Ordering tree peonies

beccabeeApril 10, 2006

Who should I order tree peonies from? I was about to order from Van Bourgondien, but then I went onto the dave's garden website, and saw many negative reviews about them. The complaints were just general complaints, not specifically regarding their tree peonies, but I thought I would ask around first.

Also, does anyone own a "Kamatanishiki"? Is it really purple?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)


I have never ordered from Van Bourgondien so I have no first hand knowledge there.

I have ordered from Klehm's Songsparrow nursery and I would recommend them. You will receive your peonies in pots already growing. You can plant them anytime of the year. During the growing season you should plant the tree peony by just removing the pot and leaving the soil in tact so you don't disturb the root structure of the plant. I like to receive my plants at the end of the growing season and totally replant the Tree Peony in my own soil. I seem to have a problem with roots not wanting to leave the medium that came in the pot and move into the coarser soil in my flower beds.

I grow Kamata Nishiki. I certainly don't consider this a true purple. More of a pinkish purple with dark flares. It is nice but not really purple. I consider the most purple to be Shima Daijin. It is one of the cheapest peonies that you will find and the plant blooms heavily. I have two of these plants. Another Tree Peony that is close in color to Shima Daijin is Shiunden. As I recall Shiunden will fade a bit after a few days. My Shiunden has only bloomed one time. That was last year with only one bloom. I think within 2 weeks all of Japanese Tree Peonies will be in bloom again.

I have 20 Japanese Tree Peony cultivars that are considered to be purple. The suppliers of tree peonies have a weird concept of what purple is. Some of the varieties are actually lavender, some have more red than purple, some are actually very dark red that tends toward black, and some are nearly white with some purple toward the center.

I do like Hana Daijin (note different name from the one above, Shima Daijin) The color of Hana Daijin is more lavender than purple but the flower form is very refined. And it seems to bloom well and carries the flowers well just above the foliage.

Another fine tree peony is Kokuryu Nishiki. I do notice that Caprice Nursery carries that one. I have never ordered from them but I know them to be nice people. Kokuryu Nishiki is purple tending toward the Red side and it is bordered in white.

Good Luck with your Tree Peonies.


Here is a link that might be useful: Heartland Peony Society Photo Gallery

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 3:06AM
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I've ordered tree peonies from Van Bourgondien, and I have been very happy with them. Their price is way below many other sources. The plants have survived several years, and a transplant. I only wish my dog hadn't chosen my favorite one to chew on last fall; I tried to save it, but it is dead!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 2:33PM
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Mebane(z9 Fl)

Terra Ceia Farms has wonderful peonies. If you are impatient you can get them with 15+ eyes although they cost a more. All in all though their prices are excellent. I won't order bulbs from anyone else.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 10:11PM
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Mebane, If you think Terra Ceia Farms has wonderful peonies try some of the real growers Hollingsworth, Adelman, A & D, and others. Terra Ceia Farms only list 6 types of herbaceous not tree peonies. I am aware that very few peonies will grow in Florida conditions but since I was in Pahokee last fall I feel that tree peonies would do well there. The soil I feel is too acid inland and too sandy toward the coast. This said I thought I saw some peonies in one of the fenced housing developements in Jupiter Beach area.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 10:23PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

I must bump this and ask, is it a good time to buy a tree peony from Van Bourgondien right now? I am very tempted at the price... but am afraid of receiving dead sticks..

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 3:33PM
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You must decide for yourself if you order from any certain company. You often receive what you pay for.

Start looking at your local nurseries for tree peonies. Now that they have become more popular more nurseries are carrying them. Especially watch for end of season sales.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 6:07PM
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I ordered from klehm's and Solaris Farms last year and Solaris tree peonies were so much bigger and also very nice looking plants.I have nothing against Klehm's but they were half the size of the ones from Solaris which were huge!I ordered 9 more tree peonies from Solaris and also some herb. for this fall.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I ordered Tree Peonies from Van Bourgondien in the past. They are bareroot 1 year old sticks they import from China. If you will be lucky, the sticks will be alive...
I would never deal with VB again. Horrible quality and customer service.

If you want a bargain, buy from Garden Crossings. I was amazed by the quality of TP I bought from them. They were potted, with great roots. They bloomed the first year for me. This spring (1.5 years after I got them), they are about 3' tall. Both have 5-7 blooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree Peonies at Gaden Crossings

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:23AM
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dragon_kite(z6 NYC)

I ordered from Van Bourg in the fall for 2 of my tree peonies...they are small (about 6" not counting the roots) but they both had a lot of potential branches. I was so worried that the winter was going to kill those little guys. But they made it through and have all their foliage out already. Really fantastic.

