Best time for planting Itoh peony bare roots


I’d like to purchase few Itoh peony bare roots as a gift. Id appreciate your advice on the best time to plant these roots in the garden (not in pots). The garden where these roots will be planted is located in Toronto at Avenue and Bloor area.

I would also like to know if the following Itoh varieties will do well in Toronto and should be planted in the spring:

‘Bartzella’, ‘Canary Brilliant’, ‘Cora Louise’ and Pink Ardour’

I searched your Gardening Guides as well as tried to find answers on Google and unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the spring months recommended for planting the Itoh peony roots.

Some websites recommend for Toronto hardiness zone the month of April while other websites recommend the month of May. Moreover, some nurseries ship Itoh roots orders late April early May while others ship them early April. Needless to say, after all my research, I’m more confused than when I started.
Thank you in advance for your valuable advice (as always!)


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about Itoh peonies, a recent horticultural innovation which has captivated the gardening world.  All the beauty of prolific peony flowers with the sturdy stems due to being hybrids of herbaceous & tree peonies.

Itoh peonies are perennial plants.  They are sterile, so they are propagated by planting divided bareroots.  Roots should have least 2 to 3 “eyes,” the nubby growing points that are potential flower stems.  These eyes can be white, red or pink.

It’s best to plant Itoh peony roots in the fall so they can establish their root systems before winter arrives.  As well, the cool, moist fall environment promotes root growth without the stress of hot summer temperatures.  Nonetheless, with proper care, the plants will thrive if planted in the spring.

Reputable suppliers will ship Itoh peonies based on the plant hardiness zone of the purchaser. For spring planting, shipping is typically in April – May.  I would trust the supplier’s timing but if you are in any doubt, give the supplier a call to clarify the timing of planting.

Plant the Itoh peony roots as soon as received, carefully following the planting and ongoing care instructions.  It is important to plant the roots at the right depth with the roots pointing downwards and the “eyes” 1 to 2 inches below soil level.

The Itoh peony cultivars you mentioned are rated for plant hardiness zones 3-9 in Canada. They should all grow in downtown Toronto which is zone 6a to 7a depending on local conditions.

I hope the recipient of this thoughtful gift will enjoy its flowers for years to come.