Growing from seed

dclee123(Z5 Kansas)May 23, 2005

Are herbaceous peonies hard to grow from seed? How long does it take them to flower? I would like to try it, but if it takes them more than 5 years I will have to wait until I buy my next house to try. Thanks for any info.

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Expect it to take five years or more to flower. It can take a year just to germinate!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 11:43AM
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I started some seeds last year.....lets see if I can remember what I was told to do......soak them for a couple of days....then plant them in soilless mix......wait a month or so and then put them in the fridge for a few months. I followed the instructions and when I remembered them a few months later most of them had sprouted.....I took the lids off and acclimatized them to air temp.....then gradually outside and then planted them in a holding bed. I think there were about 50 of them......This spring it looks like only 5 or 6 have popped up with leaves.....

The lady that gave me the seed said it would take at least 3 to 5 years to bloom......she had some bloom after 3 years. So now I will just have to wait and see.....and hopefully these few will make it through the winters here to bloom evenually.

I have several peonies that I bought as roots....and they all come through the winters maybe the seedlings that didn't show leaves this spring were just weak or something.

Hope this answers your questions.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 5:55PM
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ChiGardener(z5 Chicago)

I say go for it but put them in pots and just topdress the green each year in spring and fall. That way when you move you can easily just lift the pots rather than dig the roots.
I'm going to collect my bro's sees from the peonies he has that were there when he bought his home 3 years or so ago. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be in this home, even though I was born and raised here so rather than having to dig and wonder, I'll just start them in 4-inch pots and gradually move up. Plus I'll have a better since of what's actually growing. . if it's weeds or peony.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 4:34PM
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Here is a translation from China on how they grow peonies from seeds.
In mid-August, collect the mature seed pods (brown-yellowish color) and put them at a cool location, until the seed pod splits, take the seeds out. Do not dry and avoid sunlight. Seeds too dry will lower the germination rates.
Prepare the planting location, cultivate deeply with compost, manure and water deeply. Use wet soil to make a "cake" about 2-3 inches high, 1 squre foot. Place the seeds with 1 1/2 inches spacing on top of the cake, then add another inch wet soil over them. Use floating row cover to protect the seeds and keep the soil moist. In about 20 days the seeds will start rooting underground, but you won't see anything above ground until spring.
If planting too late or the soil too dry, then you might never see any seeds germinating next year. In dry winter climates, water deeply right before the ground become frozen. In spring, around the time when the peach flowers (usually mid to late Feb in China), remove the floating row cover, lightly rake the ground surface so the seedlings will break out easier. In a couple of weeks, you should be able to see the seedlings.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 2:40AM
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peonyman(Zone 5, Lawrence, Ks)

It is surprising how difficult it is to get peony seed to sprout if you try to do it. I have held them at warm temps then refrigerate at various lengths of time. It is really hard and results are poor.

Instead, as soon as the seed pods begin to split open, manually open the pods take the seed and plant them in the ground. It seems that the natural warm fall and winter cold is perfect for the seed. A high percentage will sprout and many seedlings will appear the next spring.

I would guess that I have at least 500 seedlings that have volunteered in my peony garden. I generally grub out the herbaceous seedlings (unless they are from a couple of different pod parents) but I try to leave the tree peony seedlings.

If you have held the seed since last fall then they have dried out. Plant them now. They can still germinate but they will emerge spring 2007.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 1:30AM
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lpalta(z5 NY)

My daughter-in-law gave me a Chinese Peony (Paeonia lactiflora 'Little Medicine Man')bush from Walmart's in 2005. I have two more bushes my neighbor gave me, name unknown. My favorite bush though, I bought from a stand (name also unknown). It grows very tall and does not need staking. It has a root more like that of a rose bush. The Chinese Peony bush has beautiful dark pink pedals with a bright yellow center and is every bit as delicate as a poppy. I broke open a couple of pods. They both had tiny black specks inside. A few weeks back I opened one on the plant I purchased from the stand. The pod had a wet ivory colored pea shaped seed. I read they are supposed to be black so I probably opened it too early. This week I tried again as the pods on this bush are just starting to split open. The seeds are still very wet dark brown, not yet black, in color. I am not sure what you mean when you generally grub out the herbaceous seedlings? I am also in Zone 5, Ogden, NY--just outside Rochester. I have little luck starting seeds directly in our soil, but am pretty good at winter sowing. I will try both methods. Would love any advice you could give me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Webshots Album

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:30PM
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I have a few bright pink single petaled flwered peonies. these peonies have been in the same place for 7 years. then last year they trew out the black seeds. they planted themselves into the dirt and in the spring started to grow. Now this year more have come up ,soem have a very long tap root. so I figure they are from last year. I have dug deep and gotten some of the big rooted ones up and potted them. How long before they will flower? and will they get big leaves and multiple ones this year,looking more like a really healthy peony? I want to sell these as I have hundreds of them in this flower bed.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:39PM
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loretta5_gw(Z6 PA)

You are lucky to have gotten seedlings from your Peonies. I'm still waiting for that to happen to me.

It will take them 5-7 years from germination to bloom. They will not get big leaves this year, or even next year but they will have more and larger leaves each year.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:17PM
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