My Fern Leaf Peony 'Early Scout' grew but didn't bloom. We have had so much rain in MA. Could this be the reason? My other peonies bloomed, but lost the flowers within days. I hope I haven't lost the plant. It is three years old. Please advise if you are able. It is now turning brown.
From just a quick search, 'Early Scout' is one of the hybrid crosses we discussed on previous
threads. Single red with foliage similar to a Japanese maple--not a true fernleaf. Same type
of flower and just as pretty. Noted as a very early bloomer. Could be you were hit with a
quick frost or freeze. I had that happen to my last year's transplants. Not familiar with your
weather but mine are beginning to turn brown. That's normal and not a problem. The heavy
rains are always a peony problem if they are in low lying mucky soil. You won't know til
late this fall if it survived. About mid November gently brush the soil off the crown and check
for the eyes, normally reddish colored. Nothing you can do but cross your fingers and hope.
Ticker: It would only take a little more flattery for you to receive a package this fall with the
genuine 50 year old species double fern leaf we spoke of on the other threads. I think I will
have more than I need and you have demonstrated a real interest in keeping them growing.
I will check back with you in the fall.
Ticker & Oldgardenrose, Thanks for all the wonderful information. The Northeast has had strange weather this year-April had 90 degree weather more like June, May-colder more like March, June like Apirl - raining & cold. My peony is three years old and always has been small. My soil is clay (maybe that is a reason for it's size?). I want to thank you for the article I learned so much about my peony. I love the pictures of true fern leaf peonies-they are so different from mine. Now I want one of the true fern leaf peonies. Below is a picture of my peony taken when it wasn't raining Once again thank you for all the great information.
You may have an issue with the placement of the peony. Three year old plants should be much
larger. They must have full sun, well drained soil preferably in a raised bed and free from root
crowding from other plants or shrubs. Very little or no water after they become dormant in late
July or early August, in my area. Yours may be a bit later. About October you may want to
consider moving it.
I got onto the website of Hidden Springs Flower Farm to check on several hybrid and some
species fern leafs and fell in love with your 'Early Scout'. A real knockout. I am now $34.49
poorer. $22.99 + $11.50 for USPS priority mail shipping to arrive between Sept 15 to Oct 15.
oldgardenrose, I will take your advice and move it in the fall to the better conditions you suggested. When I saw 'Early Scout' at a nursery, it called my name and had to come home with me. I think you will enjoy being a little poorer when you see 'Early Scout' blooming in your garden.
Diann, I'm already in dark side because of the lily forum in the last year, I've added about 15 different lilies because of the pictures I've seen posted there. Now I'm trying to figure out where I can put more peonies. It never seems to end, once your addicted.
Once again thanks for all the help!
Dug one of my fernies today and potted it for test purposes. Had one that grew only about
an inch tall but spread kind of flat on the ground. With the pics, you can see these young
plants are delicate and require care in moving to prevent unnecessary damage. This one is
of the group divided last fall. I won't know for certain until it blooms but it is probably one
of the hybrid offsprings. Counted at least 6 new eyes so there is hope it will be healthy.
Dug and potted 'Smouthi' or one of the hybrids with approximately the same leaves. Used
the spoon and water technique and was able to salvage most of the roots. The plant was
too close to another fernie so it needed to be moved. If you must break some of the small
roots, grasp them as close as possible to where they go into the solid soil and pull. Do not
pull on the tuber proper and break them off at the tuber.
Oldgardenrose, Once again, thanks for the great information and how to try and correctly transplant my peony. I have question - can I transplant my peony into a large pot and grow it there? If so, can I leave it out in the New England winters? I am trying to think of how I can provide the best growing conditions for my 'Early Scout'. Due to her size I think she is trying to hang on. I would like to try & jump start her growth again before I move her to anyother more favorable place in my garden. Once again, thanks for all your help and knowledge.
I cannot give definitive advice since this is my first experience with potting a peony. I have
seen potted peonies in garden centers and, in fact, I purchased one and planted it. It was
misnamed, of course, but it took to the soil well and bloomed the next spring. Most peonies
are good to -30 to sometimes -50 so I would think leaving them out in my weather and your's
would not be a problem. According to all I have read, the worst problem is overwatering a
dormant peony. I soaked mine when it was potted and don't expect to water it again til late
fall. Most instructions say "lightly moist but not wet" Good drainage in the pot is most
If a peony can survive -30 with no ill effects, zones 5b/6a should not cause any harm since
the 'frost line', or the depth to which the ground freezes at -30 should be at least 24 inches
or more so the roots would be frozen when it is normally planted.
I would choose a 4 or 5 gallon pot, drill a few holes in the side if it is plastic and go for it.
Remember, the peony must have several weeks of cold temperatures--some say 400 hours
of +40 or lower in order to grow and bloom properly. Storing it in a heated area would be
self-defeating. Keeping the potted soil dry is more important than keeping it from freezing.
Others in your area may be able to give you further guidance so take all I have said with a
grain of salt.
Oldgardenrose, once again thanks for all your help. I went out today and purchased a big pot. I'll make sure I drill the holes and follow your instructions. I hope the peony makes it. I know your help has given it a chance. Once again thank you so much.
Oldgardenrose, I had to let you know that my fern leaf "Early Scout? peony made it through the winter & now is growing in the large pot. I wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me. I wintered it in a large pot near the house outside & it is healthier then it was last year. I will send you pictures if it blooms next year. Thanks again
PS. I hope your peony 'Early Scout' is healthy and going to bloom.
Pic of my 'Early Scout' April 15. I have begun planting all new peonies or transplants in 8 inch raised beds filled with rich, loose and drainable soil. I would recommend you wait until the tops die on your's then find a permanent spot, or make one, in as nearly full sun as possible and move it out of the pot unless it is a huge size. I don't think peonies like to be cramped in a pot.