Tree peony - now what?

robiniaquest(z6 MO)March 31, 2007

I've wanted tree peonies since I was a little kid, but never could justify that kind of expense on something I might end up killing.

But...I was at Wickman's the other day, and they had these great-looking Japanese tree peonies for 19.99, and I just went ahead and got one. It's called 'Hatsugarasu,' one of the so-called 'black' peonies, and it's only about 6-8 inches tall, but VERY healthy-looking with a lot of nice purply top growth on about a 4 inch or so wooden stem.

Now I'm not sure how to deal with it. You read these things need morning sun and afternoon shade, and that they should ideally be planted out in the fall. But, in my experience, a lot of supposedly full sun plants (like some roses and tomatoes, etc.) do a little better if they're not in all day direct sun here. Some 'shade tolerant' roses do better for me in pretty much all day dappled or bright shade. So, I'm wondering if this advice (mostly from Pacific NW sources, it seems like) needs to be adjusted a bit for our area.

Can any of you who have grown these tell me anything that might be helpful? I feel I am out of my league on this. Thanks!

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I have visited a local nursery that has hundreds of them planted in full sun and they were huge shrubs, covered in flowers, Mine receive afternoon shade and are shy blooming.
Seems like everytime the large, delicate flowers open, we have a thunderstorm, with gusty winds and the petals wind up in the neighbors yard!
Plant them in well drained, fertile, loamy soil, deep enough that the graft is 4-5" below soil level and keep them watered well the first year. They do not generally require fertilization if planted in rich soil, but a 1-2" top dressing of compost or well rotted manure in early spring, could be beneficial. Avoid any fertilizer with a high Nitrogen content.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 5:18PM
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robiniaquest(z6 MO)

Razorback -

Thanks for your advice. Just a couple more questions - where is that nursery you are talking about? I need to be in NW AR later this week, and would love to go see that. Also - are your tree peonies Japanese or Chinese, and are they fragrant?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 2:14PM
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Sorry to relate that the nursery closed about the middle of last year. It was adjacent to an Industrial complex that wanted to expand and I guess they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. He is a software developer and that was a part time operation for him.
Mine are Chinese Tree Paeonia's, names were in some records destroyed in a fire several years ago, so I don't have a clue! As far as I know, if they are fragrant, I have never noticed, as I have some Confederate Jasmine on an Arbor nearby and it blooms about the same time, overpowering everything else around.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:10AM
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