germination

daveinohio_2007(5)February 6, 2008

The first 2008 tree peony seed germination has occurred.

26 seeds (all open or self pollinated) were collected last September, kept warm (65 deg F) and moist through Dec 1, then put in frig.

It will be interesting to see how many seeds ultimately germinate; 25% germination is common for roses.

Anyone else getting germination?

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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

Dave,

It is really exciting to get tree peony seeds to germinate. The small seedling look like they stand so proudly.

You should already know how many of your seeds will germinate. Did the seeds have exposed roots when you put them into the refrigerator?

The fresh seeds should be picked as soon as the pods begin to split open and put into soil or other rooting medium. They are held at warm temp for a few months in which time the seeds will sprout a root. Once the root is about 1/2 inch long the seeds are then refrigerated which will cause the root to develop a bud. The bud will develop on the root just outside of the seed. Then the seed need to be back into warm temperature for the bud to sprout and send up a stem.

Different peony seeds have different germination rates. I have had very good luck with P. Osti seeds which are the result of crossing with lutea hybrid pollen. It seems that the germination rate is much higher than 25%. On this cross I just throw the seeds into the ground near the parent plant and I get a large crop of seedlings each spring.

Most of the species peonies will sprout easier than the hybrids.

Do you know the parentage of your seeds?

Leon

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 6:10PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

My procedure this year was to immediately after collecting seeds to put them in pots where they stay through warm and cold stratification; this avoids root damage during transplanting which occurred last year. So the number which rooted is unknown.

One parent is unknown; the other has a Chinese name which I can never remember.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 9:40PM
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rian(7va)

Hi Dave, 4 of my little rockiis have put out tiny red and green leaves and several have pushed their seed cases up to the surface (which was what the others did before they sent out leaves) Don't know if they are self pollinated--the rockii seed parent is fairly close to a neighbor's beautiful but unknown pink and red suffruticosa hybrids.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 12:16PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Rian,
that's cool. do you grow your seedlings under lights?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 9:32PM
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rian(7va)

Right now they are in the large east facing window of a cool room. My husband ordered grow lights on line but they were defective so we are waiting for replacements.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 8:04AM
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kvalentz(5- NE Ohio)

Dave,
I got your email asking me if I wanted a rose cutting but I cannot email you. There is no email info on your member page and I can't respond to the email that you sent to me. Yes, I would love a cutting. Send me your email addy please.
Kathy

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:07PM
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guff

My Tree Peony growing from seed thread at Gardenbuddies.

http://www.gardenbuddies.com/forum/messages/1106345/1274932.html

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 1:26PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Guff,
thanks for link to gardenbuddies-it's new to me.
your % germination is much higher than mine, so i need to study your procedures. this year, only 4 out of 26 seeds germinated. last year the % was much higher.
my 4 seedlings are currently several inches tall, growing under fluorescent lights along with rose seedlings.
dave

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 9:31PM
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guff

Your welcome dave.

I have a bunch of threads at Gardenbuddies. When I start new seed projects, I usually make a thread. Anyone that reads them can follow along and learn as I learn myself.

I'm about to pot some seedlings up, I have a question for you or anyone else. Looking at my last picture(the one with yellow arrows) How much of the root do you keep above the soil when potting them up? Do you cover the root up to where the leaf shoot is growing? Or do you cover the whole seedling with soil, and let the grow tip find its way to the surface?

Thanks for info.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 1:51PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Seed lays on top of soil.
Root comes out horizontally from seed, then goes down.
Then the leaf stem comes out horizontally from seed, then turns and goes upward.
Pretty weird - completely different from rose seed germination.
Hopefully someone more knowledgable will comment.
dave

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 5:39PM
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guff

I potted up the three with leaf shoots growing. I left the seed on the surface. I assume the seed will drop off at some point? Then I can cover up the rest of the root?

I plant my daylily's seeds this way, and after a couple weeks the seed drops off.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 8:58PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Seed remains part of plant for long while, if my memory is correct.
Last year's seedlings are dormant outside; maybe i can check tomorrow to see if seeds are still visible; probably buried by this time. Rabbits and mice have probably eaten the plants.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 9:20PM
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stevelau1911

I've tried many attempts at germinating tree peony seeds indoors, but I'm getting mold problems every single time now matter how well I dis infect the seeds, or the medium I use. I've tried perlite, vermiculate, paper towels, just water, peat moss, and have even tried adding in a bit of hydrogen peroxide which seems to be completely useless.

Whenever I put these moldy seeds outside, the mold vanishes in a few days so I'm completely lost on what I'm doing wrong. It seems like I can germinate them outdoors easily, but have trouble growing them indoors.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 4:18PM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Steve,
What temperature are your seeds held at?
Our seeds are collected in late august into damp peat in sandwich boxes and held at about 60 deg F. Mold rarely occurs.
My theory: seeds mold because they are dead; these should be discarded. But this theory doesnt square with some of your observations.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:43PM
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stevelau1911

I have them usually at 72F, and they are definitely not dead because they lose their mold if planted outside and will most likely sprout roots after a season of growth. Maybe the temperature is held too high, and the drop in temperature outdoors helps them lose their mold.

