Q: I have a twenty-year-old bed of peonies. I’m going to be moving in February. Any suggestions? If I can’t plant immediately in my new location, will peonies survive and bloom in a large pot?
A: If your peonies will be put back in the ground soon after you move, you can keep them in just about anything. I’ve kept daylilies in a cardboard box lined with a garbage bag for several months. They will grow and bloom fine in large pots. I would not attempt it in anything smaller than eighteen inch diameter pots though.
If you won’t have time to plant them quickly in their permanent spot, choose an out-of-the-way place, dig a trench sixteen inches wide, six inches deep, and long enough to accommodate all of your peonies side by side. Cover the roots with good quality planting soil, water them in, and give yourself time to prepare their new beds. They can stay in this trench for months, even until fall. Aside from watering, they will need little care. Before you dig your peonies at your present home, invest in a spading fork. With this tool there is much less likelihood of accidentally chopping roots.