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Dug up peony

JessumJessum Posts: 81
Hi, I was wondering if anyone can help.  A neighbour is having a raised bed removed and the workman dug up a mature peony.  It is in two parts and each bundle of corms is about 12 inches across. They were dug up this morning from very dry soil and had only been exposed to the air for no more than three hours.
I took them home and trimmed off the foliage and spent flower heads that had developed seed pods.  I put them in water in the shade as I don't yet have a planting space for them and the ground is very hard at the  moment.  If I put them in pots, what sort of compost or soil would be best for them?  They are dark red, rubra I think.


  • They're not particularly picky about compost. If you intent to keep them in pots then a John Innes 2 or 3 formula compost would be a good choice to keep them going long term. As they contain loam and sand that helps with nutrition and drainage. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,536
    Don't plant too deeply, top of corm only 2" down.
  • JessumJessum Posts: 81
    Thanks, amancalledgeorge and Buttercupdays.  I know I got the two bits for free but I want to give them the best opportunity to survive.  I don't really have a planting place for them both so a pot is the best bet to give them the opportunity.
    Naturally when the soil is a bit more moist and I clear a space they can be planted.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    It should be fine. I had to do this when my father in law suddenly decided to clear part of his garden in the middle of a heat wave. The peonies are doing great and it's more than 10 years ago!
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,574
    Normal garden soil really. If it is too hard to dig, soak it with several buckets of water.  My planting currently, is soak the soil first. Fork it over, plant, water.  Check again. Water.
  • JessumJessum Posts: 81
    Thanks all, I don't have a spare patch where to get garden soil so I will get some John Innes for the containers.

    Posy, how long did you keep your peonies in containers?  Are they still in them or did you put them in the garden?

    I have included a picture to show how big they are and the little red patch you see on the paving is a dried petal.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I planted mine out in a couple of weeks. I just had to prepare the soil, but I have kept a young peony in a container for more than a year while it grew big enough to hold its own in the garden.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    Rubra is much more robust than most of the 'fancier' types too, so they'll take a bit more abuse  ;)
    They're best in the ground - they outgrow pots very quickly, but they'll be fine for a year or so if you don't have room just now. 
    They look like good hearty specimens, so you'll need decent sized pots for them - probably 12 to 15 inch to accomodate them. 
    A mix of some soil and compost will be fine for them, and not planted too deep, as already said. I keep mine a bit proud when in the ground, as our ground isn't as light and free draining as they would like.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JessumJessum Posts: 81
    Thanks to all who replied.  I bit the bullet and decided to find a space in the garden.  The soil was so hard and dry that the fork almost bounced off it!  I gave each planting space a thorough watering and then planted them a bit proud of the ground.  I have attached pictures, the first one is the one in the square (pic is upside down sorry!), the second is the one from the round bowl.
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