I got some peony roots to plant. I have mostly clay soil in my yard. Can I just dig a hole and fill it with packaged Garden soil (Miracle Grow) and plant the peony roots in it? Any advice?
NO. Even the package states to mix it with soil. So it might help to read the instructions on any product you are unfamiliar with.
You don't state how many roots you have but each should be planted separately at least two but better three feet apart. You want air to circulate around the plants to help eliminate fungus diseases.
I have clay soil and for me planting with only a small amount of compost works best. When I heavily amended the soil the roots seldom extended outside of the amended area. This produced unhappy plants. What I do now is to dig a hole, mix a couple of cups or less of last years tree compost with the removed soil. Before I put the roots into the hole I make ray like cuts in the surrounding soil. These cuts allow for the roots to extend from the hole. As the roots grow they will follow the path of least resistance and not make the hole into a killer soil pot.
Be certain in the final planting that the eyes are no more than two inches below the surface.
If you are making beds for your peonies you still need to incorporate the mix with the soil.
If you have several roots you are going to plant in a bed I would work the soil as a unit, not for individual plants. Because peonies are usually left for years in one location, I like to dig my clay soil down to two feet as your peonies will grow that deep with large root storage appendages resembling sweet potatoes. In my clay soil I will mix up to one third compost with the clay. Every year I add finished compost around each plant, not on top of the plant, once in the spring and again in the fall after the foliage is cut back. This compost is not dug in, just spread on top. I have found that my peonies need to planted four feet apart if they are not to impinge on each other in the next 10 years. Al
The directions I got said to add bone meal to the planting hole. Does the gardening soil your using have that in it? I'm new so I'm asking not telling. I love peonies and have planted a bunch of them in my garden. I'm mixed potting soil and bone meal in with the clay for each spot. And I work the rest of the soil as I weed with the hope of having great soil at the end of three years. I plan to have a ground cover between the plantings with only a ring of rocks marking where each plant is being clear of the ground cover.
tkhooper, Are the directions you have been given based on a test of your soil? My soil is a clay/loam and I have never added anything to it besides vegetative matter in the form of finished compost. The foliage of my peonies covers the ground and leaves no room for ground covers. Any rocks found are removed. Al
I planted the 1st of 5 peonies this weekend.
I dug about 18 inches deep and about 2 feet in diameter. Filled it back with a mix of Miracle Grow Garden Soil for flowers and vegetables, Black Cow Compost and a little bit of the original clay soil. With the recent rains, it was difficult to break down the clay in order to mix it in. I did the best I could. The roots I received had 4-5 big eyes and a few other smaller eyes. I wonder if all of them will produce stems in spring.
I also added a handful of bonemeal into the mix.
Got 4 more to do next weekend.
I read that Sep-Oct are the best times to plant peony roots. I hope I didnt procrastinate too long. I am in NC - zone 7b.
The 5 I have are - Edulus, Jules elie, Festiva maxima, Festiva Supreme and Sarah Bernhardt.