I ordered four bareroot peonies from a mail order catalog and got four bags with what looks like a thick, lumpy, brown stick. No roots at all! How can I tell which end is up? Each "stick" is about 6 inches long.
If you really can't tell, I would plant the "sticks" laying down about two inches deep. Of course this would be in a container kept inside. After a month dig one up and see where the roots are growing. You can repot vertical and put out in the spring. I doubt they would survive through the winter outside with so little stored reserves. Al
If you do not have nice clearly visible eyes on these roots, you should report about it to the mail order company. Peonies are not cheap, I would ask for refund or replacement.
Also, you can post a feedback on this company on Garden Watchdog and the Rate & Review Vendors forum.
Did you buy herbaceous or tree peonies. Tree peonies do look like dried sticks because they are sticks.