Wow Itoh Peonies so expensive!

No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)March 19, 2014

So after waiting for weeks, my local nurseries finally got some Itoh peonies in. All from Monrovia in 5 Gal pots. I was so excited until I saw the price. $79.99 are you kidding me?! I was hoping to grab a few to experiment and see if they will survive our warm weather here but not at that high price!

It will be interesting to see if they can sell them at this price. What a bummer!

Edited to say price was actually $79.99 not $89.99 like I originally wrote. I was so flustered at that point I couldn't remember and had to call to verify.

This post was edited by No-Clue on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 16:37

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Retailers typically mark up the prices by double so I think you may be able to talk them down a little bit. I got them down to $60 a piece so I guess you just need to negotiate with the store owner.

Here's what I got. Of course I divided it up into a lot of pieces hoping they will sprout this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2 itoh peonies

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:03PM
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I got mine two or three years ago at 50% off by waiting until after the bloom--they then went half off because they were unlikely to sell without buds or blooms. I went back to that garden center every few days until they put on those 50% off stickers!
They are slow growing and slow always = more expensive.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:07PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Thank you Steve. I don't know if I can negotiate at Armstrong Garden Center though. But maybe I can wait until the end of the season and see if they will mark them down. So if I can find them for $60 for 5 gal size then that's a good deal right?

I also followed that link you posted. Wow I am so impressed! You must have quite an amazing collection!


Is that your flower? It's stunning! What's the name of that yellow flower? Where did you get it? I noticed that you're also in S CA, so can you tell me if you grow other peonies besides the Itohs?

Thank you,

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:48PM
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I like propagating plants to see if I'm able to multiply them as much as possible, especially when they often come with a high price.

I don't know if itoh peony grafting is successful yet, but I should see in about 2 weeks when we can finally get a bit above freezing. I do have a few thousand peonies in my collection, mostly tree peonies.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Costco had potted Bartzella and Cora Louise for sale last year for $29.95. They may have them again this year. Lowes also have itohs for sale for $29.98 but these are bareroot plants. Last year Lowe's selection last year included Julia Rose, Bartzella, Cora Louise, and Canary Brilliants. You should check your local Lowes to see if they have any.

But Monrovia sells some of the nicest itoh cultivars such as Yumi and Mikasa.

This post was edited by kousa on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 20:49

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Yes that is from my garden. It is the 'Misaka' sold by Monrovia. It is the only one I have.

Believe it or not, did you know there is a peony native to Southern California!

Here is a link that might be useful: california native peony

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:52PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Steve - wow! A few thousands? That sounds like heaven! I will have to go back and spend more time on your blog!

Kousa - I have been stalking Costco, HD and Lowe's but besides that one bag I saw at Costco last week (which only said something like pink double flower so I didn't buy it) no one seems to have any. They told me they have never carried them? I will keep checking though.

Hoovb - your Mikasa is to die for! That's going on my list! Which nursery did you get yours at?

Wow, I did not know we have CA Native Peony! How cool is that!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:08PM
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I buy mine at Osiris in Quebec. Don't know if they ship to USA but their prices are good, $25 for a 2 year potted 2 gal.plant and $65 for the larger ones.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:43PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)


Just on pure looks alone I HAVE to have Cora Louise! Man that's the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen! Sigh...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:11PM
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No Clue, if I see any itohs at Costco, I will be sure to let you know. Because they are potted, the plants will be sold later than the bareroots. about May 20-30. Check Costco then. Last year they had Cora Louise and Bartzella. If you can't get them, I am happy to give you a starter root to start in the fall. The starter root will be small with 1 or 2 eyes at most. It may take up to two years or more for the plant to get big and bloom. This may be too long for you to wait. But if you want to save money and splurge on the expensive ones, this is the way to go. I may also have a Bartzella starter root that I can give you too. I have to wait until fall to know.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Wait until blooming season is over. Late or July, the itohs that are left will be half price at least and the later the season goes, the bigger the discount will be.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:50PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Thank you so much for your generous offer Kousa!! I will keep checking Costco and hope they will have the Cora Louise and Bartzella since both are on my list!

I've already splurged on 3 expensive ones! LOL. I will reveal them tomorrow... it's dinner time so I have to go feed the kids.

Gray, patience is not my greatest virtue so I'm not sure I can wait a whole entire year just to see them bloom! It's such a terrible affliction I have. I better stay firm with my 6 Peonies ONLY. Or was my limite 5?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:53PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Good morning!