Anyways I think even if I do succeed in trying another batch in 3 months, it will already be April which is when they usually germinate outside, and 2 months of being in the fridge would already be too late at this point. I guess I'll just hope for as many to sprout as possible next spring.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:03AM
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stevelau1911

I think I have a solution to my problem and still have plenty of TP seeds to play with because I'm quite jealous that you are able to germinate them indoors so easily when I can't.

I found something called scarification which is supposed to break the first dormancy which means putting the seeds in hot tap water, then letting it cool down on it's own. This should kill bacteria on the seed as well as prime them for germination

I also believe that when I had them in zip lock bags at room temperature, that was likely too warm and moist which caused the development of mold so if I put in a tupperware container uncovered with vermiculate, that should get rid of the mold problem if my predictions are correct. I know I might have hundreds of TPs coming up in 2-3 months, and more the following year in the garden beds, but I still want to figure out how to germinate them under artificial conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed scarification

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 2:44AM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Redbud seeds require heat for germination.
So heat may increase yield for tp seeds.
Let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 5:17PM
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stevelau1911

Here's a picture of the set up I have now in an attempt to germinate tree peony seeds indoors. I did give them a little bit of GA-3 to hopefully speed up the rooting and this is by a windowsill with good wind flow.

They shouldn't become too damp like they may have been in zip lock bags and I'm hoping this method shown in the picture will keep the seeds free of mold. I've had them there for about 2 weeks and it seems like as long as I keep the vermiculate wet, the seeds will remain plump.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree peony seeds in vermiculate filled cup

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 8:58PM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

Wow, this has been a very persistent topic on the forum. It has been active for almost 4 years now.

I do germinate tree peony seeds inside of zip lock plastic bags. Mold can be a problem but I use peat moss which has some resistance to molding and I add CaptanTM, a fungicide. I presoak the seed, dry them off well and then put them into the barely moist peat. If the peat is beyond barely moist the whole mess will mold. My method seems to handle warmer temps without a mold problem. I have not really tried to scarify the seed by nicking with a knife blade. My indoor germination rate never seems to be as good as if I just plant them outdoors and let Mother Nature do her thing. I do stratify the seed in a pot after I see some root development. I have an extra refrigerator in my basement where I can store the pots during this phase.

Steve, your heat treatment may be just the thing to get the seeds into the right mode for germinating. I know that if there is a fire that run through many different species the seeds that got the short quick burst of heat seems to germinate well. I have been very reluctant to try to burn my seeds before germinating them.

Some peony seed seem to germinate much easier than others. I know that seeds from those Chinese herbaceous peonies coming out of China now and seeds of some tree peony species such as P. osti seem to get every seed to germinate, sometimes twice or so it would seem.

Leon

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 12:39AM
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stevelau1911

It has been a couple weeks since setting up my latest germination attempt and so far so good since the windowsill seems to stay cool enough to prevent mold and the seeds don't get damp. I know they still take 3-4 months to germinate unless my GA3 accelerates the process.

I still find that planting them straight out in the ground around 2 inches deep is the most dependable way, but I still like to see the entire rooting/ budding process first hand.

Leon, do you have any pictures of you TP germination?

I find that seedlings can look much different from each other depending on the species of TP. I have never germinated herbeceous kinds, but those are available everywhere so I don't bother with them. I decided to go all out with TPs last year because I found that I could successfully germinate them and keep them alive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree peony seed germination

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 3:29AM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

Steve,
I don't think that I have any photos of my sprouting tree seedlings. I have pretty much given up on sprouting any of these indoors. I have much better luck planting them outside.
Leon

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 8:29PM
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stevelau1911

I'm still interested in what TPs look like after however many years of growth they have.

I refuse to believe that they are so limited to a set amount of growth each year to the point where they take at least their 4th year to produce flowers since most plants I have worked with can have their growth rate accelerated through the use of myccorhizal fungi or other plant growth enhancers. I think the most important part of growing them the first year is to establish an impressive root system so they are supercharged for an explosion of growth the following year.

I hope I get at least a few hundred to sprout next spring so I have enough to work with.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:25AM
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maifleur01

Steve go visit gardens where there are TP's. But you need to take amount of growth in relationship to ancestory. There are some that are natural dwarf's and some that grow very tall. I have a book some where that talks about the size of really old tree peonies that were destroyed in England during WWII so food could be grown. I don't remember and trunk size but the spread was 65 feet.

