October is the ideal month for planting peonies. We only dig, handle and replant peonies while they enter their natural dormance period: from mid-September through November. This ensures the plant rhythm to stay intact, resulting in maximum vitality. Replanting is ideal in this period; replanted peony plants will send out new feeder roots using the last remaining warmth in the soil. This will ensure the plants to settle on their new location before winter sets in. This will be the basis of a vigorous growth the next spring, and the very highest chance of first year flowering already! We usually ship our plants mid-October. Planting your freshly ordered peonies as soon as they arrive is always recommended.
Peonies should always and only be planted in soil which is well drained, they do not tolerate 'wet feet'. When peonies stand in poorly drained soil, this will cause root-rot and can result in their eventual death. When you suspect your garden could be characterized as 'wet', we would recommend two options for you. First option would be to put in a solid drainage system for your garden. Second would be to plant peonies on elevated soil by creating mounds for better drainage.
Peonies prefer a spot with good air circulation. A too sheltered site can create ideal growing circumstances for fungi like Botrytis in wet springs.
Furthermore, peonies demand a fair amount of sunlight. Sunshine all day long is perfect for most varieties, but partly shade is possible too (preferably afternoon shade). Some varieties, especially with peregrina-blood in their veins even prefer somewhat shade. If peonies are planted in too much shade they will display stretched growth and poor and deformed flowering. Partly for this reason you should never plant peonies too close to large shrubs or trees. But mainly you should never do this to prevent an unfair battle peonies would have to go into then. Especially trees or shrubs with superficial roots will 'steal' the essential moisture and nutrion away from the peonies.
Also never plant peonies on a spot where peonies have been planted before. Peonies discharge certain chemical substances which remain in the soil for at least a decennium. Newly planted peonies in that same soil will perform poorly. The chance of pests and diseases like fungi and nematodes having stayed behind from the last peony habitant is also too large to take. The technical term used is that 'the soil is peony-weary'.
Peonies can grow much bigger than you might expect by the size in their first growing season - reserve 0.75 - 1 square meter (7.5 - 9 square feet) per plant. When planting in groups it is advisable to use a planting distance of 80 cm (2.5 feet). We often make recommendations for people when they plan to plant peony borders in their garden.
We are always happy to advise you about the number of plants for your border, variety choices, planting order of varieties etc. If you are considering planting a beautiful peonyborder, please feel free to contact us for any informal advise. It would be our pleasure helping you.
The planting depth is very important for your peonies. The upper eyes (these are the eyes where the flowerstems will emerge out of), should be just beneath the soil surface. When they are planted any deeper than 5 cm (2 inches) the plant will only produce leaf, at best. Like all plants, peonies want to survive too. When a peony is planted too deep, the plant will attempt to make new growth on its upper side of, in order to create kind of a 'new plant' which will be at the right depth to flower. This process will take years, and usually this is way too long for any plant that has been purchased with high expectations... In the worst case when peonies are planted too deep there would be no visible growth over ground level. Deeper in the soil it often remains too wet for too long, causing crown and root rot with the death of the peony plant as a final result.
1. Dig a hole in the soil which has twice the size of the peony plant you want to put in it;?
2. Do not make the hole too deep (normally between 10-15 cm), and loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole well;
3. Put the plant in the hole. The roots can be placed vertically, but also horizontally; eyes pointing upward(!). Press the plant down gently; the plant should now be at such a depth that the upper eyes end up 2-5 cm (no more than 2 inches) below surface level. This depth equals the thickness of two fingers;
4. Close up the hole again and mark the spot with a stick - this way you will be reminded not to plant any other plants there untill the peonies will emerge in spring.