Lets Talk Peony..

buckster(z8)May 26, 2006


I know there is a Peony forum but I much rather talk to you guys about em.

Ok first off I'm in zone 8 so I'm not sure I can grow em. I grow lilacs and I do get down to the tens in winter plus I have a cherry orchard which also needs alot of cold. Second I want to use em for cut flowers. So I really want to grow great variety, colorful fragrant.

Ok so tell me what ya know or like about em. Another grower had put in about 20 - 30 of em and they seem like a good hardy, semi drought tolerate plant. For those of you that know me that is one of my big deals. Hardy, fragrant, very drought tolerate hence the lilac, lavender and roses. I love my roses but they have been a royal pain to sell too many thorns and not enough time to strip em etc.

Anyways thanks a ton for the help and if you know of any good web nurery to buy them that would be a help.

Thanks a ton,


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I have about 100 peonies, and find them hard to sell. I live in a low income rural area. I grow without spraying, so the local florists don't want them for fear of ants coming in on them. Even at the local farmers market or at my farm stand, I can't seem to sell the majority of them each season and end up throwing them out. But I love them.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 6:39PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

I love having peonies, especially when you can store them and offer them later than others! I also have them later just because of my elevation and climate - near Mt. Hood.
Floral designers also love the foliage --- i.e. what's available in the fall, after you've harvested the flowers.
I'm finding that brides really like having them.

I cut about 20 tonight and have about 150 stems in the cooler...they're just starting to be in the smore marshmellow stage. I store them in a bit of water in my cooler and take them out a few days before I need them, trim the ends and place in warm water and warm location. Then I have peonies when I want them! A couple of years ago I actually shipped some to a bride in TN - due to this forum!

It does take a bit to figure out the correct stage to cut them for storage. If you let them stay on the bush longer, you also risk them breaking due to wind. Consequently, my peonies always look great, but noone ever gets to see them in bloom! I cut them before they're fully open! But, I don't have to worry about supporting them or staking them this way. I use the foliage myself...it also stores well in a bit of water in the cooler.

I have about 200 and would like to add more, some are slower and haven't yet bloomed and this is their 3rd year in the ground, some have 10-15 stems.

I bet you could sell a bunch of lavendar and peony bouquets, premade in a sleeve! They both dry well too.
Just be aware that it will take a few years, like woodies, to get lots of usable stems.

Hope this helps! Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 1:34AM
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Hey Ann,

Thanks a ton for the info.

I run into the same thing with my roses. Now these are OGR, English, Shrubs, Noisette etc. Not just HT. You really have to know your market before you start and even then it's a gamble.

My problem is I'm a grower. I love plants. I want to grow a ton, but you have to weed water, etc. etc.

Oh well take care,

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 1:40AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Wendy, you say you use your peony foliage in the fall. Can I assume that this means that cutting back the foliage does not harm the plant for the next season? I just got my first peony last year, and this is the first year I have buds. These are very new - and unknown! - to me.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 7:07PM
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Hey Tim,

Thanks for starting this thread. I have just begun to research Peony's. I spoke with Bob Wollam of Wollam Gardens just the other day and he suggested a couple sure things. One was Sarah Berndhardt for big pink and the other was Charlie White for a white one. I mentioned that Lynne B.'s book said the Sarah Berndhardt didn't last very long but he said he can't grow enough of them. Anyway, I'm definately putting in a couple hundred of them next spring. We have some that must be 100 years old that came with the farm, I love the fragrance and colors. I think it does come down to market as well. Like Bob, I live within an hour of a large Metropolitan area and I believe I can find a home for them pretty easily.

I know you mentioned in the Update thread that the Sensation Lilac was a hard sell because of lack of fragrance. Mine seem to have a nice fragrance, it's just not as overwhelming as the other varieties. I sure hope it sells, I've got 300 plants in the ground. If you want a really nice Lilac, try some Beauty of Moscow's. The buds are a pale pink and then burst open to a beautiful, fully double white flower with a very pleasant fragrance. It's my favorite.

Now a Cherry question for you. I put in a few Bali Cherry trees last year because my shrub guy said they are good eating right off the tree. Have you tried them before and what other cherry varities are good right off the tree.



    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 1:43AM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Hi, Tim!
I visited a peony farm recently and got their brochure. They say that, in general, peonies don't do well in zones warmer than 8, or south of Birmingham, Alabama, or San Francisco, California. You're WAY south of S.F.!! I don't know if you can grow them successfully. They need a good long winter chill. I tried three peonies when I lived a couple of hours south of S.F. Two of them just died away in a few years. Festiva Maxima survived but never, ever bloomed. And I don't think they're very drought tolerant. They like to be pretty consistently watered and do best in places that get at least some summer water.

You might want to try a few first, before investing much money or time in them.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 11:49PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Hi - here's a picture of my 4 beds of peonies. I have a few more in another bed, but thought I'd share! I'm picking about 20 or so a day...and keeping the foliage to use for arrangements as the summer goes on. Please excuse the weeds! The newspaper, cardboard/chips as weed suppression needs to be redone! But, it's great mulch and has lasted 2+ years!

Good Luck Tim!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 1:23AM
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Yo Steve,

I wrote you a big long reply and guess what? It was never posted!!! Here I though I answered you. Anyways here it goes.

On the peony front, Lynn told me when I first started to plant I should try peonies, guess I should of listened. I guess I'll though some into the ground and see what happens. I have about 15 this year and 5 are blooming or should I say bud stage but nothing is happening.

As for the Lilac I don't sell a ton to florsit or wholesalers. Oh now don't think for a minute they don't want my stuff. They fight over it. But they all want to pay nothing for it. I have about 3 or more florists I deal with and thats it. I mainly sell straight to the public and they fight over the fragrant lilac. Stuff that is half dead they kill for. So yes I like sensation it just doesn't do well for me.

Yep I have about 60 beauty of moscow with about another 25 ordered. I love it BUT it hasn't lasted a long time in the vase for me.

Ok now on to the cherry question. I have never seen or heared of that cherry. I mostly like Utah Giants ( not good for a commerical orchard) Bings and Royal rainers. I also grow skeena, early burlat, black tartarians, lapins, rainers, brooks and some others. I would tell you to make sure you have pollinators even if it is a self pollinator.

Boy my lavender is really looking good right now. What in the world am I going to do with it all?????


Thanks a ton for the info.

Wendy awesome picture. I've been thinking of useing the newspaper mulch trick myself. I have just used mulch and it just worked ok. Also are peonies drought tolerate? from the folage they look like they would be.

Well take care all nad of course God bless,

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 3:54PM
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