Friday, November 13, 2009

What is the best way to store peonies after being dug up?

We have a row of peonies across the front of our house. In a few days, we will be digging a 6 foot trench by the house and need to remove the peonies for about 3 or 4 days. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to keep these plants alive before being replanted? We have burlap sacks but would appreciate any advice given. Thank you : )

What is the best way to store peonies after being dug up?
The link below has several answers to a very similar question (need to move peonies and can't wait until fall). Read it for more details, but in summary:

Water thoroughly first. Dig a REALLY big ball around the roots of the peonies. Wrap them in burlap or put them in large plastic pots and keep them wet. Protect them from the sun. When you replant them, water them thoroughly and consistently for the first week or so. Water in the morning so they can dry off before nightfall, and try not to get water on the leaves. Some suggested dividing the root balls at this time, with the idea that it would trigger the growing stage.

If they survive, it's unlikely that they'll bloom for a season or two, so don't get discouraged.
Reply:The best way to transport peonies from one location to another is to dig them up in the autumn and divide the crown. The divisions can them be shipped to your new home and planted. Unfortunately this is not always possible, we cannot always plan when we are going to move house.

It is possible to dig peonies up at any time of the year but the chances of success are slim if this is done during the period when they are actively growing. The worst time of the year to move them is during the months of May and August. If the plants have to be moved at this time try to keep as much of the root ball together as possible, even if this means taking a lot of soil with you. Water the plants regularly after replanting and water every day if the weather is particularly hot.

The best way to move mature plants is to plan your move several months in advance. Peonies grow remarkably well in rectangular plastic baskets, which are widely used in wholesale horticulture. The best ones are made out of black plastic and measure approximately 40 x 60 x 25cm. Both the sides and base are ventilated and they allow the peony to develop a normal root system. These baskets may not be available for sale, but if you ask your local garden centre they may have some that they are willing to sell to you. Herbaceous peonies do not like being grown in pots, but if you have no choice use a loam based compost and the largest pot that you can find. Keep containerised peonies well watered and plant in the autumn when you have moved to your new home. All containerised peonies will need regular watering during the summer.

Further information about growing peonies can be found in 'The Gardener's Guide to Growing Peonies', published Timber Press in the USA.

Best wishes!


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