So I bought my 2nd and 3rd plant. Here they are!

To the left is Keiko

To the right is Misaka

To be honest I couldn't decide because they are all so beautiful so I just picked two that have the most buds! LOL. Keiko has about 14 and Misaka has about 7. Hopefully between the two I will be able to experience some flowers soon.

Now the question I have is do I leave them in the pots until the fall before I put them in the ground or can I go ahead and plant them in the ground NOW?

Please advise. Thank you!!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:25PM
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I planted mine as late as June and had no problems. Go ahead and put them in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:01PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Ok I will plant them this weekend! Do you know if I can fertilize them after I planted them both in the ground? I only do organic fertilizer so right now I'm feeding all my plants Neptune's Harvest Organic Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer.

Thank you so much for your advice!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:18PM
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How much of the two itoh?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:47PM
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Neptune's Harvest is great. Once when they start to grow, once after the bloom, and once after you cut them back in the fall.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:08PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)


They are $79.99 each.

Gray - thank you for your feedback. I'm glad you think Neptune's Harvest is good because I really don't want to use chemicals in my yard. Plus I just want one that that will generally work for everything. But I'm hoping after a few years my soil will be more fertile and easier to work with.

Thanks again for all your help!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:17PM
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I would suggest moving each of those up to 10-15 gallon pots so there's enough room for tuber growth.

In the fall, you could then separate them out ensuring that each piece has viable buds if you want to have multiple plants to go into the ground.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:25PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)


Do I have to separate them in the fall if I don't want to split into multiple plants? I don't have room so I would prefer not to have to divide them at all if possible.

Also what soil do you recommend? I typically just mix compost into the native soil. I'm not sure if they prefer something else. Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Anything except for peat moss would be good since peonies prefer slightly alkaline soil. It is usually best to separate them in the fall.

The one issue with itoh peonies is that unlike herbaceous or tree peonies, the roots tend to grow very compact which means that they will only have a limited number of years in one spot before they expend all the nutrients in the immediate area and stop flowering, or get root bound. I think this characteristic makes them well suited as potted plants.

The good part is that they are pretty easy to divide, and if you cut it straight through the middle, not sacrificing too much tuber mass, you can continue to get flowering through the following year right away.

I've managed to get viable plants from some pretty small pieces, but the one requirement is that they definitely need a red bud in order to generate a new plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: dividing itoh peonies

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:07PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)


Are you serious about Peonies liking slightly Alkaline soil? Well my clay soil mixed w/ compost should be perfect then! Shoot I wish I had read your reply before I fixed the baby Peony situation. I just opted for the least disturbant method and ran to Green Thumb to get some top soil. After talking to the "Expert" he recommend the soil for Camellia and Gardenia which is acidic! That was what I used to cover the roots of the baby peony.

I knew I should have asked you guys and not some dude at a gardening center! Well... it rained last night and soil is nice and mixed in now. I guess time will tell how sturdy this baby girl is.

Good thing I have not had the time to plant the two bigger plants. I think I will just stick with compost mixed in with the native soil. Can I add some pumice to help drainage or no?

Last question Steve, if the Itoh's roots grow so compactly and I planted them in the ground then I don't have to pull them up and divide for a few years right? I CANNOT keep plants alive in pots to save my life! Everything I planted in the ground thrive everything in pots died. So I am very hesitant to keep anything potted. Plus that's a lot more work to me. And I need things easier. Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:59AM
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The only reason I recommended to keep it potted just for the season is to make it easier to divide up when you put them into the ground. Preparing the holes will will go a long ways in allowing them to grow a bit less compact and get bigger overall with more years of blooming. I really doubt that garden center workers really grow these kinds of plants themselves so they will likely recommend what they have. Usually compost, or manure mixed with native soil will be enough to get them to thrive, but make sure they aren't planted too deeply either because that may hinder flowering. I haven't found a difference in the use of aerating materials yet. If you mix in a good amount of organic materials in a 2ft wide X 2ft deep hole or more, that should provide a good number of years for blooming, perhaps well over a decade and better if you keep fertilizing.

Usually you can tell when they go dormant because the leaves will turn reddish, and start drying up such as the ones in the link that I had in the earlier post. Those pieces are just waking up in the last few days, and I grafted a lot of them too.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:41PM
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