Articles about Peony roots
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Thursday, April 25, 2019

2019 Peony Experiment - Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces Grow!

I guess you could say this experiment was also a success. All of the Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' root peices that I planted last fall, 2019 Peony Experiment - Planting Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces have all grown (except one). And I must say that this experiment was not totally controlled since it seems that a dog or some other animal dug up several of these roots, and they had to be replanted. One of them was dug up multiple times, even after it was replanted. My guess is the one that didn't grow is probably a root that was dug up multiple times, and that perhaps affected its ability to grow and thrive.

Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Pieces Grow (4/19)

Also the one root that didn't grow was also on the left. According to the original experiment, I planted them in order of least root (on the left) to most root (on the right). The root on the far most left side, which was really just a nub with an eye on it, really had no roots. Actually there was one other nub with eyes on it, just a slight larger nub, that did grow. Basically this experiment seems to confirm the success I had with the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' in a similar previous experiment, 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow (4/25). It seems that intersectional peonies have a great propensity to regenerate.

Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Pieces Grow

Taking some new photos almost a week later, it seems that the bud tips (one of them actually looked like it might bloom!) of the tallest plant have started to dry up and die back a bit. I'm guessing it overgrew it's root capacity. It will probably be just fine next year. All of the other smaller divisions still look green and healthy. The other reason it could be drying up a bit could also be due to the heat we've experienced this week. We didn't get much of a chance to experience weather in the 70s so far this year (they may get skipped). It has been in the 80s for several days now, accelerating our bloom season, and perhaps causing this stress to these new intersectional peony plant divisions. Hopefully the weather will even out soon! A few more slightly cool, slightly warm spring days would be nice before summer!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 Peony Experiment - Planting Little Darlin' Intersectional Root Pieces

Digging and Dividing Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin''

You know me - I'm always up to something. So I decided to go visit my Grandma yesterday since it was raining, and you can't really do anything outside. I had purchased a couple extra 50% off roots in the Adelman Peony Gardens sale, 2018 Adelman Peony Gardens Black Friday Sale 50% Off for her, and I still hadn't remembered to give them to her yet. So it seemed like a good day to do it, but I also wanted to bring her a root from the 'Little Darlin'' Intersectional Peony which has been growing like a weed in my garden. I wanted to split it and bring her a hunk since it is planted right next to my Intersectional Peony 'Sonoma YeDo', and it is kind of encroaching on its space a bit.

Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Root Divisions

So I split a piece of my Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' off with my shovel, but it split into two large chunks. The large chunk on the left with the huge root was one solid division, so I gave that one to my Grandma. The chunk on the right didn't have much root on it, and when I picked it up, it split into 7 pieces (with varying degrees of roots)!! All 7 pieces had nice pink buds on them. This sounded like another experiment in the making, and it reminded me a lot of the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' roots I planted in previous experiment, 2012 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions.

7 Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Small Root/Eye Pieces

So I decided to plant all 7 intersectional peony root pieces in my peony test bed to see how they might grow. I planted them from smallest amount of root (on the left) to largest amount of root (on the right). It was a little muddy and wet outside for planting, but luckily it was only a light rain. We shall see in the spring how many of these roots sprout, and then we shall see how many of them live to see another spring. Last time all of the Intersectional Peony 'Bartzella' roots sprouted, no matter how little (or no) roots the division had, 2013 Peony Experiments - Intersectional Divisions Grow. So I am interested to see how these Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' plants will do (especially since the original plant was growing like a weed).

Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Pieces Replanted

Intersectional Peony 'Little Darlin'' Sign

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018 Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' Arrives from Ebay

Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' Root from Ebay

The 2018 Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' on Ebay that I ordered last week arrived yesterday. The root itself, not just the variety, was luxuriant as well. This root was huge! It was advertised as a 6-7 eye root, but it actually had more like 8-9 eyes on it. It was quite long and quite heavy as well. The root measured over 10 inches, with a stem at the top as well, bringing the total length to over 13 inches. The root itself was quite firm, seemingly freshly dug. I'm hoping this one will establish quickly. It would be nice to get a bloom from this Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' this coming spring 2019, but we'll see. I'm guessing that might depend on what kind of winter and spring warm up we get around here.

Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' Eyes

The root was packed very well in peat, and not one piece of it broke off during shipment. It was shipped via USPS Priority Mail and arrived here within 3 days of shipment. The bright pink eyes on this root are very firm and full. It definitely looks ready to grow. I made it a nice spot in my intersectional peony bed, dug in a bit of organic top soil, a scoop of natural fertilizer and a small scoop of lime. I also mixed in the peat that it was shipped in, to add a bit more organic matter to the soil as well. Let's see what this beauty brings next spring...

Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' Close Up

Intersectional Peony 'Luxuriant' Planted

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2018 Peony Growers Root Size Comparison

I haven't really compared peony vendors since my 2009 Fall Peony Orders article. So it has been almost 10 years! Since I ordered a couple peony roots from so many different vendors this year, I thought it would be nice to do another comparison to see what people are sending out nowadays and how they stack up. Also a couple of caveats here. Different peony cultivars could have larger or smaller roots, so this is just a general guide - although some vendors do routinely sent much larger roots. (HINT: Check the box sizes - they usually correspond to how large or small the peony growers trim their roots.) Also the length of the peony roots is measured, but not the width (which does matter too). Perhaps next time, I will weigh them to see how "much" peony you're actually getting -- too late now since most of these have been planted. I think most people have measured peony roots on the number of eyes they have, but the more root they have to go with it, the better they will grow!

* These peony growers are listed in alphabetical order.

Adelman Peony Gardens

Adelman Peony Gardens - 10.5" Root Size
Size of Root: 10.5 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: large, 12 x 12 x 6 Large Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $12.95
Peonies in Box: 2 (1 APS Auction root shipped free in the same box)

Brooks Gardens

Brooks Gardens - 9" Root Size
Size of Root: 9 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $8.00
Peonies in Box: 2

Fina Gardens

Fina Gardens - 8.5" Root Size
Size of Root: 8.5 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $14.00
Peonies in Box: 2

Hidden Springs Flower Farm

Hidden Springs Flower Farm - 8" Root Size
Size of Root: 8 inches
Packing Material: Wood Chips, Shredded Newspaper
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: small, 10 x 7 x 5 Regional Rate Box A
Shipping Cost: $18.00
Peonies in Box: 3

Hollingsworth Peonies

Hollingsworth Peonies - 11" Root Size
Size of Root: 11 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: medium, 11 x 8 x 6 Medium Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $18.50
Peonies in Box: 2

Solaris Farms

Solaris Farms - 7" Root Size
Size of Root: 7 inches
Packing Material: Peat
Shipping Carrier: USPS Priority Mail (1-3 Days)
Box Size: medium, 11 x 8 x 6 Medium Flat Rate Box
Shipping Cost: $18.00
Peonies in Box: 4

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow - 7" Root Size
Size of Root: 7 inches
Packing Material: Sphagnum Moss
Shipping Carrier: UPS Ground (4-7 Days)
Box Size: small, 8 x 8 x 8
Shipping Cost: $27.25
Peonies in Box: 4

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 Planting Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'

Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Pot
Is There Anything in the Pot?

I was kind of nervous to see if my intersectional 'Scrumdidleyumptious' peonies, that have been sitting it out in pots all summer were still alive after 2018 Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Arrives, and they were planted in April. Their foliage came up nicely and they grew for a time, but the foliage has long since died back. I'm not a great pot Mom, so I didn't remember to water them much. I'm guessing that's why the foliage died back early. Luckily we have had record rain fall this year (not once did my lawn turn brown this summer from lack of water). So now these roots have been sitting in quite wet pots for a couple of months with no foliage, and I was worrying that the roots had rotted away. They've been in part sun/part shade sitting next to my deck all summer. So I decided it was time to check them out to see if there was anything still left in their pots.

Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Checking the First Pot

Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious'
Checking the Second Pot

I was happily surprised to find that not only were they not rotten, but they seemed to be doing okay, maybe even pretty well. It looks like they've started to grow new, baby storage roots as well as some small white feeder roots. They actually seemed decently happy. I guess I got lucky! So I got them planted out right away. One root was larger than the other, but that's pretty much how they came. The larger root had 3 foliage sprouts in the spring, and the smaller one only had one, but they both made it! I'm guessing it might be a couple years before they actually bloom, but I am just happy to have them in my garden. I'm really hoping they are the right variety. Only time will tell! If you happened to buy a root or two from 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95!, please write in to let me know if you get any 'Scrumdidleyumptious' blooms this spring!

Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Root #1

Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Root #2

Sunday, April 8, 2018

2018 Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Arrives

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Potted Up

My intersectional peonies from 2018 Tulip World Offers Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' for $12.95! arrived this past Friday, and I immediately potted them up. The foliage had already been growing in the bag for some time. Whenever I've gotten roots like this and planted them out in their spot in the garden in the past, the foliage seems to burn up in the sun and die. I think they've been in the bag in the dark too long, and started growing in almost no light or completely no light. That's why the foliage growth is so pale. Then when I plant them out in their full sun location, the intensity of the sun's rays are just too much for the immature foliage that has been growing in the dark. So this time I decided to try potting them up and putting them in the shade for a little while, until I'm satisfied that the foliage is growing well and will live. It's kind of like hardening off plants that you've been growing indoors or in a greenhouse that are used to a warmer more even air temperatures. You have to kind of ease them into living outside again.

