There was a time when peony roots for planting were only available in the fall, the best time for planting. Today I saw several pink peony plants that are going to be put in the Bridge of Flowers Plant Sale on Saturday. I know I will also see peony plants in local garden centers. No one can resist the thought of having a peony bloom almost as soon as you plant it. June is peony season in my garden.
One advantage to planting a peony plant is that there might not be so much of a problem planting it at the correct level. Herbaceous peonies need to be planted so the top of the root where the new little shoots will emerge and only be about an inch or so below the surface of the soil. When people complain that their peonies never bloom, it is usually because they are planted too deeply. Replanting them usually solves the problem.
There is another type of peony, the tree peony which does not die down to the ground in the fall. It is almost like a small shrub. Although it looks delicate and fragile it is actually a very hardy plant, blooming much earlier in the season. This is a Chinese variety, but there are Japanese varieties as well.
Tree peonies should be planted so that the root is three or four inches below the surface of the soil. The deeper planting helps prevent winterkill. Late May is tree peony season in my garden.
What both types of peony have in common is their longevity. They need little care, are not prone to disease and will endure decade after decade.