We are a duly registered State of Missouri specialty crop farm, hybridizer and grower of fine peonies that harvest and cut our own peony roots right here in the Midwest. The USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture inspect our fields, plants and roots prior to shipping and certify the plants to meet standards, to be free of disease and pests.
We prepare generous-sized peony divisions, including many rare and novel peonies and mail out the largest roots with as many "eyes" as possible. Peony starts are cut from plants that are 4 years old and would have flowered here in the upcoming year. Therefore, these divisions are programed to flower at your location in the first year. However, if these roots are subjected to adverse conditions during transport, delayed planting or an unfavorable growing environment, it may take a few years to see a flower. The root divisions or “peony starts” are prepared by us to meet the industry standard Grade 1 (3-5 eyes) in general. Some rare and novel peonies may not conform to these industry Grade 1 standards in regards to eye count or size and are clearly identified in our catalog. For helpful references, please visit our online library for additional resources.
PLANTING SITE – Peonies need fertile soil and good moisture to perform well. For instance, an area that would allow for a productive vegetable garden with fertile soil, high organic matter and good drainage, would be suitable for peonies, as well. Full sun supports best growth, but flower durability may be prolonged by light shade and shelter from strong winds, in certain circumstances. Do not allow lawn grass to grow over the root zone of your new peonies, at least not until after the bush matures and becomes large enough to successfully compete with the grass.
PLANTING –Bare root peonies do best when planted at the right time of year. Therefore, fall is the best time to harvest and plant your bare roots for the best results. The peony starts are sent to you ready to plant and should be planted promptly upon receipt. Dig a hole in moist soil, that is deep enough and wide enough to accommodate the root size, so the bottom of the shoot buds (also called "eyes") can be placed two (2) inches under the surface and roots pointed outward/downward. Pack the soil around each root so the division will not settle too deep when watered. Hill up your soil over the plant for the first winter to reduce the chance of frost heaving and prevent standing water. This “hill” will erode away over time or can be removed gently the following spring when your roots start to break dormancy. Mark each plant with a plant stake with the variety name or mechanical support, i.e. peony guard, for identification for your future plant reference. See diagram for further details.
SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR THE SOUTH – Peony growing areas may include certain parts of Alaska and the northern two thirds (2/3) of the continental US. This area consists of USDA Climate Zone 2 through Zone 7. Peonies are not expected to grow in the South (South of I-20). Peonies that may be marginally successful in USDA Climate Zone 8 include the Itoh hybrids and some Lactiflora group peonies. Individual varieties are variable in this respect, so that it should be possible to identify favorably constituted kinds. Contact your local extension service in your area for further details.