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' in Bags

I'm hoping by easing these plants into the light, they will have a better chance of survival. I'm just lucky I had a couple of pots and some top soil. Usually I recycle all of my pots right away, and I don't usually have top soil. I had been keeping a few pots on hand in case I wanted to share some plants, and I was using the top soil to try to fix some bare spots in my lawn and improve the soil around some underperforming plants. I kept these intersectional peonies in the shade all day on Friday, and on Saturday we had an entire day of rain. So a nice, cloudy sky to help these immature intersectional peonies to get on their way - growing! I'm just curious to see if they actually have intersectional peony foliage. We'll see... ;-)

Intersectional Peony 'Scrumdidleyumptious' Roots

Saturday, March 24, 2018

2018 How to Lift a Sunken Herbaceous Peony

Sunken Herbaceous Peony

So if you live in the South, and you grow peonies (or try to grow peonies), you probably know that a common problem is peonies not blooming. Why are they not blooming you ask? Most likely because they are planted too deep or do not get enough sun. If your problem is the former (planted too deep), we are going to fix that today! Sometimes even when you plant them at the correct level they sink or get buried over time. It could be that layers of mulch have gotten piled on over the years, creating a peony that is much too far below ground. It could be that there's something going on underground underneath where you peony is planted - animal holes, rotting plant material, or even fire ants! - that have caused the ground to sink underneath your peony. So how can you fix it, and get that peony blooming again?

Lift it up!

Rake Away Mulch from Sunken Peony

The first thing you want to do is to remove the mulch from around your sunken peony. If the problem is too much mulch, you may have quite a bit of mulch to remove. Pull the mulch out in a wide circle around the peony crown to give yourself enough room to dig around your peony without severing any roots (if possible). The bigger/more eyes your peony is, the further away you will need to dig/rake the mulch. After you have removed the majority of the mulch with your rake, use you hands to remove the smaller pieces near the crown, taking care not to damage any buds or small growth on your peony. You don't want to mix the mulch into your soil since the wood will remove nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. Mulch on top is fine (nature's way), but mulch mixed into the soil is not good.

Use Your Hands to Remove
Remaining Mulch from Sunken Peony

Cut Into the Ground in a Wide Circle Around Sunken Peony

After all of the mulch is removed, you'll want to start digging. Remeber, the bigger/more eyes your peony has, the further away you will need to dig. Don't worry if you sever a storage root or two here or there, your peony should still live, but the less roots you sever the better! Make cuts in the soil with your shovel all around the peony in a wide circle. Once you have made enough cuts, you should be able to lift your peony up with your shovel. There is no need to move it or even remove it from the soil totally. You just need to lift it a little, just enough to get a bit of soil under and around it.

Use Shovel to Lift the Rootball of the Peony

Use Top Soil to Fill in Under and Around Lifted Peony

Once you have your peony rootball lifted a little, you'll want to add some soil under and around your peony. Now if you care enough about your peony to go to all the trouble of lifting it up to help it grow and bloom, put some decent soil under and around it. Don't just put some fill dirt from some other spot in your yard. At least go to the local hardware store and get a $1.50 bag of top soil. You can also get some organic compost as well if you want to spring for a little nicer soil, but plain, old top soil works fine too. Keeping the peony's rootball lifted as best you can pour a little top soil all around the crown of the peony. Use your hands to work a little of the soil underneath the peony and under the sides too. Fill it in all the way around. If your peony crown is mounded up slightly that's fine too, as it will likely settle lower again later. Plus peonies grown mounded up slightly will get better chill in the winter (needed for creating flowers).

Keep Peony Lifted with Shovel While You Add Top Soil Around and Underneath Lifted Peony

Tamp Down Top Soil Around Lifted Peony to Remove Air Pockets

Once you have your new soil pushed under and around the lifted peony's root ball as much as possible, tamp the soil down a bit with your hands or even your feet (lightly) to make sure there are no air pockets around your newly lifted peony. While you are working on your peony anyway, now would also be a good time to add a bit of organic fertilizer or slow release fertilizer around your peony rootball. Sprinkle the recommended amount of fertilizer (check your fertilizer bag for details) on top of the new soil and mix it in a little with your hands.

Sprinkle Some Organic/Slow Release Fertilizer Around Peony

After you've finished fertilizing your peony, replace the mulch lightly. If you had too much mulch on your peony in the first place, you will not want to put all of the mulch back on the peony, just put a portion of it back. Find a new home for that remaining mulch. When applying the mulch on your peony take care to not put too much mulch directly on the crown (growing eyes/buds) of the peony. Once your mulch has been replaced, give your peony a good drink of water to help it resettle into its new surroundings. Now just sit back relax and watch that peony grow. You've just treated it to a day a the spa!

Replace Mulch Around Lifted Peony