away helps you to locate natural crown cleavage areas so that less of the fleshy roots are lost while dividing the clumps. Each division should have three to five healthy eyes (buds) attached to three or four thick roots.
Of course you are aware, moving peony WILL DEFINITELY cause the plant to not produce bloom the following season.
So prepare yourself to not see bloom next '08 season.
Be careful about their depth of planting to avoid future blooming problems.

If you decide to put the plants into a container and burying it, makes sure, if frost is thought to be in the time interval before planting, that it be not a clay pot.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Hi, Jeannie - so you think it's better to plant directly in the ground even if one's going to have to move the peony again next fall when one decides where the final spot will be?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:14PM
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I agree with Jeannie. There are chemicals in the regular ground soil that are missing when you pot a plant. However you could do what some nurseries do with the trees and shrubs they winter over. Dig, place in a location with the dirt still attached, then cover with a mixture of soil, compost, if available, and some type of insulating material, straw, dirt, leaves etc. Mounding the insulating material over the plants. In the spring remove material leaving layer of mulch to keep the plants from heating too much until you decide to plant. Moving too many times increases the chances of losing your plants.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:15PM
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bigshoes213(7 Sardis, Ms)

I live in an apartment. I have my peony in a pot and it just dies down during the winter then come spring it is as green as ever. I keep it outside the whole time. I live in zone 7. So far I have never had a problem with it. Granted I have heard that peonies are so fickle when moving. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 2:21PM
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I moved a Duchess de Nemours in fall and it bloomed fine the very next year - even the pieces I missed transplanting bloomed! I believe the trick is to ONLY move them in fall, whereas most people transplant things in the spring.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:36AM
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