Question about really old peonies

markparsons435(6b)May 28, 2013

We have a family cemetery that has peonies planted all over. The peonies are either white or pink. The white is fragrant. The pink is not. My mother told me that on "Decoration Day" (Memorial Day) the family carried mason jars of peony to the plots and planted them. Some of the headstones are from the early 1800's. I'm guessing some of the peonies are off-springs, but is it possible the peonies up there have been around that long? Did they name peonies back then?

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BlueBirdPeony(5b NE Ohio)

I have no idea, but this is a fascinating post. I have read before that peonies will outlive a human, but I'm not sure about 100 years+ ??? Hope someone knows because I'm interested!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Pretty cool. I assume since it's a family plot you were familiar with it as a child, do you have old photos that you can match with plants there today? If so, that seems pretty incredibly great to me. I've never seen a herbaceous peony that didn't die out from the middle after 10 years or so. I don't know if that growth form is something that has been bred in to new varieties as a side effect or if I'm just planting the wrong kind! And there are plenty of documented variety names of roses that go back that far and further, I'm sure it's the same for peonies. You'll have to post back what you discover on them, very interesting.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:08AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The middle of an old peony does die out as the new growth is at the edges. It is quite possible for peonies to be as old as you experienced. Al

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:14AM
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pembroke(6--Louisville KY)

My grandmother had peonies in front of her house I know for over 60+ years and never died out. When she passed away I move the same peonies to my house and have had the here for 15 years. They last a long time. Pembroke

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:44PM
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pembroke(6--Louisville KY)

I think the white is called Festva Maxima and the pink (I think) is Sarah Bernhardt. My wife loves the smell of the white one. Hope this helps. These are old peonies.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:50PM
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My father planted 35 peonies here 60 years ago, and none of them have died out in the middle to any significant degree. (This is one of the best years for bloom in quite a while.) I'm pretty sure they can live to 100.

Named varieties go back a long ways in Europe and the US, never mind Japan and China. Some cultivars came from Japan in the 1890s (e.g., Mikado), many were hybridized in France and England in the early 1900s.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:52PM
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