Help with rotten roots

flowergirl70ksSeptember 21, 2007

I dug up a Miss America today. It has never done anything much since it was planted. The roots were literally hollow. Does anyone know what would cause this. I can't tell if they were eaten or just rotted. Can I plant another one about a ft away and be safe or do I have to completely change the soil? other peonies in the general area do well.

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Miss America is a lactaflora sp. Old lactifloras when dug look like a bunch of trash with buds. If you can find a section with its own roots you can cut that section away, probably with a saw, and replant. Otherwise just replant in another area and hope for the best. This woody trash like material is why it is so hard to divide older plants and get good root material. Lacti's are one of the peonies that really benefit from being divided every three to five years.

Since you are in this area remember the Heartland Peony Society sale at the Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church 9300 Nall, Overland Park KS October 6, 2007. Those of you that are members should have received your bulletin with the list of cultivars for the sale.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 11:42PM
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So if I order a new Miss America, will I in essence be getting more trouble? How did this get to be a Gold Medal selection? How can I tell in the future what to order? My daughter is starting to grow peonies, how do I know I'm not ordering something that may not grow for her. I'm not going to be dividing peonies every 3 to 4 years, as I'm now 74. 2 ft holes are a little much for me.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 8:17AM
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It will grow for her. The older roots look different the plants are long lived but become hollow with age. They don't need dividing but dividing keeps them so they can be divided easier.

Most of the American Peony Society founders and the current active members are growers not everyday gardeners. The current crop of members are selecting more for what looks good in the garden but the older Gold Medal selections were almost all cut flowers for the cut flower market. The really old ones which the lactifloras are part of were other than the ones grown for medicinal reasons grown by wealthy middle class persons at a time that most had a gardener and housekeeping staff. Therefore they were grown for their foliage or for cut flowers in the house(s). Since you are in your seventies think back to the stories you heard as a child. Unless you were working class or poor you had a girl-of- all-work or a neighborhood handy man that did the various chores.

As to ordering, order what you like, most of the new plants are hybrids and do not grow the crusty roots of the others. Many of the growers offer the same plants so when you find a grower that you and your daughter like just ask the grower what would go with what you already have. I do not mind jarring colors next to each other because I decided that that was my taste and I would plant what I want. Yes I have killed many plants but the ones I have I enjoy even more because I truely like something about each plant be it foliage, flower, stems in winter for the tree peonies etc.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 5:55PM
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Maifleur, may I ask if these type peony are affected like other varieties in that if you dig or otherwise move them, they refuse to bloom the following season.

The "lactiflora" peony is, I must admit, a new one for me, I have not been familiar with them. Do they perform well in zone 5 and grow much the same height and about the same time as others. I have reached the age when I don't experiment much any more, I like the tried and true. I just don't like to be disappointed when putting a sized area of garden to use of one type of plant.
I already have seven actively growing peonies which are my pride and joy and I must admit, for the passers-by and my neighbors who are always complimenting me.

I would have to open a new plot if I think to try one of these.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:03AM
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Lactiflora are the old farm type peonies. People started crossing the lactifloras with each other and with several of the species such as the tenifloras and others making a more stable cut flower but in many reducing the scent but increasing the different types of foliage and flower forms. Most of the peonies available now are actually some type of hybrid.

Don Hollingsworth in Maryville, MO has in his catalog and on line several lactifloras. Since you are in Canada many of the older lactifloras are available there that are no longer available in the US. There is a Canadian Peony Society that I will try to post a link.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:06PM
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Maifleur-that is interesting, my Miss America came from Hollingsworths.I e-mailed him to ask why this peony performed this way and received no answer at all. I looked up most of my other peonies to see if they were lactifloras, some were and they have all done well. Miss America did nothing from the beginning. Grew very short and the bloom was always sickly looking.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 7:50PM
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