I would wait until fall to get them so they'll have a better chance at growing a strong set of roots.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I ordered Kamata Nishiki from Garden Crossings last fall. The plant was about 12" tall, healthy, very well packaged. I mulched it pretty well to make sure it survived the winter. This spring it's about 18" tall, with one flower about to fully open any day. The flower is more of a pinkish-lavender than "blue." It doesn't look anything like the picture on the Von Bourgudien site. Maybe it's affected by soil, air temp., light, etc. This is the first tree peony I've grown.

I would give Von Bourgundien a mixed review. I ordered from them once 10 years ago, I got tulip bulbs and daylilies. The bulbs were Ok for the price (you get what you pay for.) The daylilies were tiny bare roots, I nursed them along and they bloomed 3 years later. At that point I discovered they were not anything close to the variety I thought I'd purchased. I still have them and have never known what they were.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 6:59PM
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Here is my TP bought from Van Bourgondien 5 or 6 years ago:

Here is the same variety bought from Garden Crossings 1 year after planting:

2 years after planting:

As you can see, the Peony from Garden Crossings about twice as large as TP from VB. I can add that I bought 3 TP from VB, only one survived. Both TP bought from GC are thriving.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:28PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Thanks for the answers and the pics. LOL poor thing. I guess you get what you pay for. Would it be too late to order from Garden Crossings to receive a TP thats gunna bloom this spring? Or should I wait to the fall?

I went ahead and ordered from Van Bourgondien (the price was just irressistible..yeah Im that sucker that was born a little bit ago)...here's what I got. I'm ok with it, just as long as I got something thats gunna grow. I'm hopeful here. :P I also ordered a bareroot rose, both with rotted stems. They use UPS and it took a whole week just to get to California.
The tree peony roots were wrapped with plastic and sphagnum moss. Tips were exposed and could have broken off in the box, thankfully it didn't.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:02AM
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Hello Musaboru,

We seem to think alike. I too couldnt resist the price of the PT at K. van Bourgondien. I just ordered the Dowager's collection which contains 5 Japanese PTs. Since the catalogue states that the plants are only 1 yrs old, I figured they would be rather small and so when they arrive, I was going to plant them in pots until they were big enough to plant in the garden. I see from the picture that you planted them in pots. Your post was in May of last year and I was wondering how your Kamatanishiki is doing. Would you recommend potting in pots? Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 6:28PM
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That sounds like a pretty good idea to first get them in pots and then let them put out some growth, and then by that fall plant them sideways so that the branches make new shoots that generate roots to create a bushier fuller plant with more stems than if it were planted upright.

I have made the mistake of not planting a peony deep enough because I never knew it was relying on a herbeceous root so it ended up growing well for a few years, then it died at the end since it never made it's own root system so with grafted plants I'm finding that it might be necessary to get nearly 100% of the TP part underground when planted.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Thanks for the suggestion Stevelau1911 but it sounds rather drastic. Anyone else have any thoughts on planting the peony tree on its side?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:50PM
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Planting on the side can be a good solution however on new grafts you must watch for nurse root foliage and remove as soon as seen. On tp's with roots planting on side is the best way to form a multiple stem plant. Once the stems form check for roots on the stems. Those with roots can be cut away from the mother plant and planted on their own. This is one of the ways they have been divided for years.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:28PM
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I ended up ordering a lot of tree peonies from Van Bourgondien since they have the best prices.

Based on what I've heard from this forum, they tend to be very weak and underdeveloped plants, but after gardening for so many years, I have many plans on how I can get them established very quickly.

First I plan on planting them in 5 gallon nursery pots, I will coat each of them with rooting gel to help them produce their own roots faster, and no longer depend on the graft root. I also plan on giving them azomite to ensure they get enough minerals, and giving them full sun to prevent any diseases and maximize photosynthesis.

Based on observing my tree peonies, they tend to grow faster with warmer soil so I'm keeping them all in black nursery pots on top of pavement so soil temperatures stay warmer, but I also make my own potting mixes to ensure it can retain water, but also drain well. I will try and make them produce their own root systems within a season.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 2:47AM
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I have recieved my tree peonies from Van Bourgendien, and 13/42 of them ended up being dead sticks, but they did end up replacing those with viable ones. Overall, I would consider their average size to be that of 3 year old tree peonies from seed, but they do have the best prices.

I would recommend them if you don't mind growing them out in pots for a couple years to help them establish their own roots. I have more details with plenty of pictures on my newest blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: All of the new 1 year old tree peony grafts

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I have visited her farm & bought herbaceous peonies from her (her name is Kathy also) Her plants are always PRIME.
I know this is an older post, but I am new to this forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peony's envy

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:09AM
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If you are serious and want the best tree peony for the lowest price, check out Tree Peony Garden (www.treepeonygarden.com). Great variety at reasonable prices and the product I receive far exceeds what I am reading here.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 5:43PM
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