how to plant peonies in the fall (for bare-root peonies)
- In a sunny, well-drained place, dig a hole at least 18” across and 18” deep.
Although the peony may take several years to reach its full size, allow it nine
to sixteen square feet above ground to grow into.
- With compost, well rotted manure, or good, all-purpose fertilizer, enrich the soil you have removed and use it to backfill the hole. Addition of bone meal will encourage root growth. Beware, though: bone meal can also encourage scavenging animals to dig up your garden.
- For herbaceous peonies, plant the crown no more than two inches below the surface of the
soil. For tree peonies, plant the crown at least four inches deep. Stem buds can be planted below the surface and will become shoots the following spring.
- Water the soil well to remove air pockets.
- If the soil is dry, water the peony regularly for the next couple of weeks, but do not overwater.
- Mulch well the first winter. Evergreen branches laid over the site
after the ground freezes work well. It is especially important to protect the
stems of tree peonies during the first winter. Do not remove the mulch until warm weather has returned to stay the next spring.
- In the spring, sprinkle a circle of compost or good, all-purpose
fertilizer on the ground around your peony.
Do not place it near the stems of the plant.
Note: Tree-peony leaves emerge directly from the stem
and from the soil at the base of the stem in the spring.
Until a tree peony is acclimated to your site, it may “wake up” slowly. Be patient, and protect it until danger of frost is past. Once foliage
appears, it will develop quickly.