Spring Planting: this product will be shipped late April through May according to your hardiness zone.
Paeonia lactiflora. The aptly named 'Fantastic' Peony has large, bowl shaped flowers with rose-pink outer petals and a center mass of wispy, pale pink tufts. Blooms are fragrant, perfect for cutting and simply charming. Height 32-36". 2-3 eye root.
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It is very important to plant these dormant perennials as soon as possible after you receive them. If it is necessary to store them for a short time before planting them, open the cartons and any plastic that is around the roots. If the roots appear dry, soak them for a few hours in warm water. Thereafter store in slightly moist peat moss in a cold, but not freezing location until you can plant. They can also be placed in pots of soil if planting will be delayed for more than 2 weeks. Use any packaged, peat-based potting soil and pots with drainage holes.
Soak bare-root perennials in water for a few hours, but not more then a day, before planting. Add organic matter to the area. Find a location where the soil drains well. Peonies prefer soil that provides average moisture but is not waterlogged. Keep in mind that your peonies will live for years, so adding nutrients in the form of compost to the soil at planting time is a good idea.
Plant your peonies where they will receive full sun to very light shade. While peonies will survive in moderate shade they will not bloom as well, and stems will not be as strong as when they are in sunnier sites.
Bareroot plants are easy to handle and settle in quickly. Tuck your peony roots in the ground with the tips of the roots pointing downwards and the "eyes" or growing points 1-2" below soil level. Plant on the deep end of this range in cold zones and on the shallow end of this range in warmer zones. If planted deeper, the roots will grow and produce foliage, but the flower production may be limited. Space plants 2- 3 feet apart to allow for mature size.
After planting, water generously, soaking the soil to settle it around the root. Foliage sprouts will appear in the spring and will be immediately identifiable as they are bright red or pink and look like colorful asparagus shoots. These sprouts will grow and change to green as they lengthen and develop leaves. Flower buds will follow although buds don't always form the first spring.
The first year most roots will produce 2-5 leave shoots and only 1-2 flowers. This is just a taste of wonderful things to come and next year that number will double. The plant will double in size again the third year. By the fourth or fifth year your peony will be full and bushy, with lots of foliage and many flower stems. Water periodically during the growing season if rain does not occur, but keep in mind that weekly deep watering is better than lighter drinks every day or two. About 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate. Feel free to clip blossoms to bring inside. This will not hurt the plants and will provide gorgeous, often fragrant, stems for bouquets.
After blooming has finished for the season clip off any spent flower stems. Your peonies will continue to provide attractive, lush foliage for the remainder of the growing season. As fall arrives and temperatures cool, the leaves will yellow, and then wilt, after the first frost. At this point you may trim off any leaves with the knowledge that next spring will bring fresh growth.