A look at some of the Peony festivals in China and Japan show tp's which have been grown in pots to a nice tree size.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:47PM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

I feel that I have done good if I can get a tree peony seedling to bloom in 5 years. P. osti seems to go faster than others and it still takes me 5 years with it. Our conditions here are not ideal for growing tree peony seedlings fast. Our prolonged dry summers really retard the growth.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:51AM
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stevelau1911

I thought they were supposed to be adapted to dry arid climates. Anyways I don't think that should be a problem as long as they are well mulched, watered weekly or so, and some kind of myccorhizal fungi such as voodoo juice is inoculated in the soil to boost root growth as well as prevent diseases.

I feel like they are more rewarding to grow from seed since they never need to rely on a tap root, and when it ends up flowering, it can be a surprise after a few years of nurturing.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 1:50AM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

One downside of sowing directly into ground:
First yr peonies are so tiny and slow-growing

that they tend to get overwhelmed by weeds. The plants simply disappear toward end of their first summer. Our entire 2008 crop was lost in this manner.
According to his websites, Don Smith, the prominent intersectional hybridizer, grows all his seedlings indoors in pots until they reach 4 years old. So, growing indoors is not completely irrational.
Google Don Smith peonies to see good side-by-side photos of 1, 2, 3 & 4 yr old plants.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 2:42PM
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stevelau1911

I couldn't find the link to the side by side photos.

The thousands of seeds I have sown in flower beds typically never have weed problems because I don't use garden soils which typically contain tons of weed seeds, and the ones that appear are usually not that much of a problem because the flower beds are surrounded by lawn which gets cut regularly. I use milorganite which doesn't contain weed seeds and gives a good burst of fertilizer.

I find that after their first year, these tiny seedlings do turn kind of woody, and much thicker getting armed with multiple buds ready to put on much more size the next year.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 6:29PM
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maifleur01

One of the problems with over feeding plants of all kinds during their first year's is that once they are planted in different medium they can kill as much of their previous growth as needed to stablize to the new medium.

In areas of really heavy soil the roots may never enter the soil below the growing medium.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:12PM
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stevelau1911

They apparently mass produce these in china from seed and it looks like they really don't need very good soil so I guess it would be fine to get these seedlings used to clay soil with some sort of pelleted fertilizer. I'm surprised they only sell grafts in the U.S. and not the seedlings which seems much more efficient and cheaper.

It looks like based on these pictures that the most important things in growing TPs is lack of competition from weeds, space, full sun, aeration, and soil heat, but I'm still a newbie figuring out how these guys grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: TP seedlings mass production

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 5:56AM
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daveinohio_2007(5)

Don Smiths photo comparing 1,2,3,4yr intersectionals can be found
at intersectionalpeonies.com; go to Breeders Page, then click on
First Year Seedlings.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Smith page

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 12:08PM
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stevelau1911

I saw them, and they look kind of small for the 2nd year seedlings, but if they are grown under artificial lights and in very small pots, their growth rate may be limited.

Anyways I'm very excited to see what I have coming this spring.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 12:52AM
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stevelau1911

Just to update on my latest experiment with indoor germination of TP seeds, it has been 4 weeks already and there is still no signs of mold as these seeds sit on the window sill with in their vermiculate filled cup. Vermiculate is a very good moisture holding medium so it has been keeping the seeds very plump however there is air flow so fungus growth doesn't become inevitable. Roots will probably start forming by around March since this is one of the slowest to germinate seeds that I have ever worked with.

I believe it usually takes 3-4 months for germination since I have succeeded before with a paper towel method which was very troublesome since I had to keep on wetting the towel to keep the seeds plump when I had success last time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree peony seeds in vermiculate filled cup

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:46AM
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stevelau1911

Has anyone ever tried using the polymer water crystals to germinate peony seeds? It seems to make sense since they provide a consistent wet environment, but I don't know if they would provide too much moisture. I might not have a very good sprouting rate for tree peony seedlings next spring since there was a hot and dry summer so I'm still experimenting with ideas on how to effectively germinate seeds.

I'm working with another batch of 50 tree peony seeds. I believe I can never have too many seedlings.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 12:45AM
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overdrive

my seeds were getting moldy, so I soaked them briefly in bleach solution (10%), and then I put the seeds in ground treebark, wetted with water mixed with antifungal agent, wrapped in a paper towel, in a sealed baggie. I keep these at room temperature, about 65F, and so far about 50% of the seeds have germinated, and the rest look like they're about to germinate. This has so far taken 3 months. The seeds were originally from China, I received them at the beginning of January, and now is the beginning of April. When I pot up the seedlings - my secret - I use 40% compost, 40% ground tree bark, and 20% promix (peat based soil-less), damp, and not wet! Last year, everything went belly up due to damping off, but this year, so far so good. The compost will make the seed think they are outdoors, and the bacterial component of the compost will naturally inhibit fungus. Remember - penicillin is grown by fungus to kill bacteria - the bacteria will also fight back and try to kill the fungus, so that is where compost comes in handy, and that is why your seeds do better outside than inside. Sterile indoor medium is no good, because there are no bacteria to inhibit the fungus. This is thanks to research by Allison Jack (phD in soil science,Cornell).

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:40PM
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