Maximizing the growth rate of tree peony seedlings

stevelau1911March 8, 2012

As most of us peony growers already know, tree peonies grow extremely slow especially on their first year and take at least 4-5 years to produce a bloom so I've thought about ways I might be able to speed up the growth rate.

I can give them ideal conditions, full sun, adequate water, good soil, etc, but in order to gain an edge I think they need something more. I've heard of azomite being a product that can help peonies grow stronger, but haven't seen results yet. I also have a small bottle of voodoo juice which I don't plan on trying out until it gets a bit warmer.

The ones in pots from last year with very good soil opposed to in garden beds don't have any noticeable differences yet, but I think the biggest determining factor is the amount of energy produced by the seedling which can be used towards the following year since their size for the first year is pretty much set in stone. They very rarely do any growth after their initial leaf on the 1st year.

I plan on sprinkling a little bit of azomite and giving some voodoo juice as well to hopefully improve the root growth.

Anyways here is a sample of what I have coming up. It's so exciting to see them sprout.

Here is a link that might be useful: My tree peonies sprouting

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Maturity is difficult to speed up. When I was 12 I was desperate to be 16. Yes tree peonies are maddeningly slow, especially when the gardener is 84 and not sure he will be around for the first bloom. Al

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:27AM
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stevelau1911

One thing I found out the hard way about is that moving them causes many of them to die off, and even the ones that survive are droopy for a while, obviously being stressed so the lesson I learned was that even if the seedlings come up very close together, they should never be transplanted until they are dormant in the fall, perhaps by November.

I have also learned from another forum member that azomite is supposed to be good for them. Other than that, it seems like the best I can do is keep the weeds out, and water them if it gets too dry as it seems like they will only produce 1 or 2 leaves on their first year.

It kind of sucks that the ones in this picture will be fully done growing for the year by the middle of April.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:16AM
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overdrive

I am thinking of growing my seedlings in pots indoors so they have no dormant season - just keep growing them continuously and see if that helps (maybe I can get 2-3 years of growth in one calendar year by that method). This method has been used by researchers to speed up the time needed to evaluate new hybrids of black currants, for instance.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:55PM
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stevelau1911

I have tried growing some seedlings indoors and it seems to either set them back as they don't grow vigorously in the spring time, or they end up dying altogether.

You could try them in pots as an experiment, but based on my experience, the peony seedlings that grow outside grow far superior to the ones growing indoors. If you do grow them inside, then I would suggest sticking them in your refrigerator for 2-3 months at a time in order to recharge their growth hormones as they really can't survive in the long run without dormancy.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:32PM
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